Stories about France

With less than 100 days to go, unpredictability surrounds FIFA World Cup 2018

Football enthusiasts have tons of action throughout the year to quench their thirst for quality matches, but the epitome of the game lies in its showpiece event, the FIFA World Cup. Similar to the conching process in chocolate manufacturing, the sport receives its true flavour with the best players in the world donning their national colours. With less than 100 days left before the tournament, it is apt to look at some of the key talking points which might have a significant impact on the way the mega event pans out. Is the time right for Video Assistant Referee (VAR)? During the trial ...

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If you don’t ask why…

I request a reply. Dad, please tell me, Why Is the earth not flat? Oh, I don’t know that! Why do bears hibernate? Well, that’s out-of-date! Why is the sun so hot? I’m sorry, I forgot!   Where do the trade winds blow? Come on, you should know! Do you know how TVs work? Let me call Mr Burke! Or how the seasons change? That’s out of my range!   What is the sense of smell? Quite difficult to tell! The capital of France? No, I don’t stand a chance! The speed of light? Your science teacher might!   Any clue of aerosol? It’s quite hard to recall! Any Indian folklore? I knew one before! The length of lunar years? I’ll break into tears!   Why a panda bear hides? The cause of ...

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Did Iran make a historical mistake by signing a nuclear deal with the US?

It was reported in the Washington Post that the US Secretary of State, Mr Rex Tillerson, said the following words, “I would like to assure the North Koreans that the USA is not their enemy; does not want any harm to come to them; they have nothing to be afraid of; the US does not seek regime change or the forced unification of the Korean peninsula, and the North Koreans need have no fear of any military invasion from the USA.” He then went on to say that the North Korean ballistic missile program is a serious threat to the US. Therefore, it is exerting peaceful pressure ...

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Dictators like Rodrigo Duterte need to be careful when they “joke” about using rape as a weapon

The world works in strange ways and the more things change, the more they stay the same. After decades, nay centuries of conflict, it seems the world had finally turned the corner in the 90s. Yes, there was a lot still to be done, but we seemed to be moving in the right direction. The cold war had ended, the European Union (EU) took concrete shape, and globalisation was taking root all over. Free trade and the communication revolution were turning the world into a global village. Perhaps for the first time in human history, democracy and human rights were regarded as supreme and inviolable in ...

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As a Muslim, I strongly support the right to ban the veil

I was raised as an observant Muslim in a British family. Women, I was taught, determine their own conduct — including their ‘veiling’. We’d cover our hair only if we freely chose to do so. That’s why I’m baffled by the notion that all good Muslim women should cover their hair or face. My entire family is puzzled by it too, as are millions like us. Not until recent years has the idea taken root that Muslim women are obliged by their faith to wear a veil. It’s a sign, I think, not of assertive Islam, but of what happens ...

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Banning Pakistani actors or Indian movies won’t stop me from dancing to Kar Gayi Chul

Art is art. Art does not know a nationality or a region or a religion. Does a German heart move more than a non-German heart while listening to Beethoven’s symphonies? What if nobody outside France ever saw the Mona Lisa, or the Starry night was only seen by Dutch eyes? Art and artists belong to the world. Art is a reflection of the human condition, feelings shared by all of us universally. We all feel love, we all feel sadness, and we all feel loss. The world was moved by the picture of a dead Syrian toddler washed up on a Turkish shore. Statuses mourning the loss ...

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The EU multi-ethnic European military force will only be effective on paper

The European Union (EU) seems set for another cul-de-sac of quarrels over the hastily tossed military salad of EU battle groups with rotating battalions and leadership. Accordingly, Hungary and the Czech Republic have openly called for the creation of an EU army, strongly opposed by the United Kingdom. On this issue, the Council of Europe would be well advised to define policy, delegate the business to France, and sit back. Four issues have made a re-evaluation of the need and role of European direct military intervention an imperative of defence and security which only French expertise can ensure. Firstly, acts of terrorism on European soil have diverted the ...

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How can France assume the basis of our choices?

The dupatta has been around in our part of the world for thousands of years. The word itself is of Sanskrit origin, ‘du’ meaning ‘two’ and ‘patta’ referring to a strip of cloth. In ancient times it was worn as a symbol of modesty as part of an outfit that was comprised of three pieces and, as centuries passed, it became part of the cultural, religious norms in this region – not just for Muslims but also Hindus and Sikhs who cover their heads when walking into a religious building. These days it is worn by many young girls as ...

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The terrorist label: When does an attack become a ‘terrorist’ attack?

Last week, Zakaria Bulhan, a British Somalian teenager, armed with a knife, allegedly killed one person and injured four others in a central London square as passers-by were out enjoying the evening. An ordinary scene of urban serenity was disrupted and panic ensued. However, the British authorities have so far refused to label the incident as a terrorist attack stating that the attack was “spontaneous” and triggered by mental health issues. The labelling of a “terrorist” is a delicate task. It is a deliberate decision taken by those in positions of authority rather than induced by the observations of members ...

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The demons of Delhi

The more things change, the more they remain the same. It was 2012 and Delhi was in the midst of a round of massive protests. The gang rape of the young woman Nirbhaya, who came to be remembered as the fearless one, in a moving bus, finally got the jaded citizens of the city on to the streets, as women demanded their basic right, safety. Soon after, legislations were amended, new laws were brought in, and politicians finally seemed to have heard the pulse of a frustrated nation. Yet in the last one week alone, a tourist was gang raped as ...

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