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Le Pen the main beneficiary of Paris terror attacks

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Paris: The worst terror attacks to hit France in its history could act as a boost to the popularity of the extreme-right wing Front National and its leader Marine Le Pen and push him into the Palais Elysees.

For many months now, Le Pen has been leading the opinion polls, ahead of her rivals in the 2017 presidential elections, former president Nicolas Sarkozy and the incumbent, Francois Hollande.

In one such poll, carried out by leading weekly newspaper Journal de Dimanche in October, Le Pen polled 31 percent, while Sarkozy trailed with about 27 percent vote and Hollande was at 19 percent.

A third place for Hollande would mean the President would not even make it to the second round of the election.

Incidentally, in the last presidential elections in 2012, Le Pen received a healthy 17.9 percent vote, the highest ever for FN in a presidential election.

However, three years of a lacklustre leadership by Hollande and several crises later, Le Pen has emerged as a much stronger and serious challenger to the Palais Elysée.

The continued economic crisis leading to sustained high levels of unemployment, which has refused to budge below the symbolic 10 percent mark since 2008 and a rising French deficit and debt have proved to be disastrous for Hollande.

In addition, the refugee crisis that has submerged Europe since January 2015 has seen a hardening of the French public opinion against migrants.

Le Pen has also called for France to exit from the Schengen agreement, which permits visa-free movement between 26 European nations. After the January attacks in Paris, she asked that France unilaterally suspends the Schengen agreement.

It is on the refugee crisis that Le Pen has been most vocal. “We should stop offering them social housing and medical benefits,” Le Pen has repeatedly told the French voters, a view that seems to increasingly sway French opinion.

And, since the Paris attacks, the sense of insecurity that has crept into the French mindset is bound to yield fruit for Le Pen and her party.

Even the harshest of her critics find it difficult to reject her views on migrants anymore and agree that France needs to take urgent and stringent action to control the flood of refugees.

“I don’t support Le Pen and her politics. In fact, I would hate to see her as the President of France as it would push France into a very bad place, but Le Pen is right about not letting any and all refugees coming in, Marc Seviran, a member of Sarkozy’s Les Republicains party, who lives less than 500 metres from one of the sites targeted by the 13/11 terrorists, said.

Seeing that Le Pen’s message is sinking home, Sarkozy himself has been hardening his own position on several issues and has often been accused of pushing his party’s policies to the extreme right as well.

With the public anger and high degree of insecurity, Le Pen stands to gain some more votes, edging her FN ever closer to victory, something that had been unthinkable and catastrophic for many French.

Lucie Rousseau, who lives in the northern region of Picardie, from where Le Pen is contesting this December’s regional elections and where she already commands an unbeatable margin, is adamant that she would never vote FN, but agrees that the public opinion has been moving closer to Le Pen’s position on number key issues, which could strengthen her position further in the run-up to the presidential elections.

(Ranvir Nayar, IANS)

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Paris inaugurates International bidding for 2024 Olympics

The Paris 2024 Bid Committee has marked a milestone in its bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games with a special presentation here

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2024
Pixabay Paris

France, Feb 4, 2017: The Paris 2024 Bid Committee has marked a milestone in its bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games with a special presentation here.

The event was participated by Paris 2024 leadership, top athletes, political and business leaders.

 Speaking at the event, Paris 2024 Co-Chair Tony Estanguet said Paris has launched the bid 18 months ago, the bidding team has put athletes at the heart of the plans and has developed a compact plan with 85 per cent of venues being within 10 km, Xinhua news agency reported.

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Details of the ultra-compact, city-centre inspired concept were the highlights of the candidature file the bidding team submitted to International Olympic Committee.

Paris’ 2024 has a bold vision to deliver the most sustainable Games ever, with 95 per cent of venues either pre-existing or temporary structures, in addition, a ground breaking carbon emissions strategy closely aligned with Olympic Agenda 2020 and the Paris Climate Agreement is also under plan.

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Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo said Paris embodies a belief in the human spirit and an absolute commitment to protect the environment.

“Paris has always stood on the cutting edge of progress and that is why the Games in Paris will be the first ever to be aligned with the Paris Agreement,” she said.

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The event also defined the city’s approach to legacy which will see Paris 2024 Olympics become a model of sustainable development, innovation and social purpose.

The Paris 2024 bid will also build on the city’s global leadership and the positive role sport can play in society to deliver legacies for future generations and to be shared with future host cities. (IANS)

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Indo-Pakistan Peace Restaurant ‘Sarhad’ to showcase food in Paris at an International food event ‘Grand Fooding S. Pellegrino Plats’ in September

Aman, who studied Economics in Norway before venturing into the food business, hopes that one day India and Pakistan could foster better ties through the gourmet route

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Vegetarian Food and Hinduism
Indian food, Wikimedia

Attari, Punjab, August 29, 2016: A popular restaurant, which sells Indian and Pakistani cuisine and the idea of peace between the not-so-friendly neighbours right at the international border between both countries, will showcase its food at an international food event in Paris next month, in September.

‘Sarhad’ (which means border) restaurant, located just one kilometer from the Attari-Wagah joint check post of India and Pakistan, has been invited to participate in the ‘Grand Fooding S. Pellegrino Plats’ in Paris, being organised by Le Fooding on September 24.

