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French business activity surges above expectations despite election uncertainty - PMI
21 February 2017 - French business activity surged passed expectations in February to near a six-year high, led by resurgent services, unfazed by political uncertainty two months from a presidential election, a monthly poll showed on Tuesday, 21 February. Data compiler IHS Markit said its preliminary composite purchasing managers index jumped to 56.2 in February from 54.1 in January, reaching the highest level since May 2011. With new business flowing in, services took on new staff at the fastest pace in over six years, which should help a nascent recovery in France's struggling labour market. (more)

France issues record $7.5 billion in 'green bonds'
24 January 2017 - France has issued a record 7 billion euros ($7.5 billion) in so-called green treasury bonds, a boost to efforts to generate investment in clean energy. The French government celebrated the higher than expected demand for Tuesday's bond issue. President Francois Hollande called on others to follow France's example. Other countries and funds have experimented with green bonds, but France's issue Tuesday was exceptional in its size and duration. (more)

Zero-emission boat prepares for round-the-world odyssey
11 January 2017 - The first self-sufficient boat powered only by emission-free energy will start a six-year trip around the world in the spring. Energy Observer, a former multi-hull race boat converted into a green vessel equipped with solar panels, wind turbines, and a hydrogen fuel cell system, will be powered by wind, the sun, and self-generated hydrogen. The boat, which is currently in a shipyard in Saint-Malo (western France), will set sail from the Brittany port. (more)

France: 105-year-old Frenchman sets cycling record
4 January 2017 - Nearly a century ago, Robert Marchand was told by a coach that he should give up cycling because he would never achieve anything on a bike. He proved that prediction wrong again on Wednesday. In a skin-tight yellow and violet jersey, the 105-year-old Frenchman set a world record in the 105-plus age category -- created especially for the tireless veteran -- by riding 22.547 kilometers in one hour. (more)

French consumer confidence at nine-year high in December - INSEE
4 January 2017 - French consumer confidence for December stood at a nine-year high, the official INSEE statistics agency said, as unemployment fears receded slightly while households also felt more confident about their personal finances. (more)

France lets workers turn off, tune out, and live life
2 January 2017 - The arrival of 2017 brings to French workers a newly created 'right to disconnect.' The new law is born of the enlightened view that it is actually beneficial for people not to work all the time, and that workers have the right to occasionally draw the line when their employer's demands intrude on evenings at home, treasured vacations, or Sundays with friends and family. (more)

France bans pesticides in public green spaces
29 December 2016 - French children will soon be able to frolic in the grass without risk of intoxication. Pesticides will be banned in all public green spaces from Sunday while non-professional gardeners will no longer be able to buy pesticides over the counter. (more)

Embrace of 'eco' ethos brings new life to a French village
31 October 2016 - By adopting environmentally friendly policies and promoting organic ventures, the village of St.-Pierre-de-Frugie has lured urbanites back to the countryside, reversing the trend of last century. Mayor Chabaud banned pesticides from the town's hedges and plots of land in 2010. He opened up an organic store for local producers to sell their vegetables. He opened a community garden, beehives, and ongoing ecological workshops that spur knowledge-sharing among the community. He is now looking at ambitious plans for local self-sufficiency in energy and food. (more)

France: Office workers turn urban gardeners on Paris luxury store rooftops
26 August 2016 - Le Bon Marche and La Grande Epicerie, two landmark Paris luxury stores, have turned their joint rooftops into an urban garden for staff to grow their own crops in their free time. In the past months, the LVMH-owned adjoining stores on Paris's residential left bank have built planter boxes on a 700 square meter (7,500 square feet) roof area. The stunning views over Paris and the chance to learn about gardening have attracted 200 of the stores' 1,500 employees, selected by lottery, and put the stores at the forefront of the city's urban gardening drive. (more)

French consumer morale resilient after attacks, Brexit
26 August 2016 - French consumer confidence picked up in August, shrugging off two Islamist militant attacks the month before and Britain's shock vote to leave the EU, data showed on Friday, a sign the French economy started the third quarter on a stronger footing. French households' opinion about their personal financial situation improved markedly, INSEE said, gaining 7 points to reach the highest level since October 2007. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Filmmaker David Lynch recommends Transcendental Meditation to solve problems in schools
22 December 2012 - On a tour of Europe and other countries, film director David Lynch spoke often about the power of Transcendental Meditation to improve creativity and reduce stress in the individual and society. Many of his statements during this tour several years ago are featured in the recently released documentary, Meditation, Creativity, Peace. Some presaged the deep concerns now echoing throughout the US and the world following the Newtown, Connecticut school tragedy. Mr Lynch described how Transcendental Meditation, giving the effortless, direct experience of the fundamental field of consciousness--a field of 'creativity, intelligence, love, power, and bliss'--unfolds one's 'full potential as a human being', offering a solution to the stress and violence plaguing schools. (more)

