PARIS, August 24 -- Donald Trump landed in France with First Lady Melania for the G7 summit Saturday, after taking a swipe at fellow leaders, calling them "friends of mine, for the most part" but not in "100 percent of the cases".
The president threw shade at some of America's closest partners on Friday evening, mere hours before he'd see them in Biarritz at the Group of Seven summit. He threatened to tax French 'like they've never seen before' and characterized world leaders attending the event as 'friends for the most part' in front of Marine One. 'We're going to France. We'll have a good few days. I think it will be very productive, seeing a lot of leaders who are friends of mine, for the most part,' he said of his trip, smirking as he added, "Wouldn't say in 100 percent of the cases, but for the most part." He did not say which leaders were getting under his skin, but Trump offered several hints in the comments he delivered outside the White House before he left for Europe with first lady Melania. She arrived into Biarritz wearing a yellow dress with pink stiletto heels and sunglasses. The first lady had departed Washington wearing a Chanel jacket, white pants and a black top. Trump harped on France's digital tax, which he said U.S. tech companies don't deserve. He noted that he's 'not the biggest fan of the tech companies,' which he again accused them of interfering in his election.
Yet, he said, their regulation should be up to the United States, and not foreign countries like France. "I don't like what France did. They put a digital tax on our tech companies," he said. "Those are great American companies, and frankly, I don't want France going out and taxing our companies, very unfair." He cautioned French President Emmanuel Macron against moving ahead with the action that could spark a protracted trade war with the United States. It is understood the two world leaders will have an unscheduled lunch together Saturday. "If they do that, we'll be taxing their wine, or doing something else. We'll be taxing their wine, like they've never seen before," Trump promised. Whether he meant for the earlier jab about his 'friends' in the global community to land on Macron or another leader he'll be seeing like German Chancellor Angela Merkel was unclear.
MOSCOW, August 13 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to pay a visit to France on August 19 to discuss Ukraine with French President Emmanuel Macron.
Not only the situation in Ukraine is on the agenda. Also the future work in the Normandy format (Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany) will be addressed, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. "Indeed, a working visit of the Russian president to France on August 19 is being prepared, this will be a one-day visit," Peskov said. The leaders will focus on bilateral cooperation and economic ties, international issues, namely Ukraine, as well as the prospects of continuing work in the Normandy format, he noted. Peskov has not ruled out that the sides could discuss the repatriation of the remains of a French general, Charles-Etienne Gudin de La Sablonniere, who was killed on the battlefield near Smolensk in 1812. His remains were unearthed this July by a team of archaeologists. "Certainly, if our French vis-a-vis consider it necessary to bring up this issue, I’m sure this issue will be discussed," Peskov said, stressing that Putin and Macron usually have a frank discussion on various issues. The Normandy format negotiations for ironing out the Donbass crisis have been underway since June 2014. The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany gathered in Normandy for the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of D-Day (the landing of allied troops on the beaches of Normandy in 1944) to discuss the settlement of the conflict in Donbass for the first time. Since then, a number of phone conversations and high-level meetings have taken place as well as contacts between the foreign ministers.
PARIS, August 13 -- Before skinny jeans ever existed, there was a brief period of time where everyone wore the same denim style: bootcut jeans.
Remember them? The softly flared jean that ruled two separate decades? First they appeared in the '70s as the less aggressive bell bottom, but its main moment appeared in the 2000s. The bootcut jean garnered a bad rap for being associated with trucker hats and Von Dutch, but was still favored by celeb A-listers like Beyoncé and Britney Spears. Eventually, though, the style faded away. As with most throwback denim trends (like mom jeans), bootcut jeans are back. The style's been making a slow comeback this year, thanks in part to Michael Kors' Fall '19 runway and brands like Re/Done producing vintage-inspired looks (recently worn by Bella Hadid), but it wasn't until we saw Everlane's new launch that we became convinced that the bootcut is about to go mainstream (again). The San Francisco-based brand premiered their new jean today, and it's making us question why we stopped wearing the style to begin with. The subtle flare is super flattering, giving the appearance of longer gams, which we always welcome. Thankfully, unlike the early aughts' super-low rises, Everlane went with a cheeky high rise. It comes in three different colors—including a dark wash with a contrast denim insert that reminds us of OG hippie jeans. Like the rest of Everlane's denim collection, this style is made in their hyper-sustainable, socially conscious factory. With these $85 jeans, you can look great while reducing your carbon footprint. What's not to love?