“Sarhad, which promotes peace through food with its Amritsari-Lahori cuisine and culture, has been invited to participate in the world’s biggest food event at Paris being organised by Le Fooding on September 24 this year,” restaurant owner Aman Jaspal told IANS here.

Aman and his wife Sameena will be serving the delicious Chicken Biryani, a popular rice and chicken dish in both countries, at the food festival. Aman will soon travel to Lahore to get fresh spices and ingredients from there.

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“Sarhad is one of the 10 restaurants invited from across the world with a similar mission to use food as a medium for peace and reconciliation. Top international chefs and restaurateurs will present essential dishes from different countries, religions and cultures in conflict with each other who come together through their shared gastronomy,” Aman pointed out.

LeFooding Restaurant. Image source: Facebook
LeFooding Logo. Image source: Facebook

International chefs who will be presenting a special dish for the Paris event are Niki Kopcke and Roberta Siao from London, Kamal Mouzawk from Lebanon, Celine Pham from Paris, Jessamyn Rodriguez and Les Boulangeres from New York, Regina Tchelly from Brazil, Pierre Gagnaire from France and Xavier Zapata from Marseille-France.

Sameena, who is from New Zealand and whose parents run a chain of restaurants there, is all excited about the Paris event.

“It’s a great feeling to know that like Sarhad there are like-minded organisations in the world who consider food as peace facilitator,” Sameena told IANS.

The theme of the food event this year has been kept to celebrate reconciliation, life and peace around and through food. This has been done in view of the tragic terror strikes in Paris, Brussels and other places across the world.

“Food has always been central to bringing people together, so the event will serve to highlight local and international initiatives, paying tribute to chefs, restaurateurs, NGOs that act to promote peace among men and women at different levels social, cultural and religious,” Coralie Kwok, chief coordinator of the event, stated in an Email to the Jaspal couple.

The unique border restaurant ‘Sarhad’ showcases the architectural, cultural and culinary heritage of pre-partition Punjab in general and Amritsar and Lahore cities in particular.

The Lahori menu at the restaurant, which is a big draw with visitors to the Retreat ceremony and among local residents, includes Chapli Kebab, Nihari Ghost, Bannu Kebab, Fish Korma, Miyanji ki Dal and Bakarkhani Roti.

“To add a little fizz to the current tepid phase in Indo-Pakistan relations, Sarhad has introduced non-alcoholic beer manufactured by Pakistan’s iconic liquor brand, the 160-year-old Rawalpindi-based Murree Brewery.

“Also available only at Sarhad is all-time Lahori favorite dessert, Khalifa Nan Khatai. Seven boxes of this desert were presented by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the latter’s swearing in ceremony in 2014,” Aman pointed out.

Lahore’s leading designer Ansa Zafar has created furniture for Sarhad while Salah-auddin Michu has created ceramic jaali panels with exquisite motifs of the Lahore fort and Indus valley civilization.

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Pakistan’s most celebrated truck artist, Haider Ali, has painted two Tata mini trucks in Pakistani truck art.

These colourful trucks, with the slogan “India-Pakistan Friendship Zindabad” boldly emblazoned on the bonnet, are parked at Sarhad and are a big attraction for tourists.

Aman, who studied Economics in Norway before venturing into the food business, hopes that one day India and Pakistan could foster better ties through the gourmet route.

“If Paris can try to discover peace and reconciliation through food, there is no reason why India and Pakistan, which share a great common culinary heritage, should not give a chance to food diplomacy. Sarhad would be more than willing to host such an effort,” Aman (which means peace) said.

The brick-lined ‘Sarhad’ restaurant complex was launched on August 15 (India’s Independence Day) in 2012. It is located about 30 km from the Sikh holy city of Amritsar. Famous Pakistani architect and designer Nayar Ali Dada was roped in to incorporate features of old Lahore and old Amritsar in the design for the Sarhad complex. (IANS)

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Video of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Paris

The streets of Paris, France saw the celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi

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Ganesha. Image source: Pixabay

Watch this 1-minute video (Reuters) of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Paris

Paris, Sunday, August 28,2016: More than 4,000 Hindu devotees thronged the streets of Paris to celebrate the birth of Ganesh, the elephant God in Hinduism. Worship of Ganesha is a common practice in India, particularly in the beginning of any auspicious event, example marriages. Ganesha is the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati and is considered to remove obstacles and problems.

Devotees in Paris celebrated by playing drums and walking barefooted.

https://twitter.com/IndianDiasporas/status/769918564463616000

The crowd in Paris consisted of Indians and Sri Lankans. However,local Parisians also joined in to be a part of the experience of Hindu culture.

Even though Ganesh Chaturthi falls on September 4 this year- in a week from now, abroad celebrations may not happen the exact date.

Here is the brief video (Reuters):

https://youtu.be/-Bq6tvH2Fyk

As we had published in another article on Ganesha Chaturthi, here is some more info: One of the major festivals in Hinduism is Ganesh Chaturthi. It is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha on the fourth day of bright fortnight of Bhadrapada month of Hindu calendar (September/ October). Lord Ganesha is the god of wisdom as well as of good fortune. He is believed to be the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati.