BIARRITZ, August 26 -- World leaders at the G-7 summit have agreed to help the countries affected by the huge wildfires ravaging the Amazon rain forest as soon as possible, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday.
"We are all agreed on helping those countries which have been hit by the fires as fast as possible," he told journalists at the summit in the south-western French resort of Biarritz. Ahead of the gathering, Macron called on world leaders to hold urgent talks on the wildfires ripping through the world's largest rain forest, pledging "concrete measures" to tackle it. Although about 60 per cent of the Amazon is in Brazil, the vast forest also takes in parts of eight other countries: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela. "This morning, Colombia called on the international community (to help), so we must help out," he said. "Our teams are making contact with all the Amazon countries so we can finalise some very concrete commitments involving technical resources and funding." Macron's bid to put the Amazon crisis high on the agenda at the G-7 angered Brazil's far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro, who lashed out over what he sees as outside interference, denouncing the French leader's "colonialist mentality". Under intense international pressure, Bolsonaro agreed to send in the military to fight the fires. The army on Sunday deployed two Hercules C-130 aircraft to douse fires, as hundreds of new blazes were ignited ahead of nationwide protests over the destruction.
Heavy smoke covered the city of Porto Velho in the north-western state of Rondonia where the defense ministry said the planes have started dumping thousands of liters of water. Swathes of the remote region bordering Bolivia have been scorched by the blazes, sending thick smoke billowing into the sky and increasing air pollution across the world's largest rain forest. Experts say increased land clearing during the months-long dry season to make way for crops or grazing has aggravated the problem this year. "It gets worse every year - this year, the smoke has been really serious," Deliana Amorim, 46, told Agence France-Presse in Porto Velho where half a million people live. At least seven states, including Rondonia, have requested the army's help in the Amazon, where more than 43,000 troops are based and available to combat fires, officials said. Pope Francis on Sunday also voiced concern for the rain forest, which he described as a "vital" lung for the planet. The latest official figures show 79,513 forest fires have been recorded in Brazil this year, the highest number of any year since 2013. More than half of the fires are in the massive Amazon basin, where more than 20 million people live. Some 1,130 new fires were ignited between Friday and Saturday, according to Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE). The new data come as protesters plan to take to the streets across Brazil on Sunday, after thousands held demonstrations in the country and in Europe on Friday.
The U.S. administration of President Donald Trump has renewed sanctions on Iran after quitting Tehran's deal with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States, which promised sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program. "Iran's active diplomacy in pursuit of constructive engagement continues," Zarif tweeted. "Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying." The minister departed on a government plane for Iran on Sunday evening. A source at the French presidential office said practical discussions at the G-7 summit led to Zarif's visit to Biarritz, which the United States had acknowledged. Macron is said to have personally contacted Trump.
G-7 leaders shared the view Saturday that Iran should not possess nuclear weapons, but differed in their approach to finding a solution. With U.S.-Iran tensions escalating, France, which has expressed hope the nuclear agreement will survive, has apparently been trying to mediate between Washington and Tehran, foreign affairs experts say. Zarif was already in France, having met with Macron in Paris on Friday.
BIARRITZ, August 25 -- Leaders from the Group of Seven industrialized nations shared the view Saturday that Iran should not possess nuclear weapons while still differing in their approaches to finding a resolution to the issue as they kicked off a three-day summit in France.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who visited Iran in June to help diffuse heightened tensions in the Middle East, told the other G-7 leaders in the French coastal city of Biarritz that Tokyo will continue to engage with Tehran on the diplomatic front, a senior Japanese government official said. "The leaders exchanged various views (on issues such as Iran) and efforts were made by each country toward finding common ground," the official said. G-7 members have been jittery over U.S. President Donald Trump's strategy to shake up multilateral arrangements to advance U.S. interests -- notably his withdrawal from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal that has ratcheted up tensions in the Middle East. The big question of whether the G-7 -- made up of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States plus the European Union -- is an effective forum for tackling global issues still looms large following past clashes between the United States and other members. The leaders also discussed Russia's potential return to the G-7 framework over dinner that lasted nearly three hours, the official said without giving further details. Russia was dropped from the then Group of Eight after its annexation of Crimea in 2014 which it drew sharp international outcry.
Despite Trump's push for readmitting Russia, other G-7 members are opposed due to a lack of progress on the Crimea issue. With its unity in doubt, the G-7 leaders are expected to discuss a range of topics in the coming days from the global economy and digitalization to inequality and North Korea. They agreed Saturday on the need to extend assistance over Amazon rainforest fires in Brazil.
Trump, who reportedly had reservations about attending the G-7 meeting, said on Twitter that his evening meeting with world leaders went "very well," adding, "Progress being made!"
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.