PARIS, August 10 -- Numerous demonstrators are taking to the streets in order to oppose government policies in the French capital and protest against income inequality.
Last week, protesters also took part in a March of Silence against police brutality in Nantes, which resulted in numerous clashes and arrests of demonstrators. The Yellow Vests movement started holding rallies in France in November 2018 over the government's plan to increase fuel taxes. While the French authorities have abandoned the idea, protesters continue to hold demonstrations across the country every weekend.
GENEVA, July 30 -- Swiss prosecutors said Monday they have been assisting Japanese investigations into former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn, who has been indicted over financial misconduct and breach of trust.
Tokyo prosecutors requested Swiss assistance in investigations on Jan. 14, and the request was forwarded to the Canton of Zurich's prosecutors on March 8 following a summary probe, a spokesperson of the Swiss Federal Department of Justice. While Zurich prosecutors did not give details of the ongoing investigation, they are believed to be checking bank accounts associated with Ghosn as Tokyo prosecutors are apparently following the flow of money disbursed by Nissan and Renault SA in Europe and the Middle East. Many European and American financial institutions are based in Zurich, which is known for hosting many private banks and investment banks for the wealthy class. French media have reported Ghosn was making preparations since around last year to move his tax domicile to Switzerland, which offers preferential tax treatment to the rich.
The former boss of the major Japanese automaker has been accused of underreporting his remuneration and redirecting company funds, allegations he categorically denies. Since his arrest last November, investigations into Ghosn have spilled over to other countries. Earlier this month, French authorities searched the head office of Renault in connection with a probe into Ghosn's lavish 2016 wedding party at the Palace of Versailles. The once-feted auto tycoon also served as Renault chairman.
Ghosn has been free on bail since April and is now awaiting trial in Japan.
VIENNA, July 28 -- The remaining signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are set to meet in Austria's capital, Vienna, to renew discussions aimed at salvaging the accord in the wake of United States' unilateral exit last year.
Envoys from Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and Iran will take part in Sunday's extraordinary gathering, the European Union's foreign policy service said. The meeting will "examine issues linked to the implementation of the JCPOA in all its aspects," the EU said, referring to the nuclear deal by its formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The landmark agreement, which offered Iran relief from global sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme, is in danger of unravelling following Washington's move in May 2018. The administration of US President Donald Trump has since reimposed punishing sanctions against Tehran, plunging its economy into recession and bringing hardship to ordinary Iranians. The pact's remaining signatories oppose Washington's move but have struggled to protect trade with Iran. In May, Iran said it would disregard certain limits the deal set on its nuclear programme. After surpassing a cap on stockpiles of enriched uranium, Iran's atomic agency earlier this month said it has also started to enrich uranium to a higher grade than the 3.67 percent set in the JCPOA.
All of the moves were "reversible within hours" if the remaining signatories upheld their commitments, according to Iranian officials. However, they have also threatened to take further measures if the parties, especially European nations, did not help Tehran circumvent the US sanctions, particularly the restrictions on its ability to export oil.
ROTTERDAM, July 27 -- On Friday, more temperature records are falling in parts of Europe as the historic heat wave that brought the hottest weather ever recorded in Paris, London, Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany shifts northward.
In a few days, the weather system responsible for the heat wave will stretch all the way across the top of the globe. It's what this system, characterized by a strong area of high pressure aloft — often referred to as a heat dome — will do to the Arctic that has some scientists increasingly concerned. First, Norway, Sweden, and Finland will be the focus of unusually high temperatures through the weekend, as a potentially record strong area of high pressure in the mid-levels of the atmosphere sets up over the region, blocking any cold fronts or other storm systems from moving into the area, like a traffic light in the sky. Temperatures in parts of Scandinavia will reach into the 90s or higher, on the heels of an intense heat wave in 2018 that led to an outbreak of damaging wildfires on parts of the region. Bergen, Norway, already set an all-time record high on Friday with a temperature of 91 degrees (32.8 Celsius). So far this year, Arctic sea ice extent has hovered at record lows during the melt season. Weather patterns favorable for increased melt have predominated in this region, and an unusually mild summer has also increased melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Unlike with sea ice melt, runoff from the Greenland Ice Sheet increases sea levels, since it adds new water to the oceans. If the entire ice sheet were to melt, it would raise global average sea levels by 23 feet. Ruth Mottram, a researcher with the Danish Meteorological Institute, tells The Washington Post that as the high-pressure area, also referred to as a "blocking ridge," sets up over Greenland, it could promote a widespread and significant melt event last seen in 2012. During that summer, nearly all of the ice sheet experienced melting, including the highest elevations that rarely exceed 32 degrees.
