Charges Dropped Against France’s Nicolas Sarkozy In Campaign Scandal

Chereau, who was preparing a production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” when he succumbed to lung cancer, was a restless innovator who began directing at high school in Paris and never looked back. His last work, a production of Richard Strauss’s opera “Elektra” in Aix-en-Provence, France in July, won wild plaudits and critical acclaim for the way it brought out new depths in the tragic characters. “One of the greatest French artists has just died,” President Francois Hollande said of Chereau after his death was reported by newspaper Liberation. “France has lost an artist of universal proportions who made it proud around the world.” The Paris daily Le Monde said: “Few men and few artists have lived as intensely and left such a towering legacy. There were all the directors in one category, and then Patrice Chereau.” The son of struggling artists, Chereau began his career in the mid-1960s directing a Paris theatre with a strong left-wing political bent. In 1969, he went to work at Milan’s Piccolo Teatro with the Italian director Giorgio Strehler. By 1971, he was back in France, this time in Lyon, where his “violent, virulent and sumptuous theatre” presentations, as the Paris daily Liberation put it, built his reputation further. Then in 1976, when the French conductor Pierre Boulez asked him to direct Wagner’s “Ring” cycle of operas at the legendary festival in Bayreuth, Chereau made his unforgettable debut on the international opera scene. His adaptation of Wagner’s Nordic myths as a 19th-century drama of capitalist exploitation of workers met with raucous boos at its debut. But at the end of its final presentation in 1980, the audience saluted him with an hour and a half of exuberant applause. “We always worked together with a lot of passion,” Boulez said after learning that Chereau, whom he called “the only director I wanted to work with”, had died. “What made his work stand out was the extreme precision with which he created a character out of the slightest figure,” he told Le Monde.

France’s Soft-Wheat Exports Rose 23% in August on Algeria Demand

We’ll be marching under the flag of Friends of Animals , an international animal protection organization. We will march for peace and an end to the violence inflicted on animals. We plan to be a thousand strong. If they hit us, we are not to hit back. We must be beyond reproach; we will remain non-violent. I’m really scared. I watch videos of Martin Luther King to gain courage. I listen to his words and repeat them under my breath. I will wear my hair in a braid inside a bicycle helmet so thugs can’t pull me by the hair or hurt my head if they punch me. I will wear gloves, heavy protective clothing and strong boots. But I can’t not go. I didn’t come to France to cry over the blood of tortured bulls. I came for other reasons. But I cannot stand by and let this happen. Look what happened to my fellow activists last time in Rodilhan .

Berets, Baguettes and Brutal Blood Sport: Welcome to France!


(Thomas Samson / AFP/Getty Images / October 7, 2013) Also By Kim Willsher October 7, 2013, 11:48 a.m. PARIS — French investigators have dropped criminal charges against former President Nicolas Sarkozy for allegedly soliciting illegal campaign funds from the country’s richest woman. The inquiry found insufficient evidence that Sarkozy had sought and accepted campaign money in 2007 from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt , 90, while she was in a frail mental state. Sarkozy won the 2007 presidential election . The unexpected decision on Monday, just two weeks after a court ruled the investigation could proceed, clears the way for Sarkozy, who had vehemently denied the accusations, to run for reelection in 2017. However, the charges — termed an abuse of weakness –were maintained against Eric Woerth, a former government minister who was Sarkozy’s treasurer in the 2007 campaign; Bettencourt’s former companion, the society photographer Francois-Marie Banier; her lawyer, Pascal Wilhelm; her financial advisor, Patrice de Maistre and six others. Their trial is expected to be held next year. The public prosecutor in Bordeaux, where the investigation is being conducted, had said the case against Sarkozy stood no chance of success, and threatened to appeal any decision to send the former president to trial, delaying the investigation against the other accused. The former president is still dogged by a number of other legal cases, including a scandal over millions of euros in public money paid in compensation to a controversial businessman and friend, Bernard Tapie. Sarkozy is also facing questions about the “Karachi Affair,” a complicated corruption case linked to arms sales and a bombing in Pakistan in 2002 that killed 11 French nationals. Before the May 2012 election campaign, Sarkozy had said that if he lost his bid for reelection, France would never hear of me again. He has maintained a reasonably low profile since his defeat by Socialist Francois Hollande , but he and his entourage have begun hinting of his return to the front line of French politics to save the country. Several members of the right-of-center opposition Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party, are said to be interested in running in 2017, but Sarkozy has emerged as the popular candidate to challenge Hollande. Last month, an opinion poll by the French Institute of Public Opinion found that 62% of UMP voters questioned wanted him to run in 2017, well ahead of any rivals in the party. During a visit to the Haute-Savoie region four weeks ago, Sarkozy dined with local UMP lawmakers.

Exports of soft wheat jumped to 1.78 million metric tons in the month from 1.45 million tons in August 2012, trade data published by the government today showed. Shipments more than doubled from 828,526 tons in July. France exported 17.1 million tons of soft wheat in 2012-13 as well as 1.59 million tons of the harder durum variety used to make pasta and couscous. That made the country the worlds fourth-biggest wheat shipper behind the U.S., Australia and Canada , based on International Grains Council estimates. Algeria was the biggest client for French soft wheat in August, with deliveries rising 39 percent to 728,140 tons. That was the biggest monthly volume shipped to the North African country since at least 1988, Eurostat data show. Algeria is Africas second-largest wheat importer behind Egypt , according to the IGC. Soft-wheat exports to Belgium , Frances second-biggest destination in August, rose 2 percent to 130,419 tons, while shipments to the U.K. surged 79 percent to 83,647 tons. Durum wheat shipments were little changed from a year earlier at 88,835 tons, barley exports dropped 11 percent to 486,718 tons and corn cargoes rose 7.4 percent to 435,429 tons. To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at