Sarkozy wants flags, anthem
President Nicolas Sarkozy is calling for more French flags to be flown in the country, and the Marseillaise anthem sung widely to instill a greater sense of pride. In an eight-page mission letter sent to the Minister of Immigration, Integration and National Identity Eric Besson e-mailed to the press on Tuesday, he asked members of his government to make national symbols more visible. He said they needed to reinforce the space for emblems and symbols of the Republic, its language, its flag, its anthem and the values of liberty, equality and fraternity. The letter also called for the government to firmly clamp down on immigration. France wants to integrate migrants already in the country, he said, and will only take in new immigrants selectively. It will give the ones it chooses temporary visas.
Soldier kills three people
A French soldier allegedly killed two fellow Foreign Legion members and a peacekeeper from Togo in an unexplained shooting on Tuesday in Chad, French Defense Minister Herve Morin said late on Tuesday in Paris. The suspected killer was being sought by Chadian security forces. The three legionaries were reportedly members of a French regiment based with European EUFOR troops in Abeche, Chad. The slain Togolese soldier was assigned to the UN’s MINURCAT peacekeeping mission. There was no immediate explanation or motive for the shooting. Several thousand foreign troops are stationed in northern Chad to protect refugees from neighboring Sudan.
Hijacked yacht located
A French yacht that was captured by pirates off Somalia over the weekend has been located, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said on Tuesday, without giving details of any rescue efforts. The sail boat, the Tanit, which was carrying two couples and a three-year-old child, was taken far from the coastline of Somalia, Kouchner told RTL radio. “Yes, they have been located. This has been the case since yesterday,” he said.
Skeleton on tree found
The skeleton of a German pensioner who tied himself to the top of a tree and shot himself to death nearly 30 years ago has been found by a hiker. Police in southern town of Landshut said on Monday the 69-year-old man disappeared in 1980 and had been classified as missing. An 18-year-old hiker discovered a bone in the forest last week and brought it to police. They searched the area and spotted the skeleton hanging about 11m up, near the top of the spruce tree. Police were able to identify the man through DNA testing and an artificial hip. Police were able to identify the man through DNA testing and an artificial hip.
Felix the cat is alive
A cat named Felix was found alive and well beneath the rubble of a six-storey building in Cologne that collapsed five weeks ago, the city fire brigade said on Tuesday. The 12-year-old cat was in surprisingly good health, authorities said. He was found beneath the city archives building that collapsed on March 3. Rescue workers were clearing away the rubble from the ruins, in which two people were killed, when they spotted a pair of small paws. “The men lifted some concrete blocks when suddenly a little cat came to light,” said Dietmar Paust, fire brigade spokesman.
Chavez bashes bishops
President Hugo Chavez railed against Roman Catholic leaders on Tuesday for condemning a law that has weakened his political opponents. Chavez took issue with the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference for accusing him of sidelining adversaries with a new law that let him take control of airports and seaports previously under the administration of opposition politicians. “This group of bishops is shameless,” Chavez told state television from China, where he is wrapping up a tour that also included visits to Japan, Iran and Qatar. “They side with all those who attack the government.” Quoting the Bible, Chavez said: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”