"... Assuming this comes off (and it seems likely) we would expect a very large melt event over the ice sheet," Mottram said via email. "This was a very similar situation to 2012 where melt reached all the way up to Summit station. As you have probably seen the Arctic sea ice is already at record low for the time of year so clearly we may be looking at a situation where both Arctic sea ice and Greenland ice sheet have record losses even over and above 2012 — though we won't know for sure until after the event."
Zack Labe, a climate researcher at the University of California at Irvine who focuses on Arctic climate change, said the upcoming Arctic heat wave could have major ramifications and may push sea ice to another record low at the end of the melt season. "This appears to be a very significant event for the Arctic," he said of the upcoming weather pattern. "A massive upper-level ridge will position itself across the North Atlantic and eventually Greenland in the next few days. This negative North Atlantic Oscillation-like pattern will be associated with well above average temperatures in Greenland. In fact, simulations from the MARv3.9 model suggest this may be the largest surface melt event of the summer," Labe said, referring to a computer model projection of surface ice melt in Greenland. "Whether or not we set a new record low this year, the timing and extent of open water on the Pacific side of the Arctic has been unprecedented in our satellite record. This is already having significant impacts to coastal communities in Alaska and marine ecosystems," Labe said.
Elsewhere in the Arctic, this summer has been similarly extreme. Alaska had its warmest June on record, and more than 2 million acres have gone up in flames across the state as a result of a long stretch of above-average temperatures. Arcticwide, an unusual spate of wildfires is burning, affecting vast stretches of Siberia as well. Smoke from these fires is circling the globe, tracked via satellite imagery. These fires are a positive feedback in the climate system, since they are emitting greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.
PARIS, July 24 -- The French capital is going through its driest period in almost 150 years and temperatures across Europe continue to reach extreme levels, leaving scorched fields and farmers frustrated by another spell of bad weather.
In the east German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Christa-Maria Wendig is worried these once-rare droughts are becoming common. She plans to give up planting rapeseed in the coming months because of the dry weather and the heatwave stunted her ripening corn crop. 'Our ponds are empty and the meadows withered,' she said. As temperatures keep climbing across Europe this week, peaking on Thursday in Paris and London, the effects of extreme weather are becoming clearer. This summer has already seen raging wildfires in Portugal and Spain, falling water levels on Germany’s Rhine River and irrigation restrictions in France. Day-ahead electricity prices in France hit a five-month high Tuesday. In Paris, temperatures are forecast to hit 42°C.
Electricite de France SA plans to halt two nuclear reactors at Golfech this week, as the Garonne river becomes too warm for cooling the plant. The company, which produces about three-quarters of France’s power, has said it will prepare nuclear plants to operate in more severe heatwaves in the coming decades amid a changing climate. In agriculture, the heatwave is having the biggest impact on corn fields, which are in a key growth stage. Yields will drop sharply if beneficial rains don’t arrive soon, said German grains handler Agravis Raiffeisen AG. Winter wheat and barley are already being collected and escaped most of the bad weather. Some farmers in France and Germany may harvest corn early as silage to build up their animal-feed supplies for the winter, rather than collecting the crops as grain to sell on the market, said Laurine Simon, an analyst at consultant Strategie Grains. Forage stocks are already low after last year’s drought, and Paris corn futures are up about 10% since late May.
MONTPELLIER, July 21 -- About 600 yellow vests demonstrated in the center of Montpellier this Saturday afternoon. During clashes with protesters, three police officers were injured. Black blocs have committed degradations, especially at the level of the place of Europe.
In their parade marking act 36 of the movement, the yellow vests again expressed their dissatisfaction with the government's policy with a sign "It's going to fart". The atmosphere of the procession, in which black blocks have interfered, has stretched to the level of the sector Antigone. During the clashes between protesters and police, three police officers, including two CRS, were injured. One person was arrested