France: French culture, Vedic gardens featured in women's programmes
26 November 2012 - Women in France have been enjoying programmes this year including presentations on French culture and Maharishi Vedic Gardens, in-residence assemblies and special conference calls, and the inauguration of a new club in Paris where people can enjoy practising Transcendental Meditation together. (more)

David Lynch on the Unified Field: 'Everything emerges from a field of no-thing'
6 November 2012 - What is beneath the surface of the mind and matter? Film director David Lynch explains his understanding of the Unified Field, the source of creation, underlying all existence--first from the scientific perspective of quantum physics, and then from the perspective of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Vedic science and technologies of consciousness. The Unified Field is 'the unity of all the particles and all the forces of matter,' Mr Lynch said. Not only did scientists discover the Unified Field, 'but they found that everything that is a thing emerges from this field of no-thing . . . . It is no-thing, but all things come from it.' (more)

How to experience the Unified Field: David Lynch
6 November 2012 - Scientists have developed theoretical knowledge of the Unified Field from which everything in the universe emerges, but they don't know how to experience it directly, said film director David Lynch. 'It is unmanifest. You can't walk into this field. But any one of those scientists could practise a technique, Transcendental Meditation.' Mr Lynch described the technique, which one learns from a certified teacher in a systematic course of instruction, and which 'turns the awareness within'. In this natural process, 'each deeper level of mind and each deeper level of intellect has more happiness. . . . At the borderline of intellect, you transcend. Transcend is the key word. It means to go beyond. You're going beyond the field of relativity, duality, experiencing oneness . . . . pure, unbounded, infinite consciousness.' (more)

Transcendental Meditation increasingly popular in France
23 July 2012 - During the past year the number of people who learned Transcendental Meditation in France increased substantially, by almost 50 per cent. Another new development was the opening of the Veda Club in the centre of Paris. With its proper orientation according to Maharishi Vastu architecture, the Veda Club has become a central hub for Parisians to practise Transcendental Meditation together regularly. This group practice has been shown through scientific research to reduce negative trends and create an influence of coherence and harmony in society. (more)

France: Spring 2011 tour inspires interest in Transcendental Meditation and advanced programmes
23 July 2011 - Six cities in different regions of France--Paris, Narbonne, Bordeaux, Nantes, Lyon, and Strasbourg--hosted presentations during a tour this spring on the benefits of the Transcendental Meditation Programme for the individual and society. Highlighted in the presentations was scientific research documenting positive results in many areas including development of mental potential and improved brain functioning, better health, and business success and productivity. (more)

Vastu community planned in France
13 July 2011 - Interest in the programmes of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in France has inspired potential plans for a Vastu community constructed according to principles of Maharishi Vedic Architecture, and has drawn hundreds of people to celebrations and lectures throughout the country. (more)

Consciousness-Based Education, Vedic architecture and music offered in France
13 July 2011 - Special programmes and courses have been offered this year in France in Consciousness-Based Education, Maharishi Vastu architecture, and Gandharva Veda music. (more)

Expansion of holistic health programmes in France
13 July 2011 - Last year, hundreds of people in France enjoyed natural holistic health programmes including Maharishi Ayur-Veda consultations, spa treatments, and Maharishi Light Therapy with Gems. (more)

France: Information about Transcendental Meditation becoming widely available
13 July 2011 - Several new websites, a blog, a brochure and other printed materials are making information about the Transcendental Meditation Programme, as well as programmes for Vedic architecture and Consciousness-Based Education, widely available in France. (more)


Flops
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Many factors make France the top IS terror target in Europe
26 July 2016 - When militants loyal to the Islamic State group seek to inflict pain on Europe, France is their preferred target. Since January 2015, IS-inspired attackers have killed at least 235 people in France, by far the largest casualty rate of any Western country. French citizens or French-speaking residents have committed the overwhelming majority of strikes. Analysts agree that Islamic State propagandists particularly target France as a land anchored in secular values, liberal freedoms, and life's pleasures. But its colonial history, demographic tensions, and interventionist policies against militant Muslims abroad point to deeper reasons why anti-Western killers seek so ruthlessly to bring grief to France's door. (more)

The other Nice: hotbed for French jihadi recruiting
16 July 2016 - Best known as a Riviera tourist destination, Nice has been struggling to get a grip on its less prized distinction as France's prime recruiting ground for would-be jihadis. The hinterlands beyond the smart streets of the old city have seen dozens of its Muslim residents head to Syria in recent years to fight. 'Nice is the city which has been most hit by the jihadist phenomena,' said David Thomson, an expert on radicalization in France. 'There is one main reason behind it: since 2010, a charismatic character, known as one of the main recruiters of French jihadists, has been hugely active preaching in poor neighborhoods,' Thomson said. (more)

France: 84 dead, 202 hurt as truck hits Bastille Day crowd in Nice
15 July 2016 - French leaders extended the country's 8-month-old state of emergency Friday and vowed to deploy thousands of police reservists on the streets after a Tunisian man drove a truck through crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, killing 84 people and wounding 202 others. The assault on revelers rocked a nation still dealing with the aftermath of two attacks in Paris last year that killed 147 people and were claimed by the Islamic State extremist group. French President Francois Hollande's government, whose popularity has plumbed record lows, has recently been buffeted by allegations that France's intelligence services have failed to get a handle on the country's jihadist threat. France has known for years that it is a top Islamic State target, and it is the biggest source for European recruits for IS, with more than 1,000 fighting in Syria or Iraq. (more)

Rain pummels France; Seine overflows its banks in Paris
1 June 2016 - Floods devastated regions across France on Wednesday -- in some areas, the worst seen in a century or more. The Seine River overflowed its banks, one French town was evacuated, travelers trapped on a submerged highway were rescued by soldiers, and boat cruises in Paris were cancelled. Meteorologists said more bad news is coming -- the waters are expected to keep rising for days. In neighboring Germany, floods hit an area of Bavaria near the Austrian border, inundating some small towns. (more)

1 man brain dead, 5 others hospitalized in French drug trial
15 January 2016 - One man was brain dead and three others faced possible permanent brain damage after volunteering to take part in a drug trial for a painkiller based on a natural brain compound similar to the active ingredient in marijuana, French authorities said Friday. French Health Minister Marisol Touraine said that in addition to treating pain, the drug was intended to ease mood and anxiety troubles as well as motor problems linked to neurodegenerative illnesses by acting on the endocannabinoid system. In 2006, Britain saw a similar incident, when six previously healthy men were treated for organ failure only hours after being given an experimental drug targeting the immune system. The six men in Britain now apparently have a higher risk of cancer and autoimmune diseases tied to their exposure to the experimental drug. (more)

120 dead in Paris attacks, worst since WWII
14 November 2015 - A series of attacks targeting young concert-goers, soccer fans, and Parisians enjoying a Friday night out at popular nightspots killed at least 120 people in the deadliest violence to strike France since World War II. The death toll was at least 120 people at six sites, including the national stadium and a circle of popular nightspots, Paris prosecutor's spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre said. (more)

Death toll in Paris attacks hits 129; 352 hurt
14 November 2015 - Three teams of extremists carried out the coordinated gun-and-suicide bombing attacks across Paris that left 129 people dead and 352 injured, a French prosecutor said Saturday. Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said the attackers in the Bataclan concert hall, where 89 people died, mentioned Syria and Iraq during their deadly rampage. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks Friday night. Officials raced to piece together information on the seven attackers. Officials said one was a young Frenchman known to the authorities. In addition, a Syrian passport found near the body of another attacker was linked to a man who entered the European Union through a Greek island last month. (more)

Scenes of horror as a Paris night becomes a bloodbath
13 November 2015 - The assailants' weapons were those of war: automatic rifles and suicide belts of explosives. The killing was indiscriminate, spread across a swath of the city, in at least six different sites. An ordinary Friday night in Paris transformed into a bloodbath. The word Parisians used over and over as they tried to make sense of the horror was 'carnage.' (more)

France floods: 16 dead on Riviera after storms
4 October 2015 - Violent storms and flooding have hit south-eastern France, killing at least 16 people with three more missing, officials say. French President Francois Hollande announced a state of 'natural disaster' in the affected region. Heavy rain hit the French Riviera, which lies on the Mediterranean coast and borders Italy, on Saturday evening. The river Brague burst its banks, sending water coursing into nearby towns and cities. Social media pictures showed water gushing down the streets of Cannes. (more)

Paris attack rallies Islamic extremists, may boost support
10 January 2015 - The militant chatter spread like wildfire. Within minutes of news breaking about the deadly terror attack on a Paris newspaper this week, supporters of extremist Islamic groups extolled the suspects in the massacre as 'lions of the caliphate' and praised the killings on social media. The Kouachi brothers' military-style assault -- and their death as 'martyrs' in a hail of bullets on Friday after police raided the building where they had holed up with a hostage north of Paris -- undoubtedly resonates with extremists' repeated calls for attacks in France, echoing chilling images from their slick propaganda videos. Both al-Qaida and IS rely on Hollywood-style film clips and a slick propaganda campaign to boost their credibility among disaffected but plugged-in young Muslims to help them promote their conquests, inspire sympathizers, and attract new recruits. (more)

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