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Sarkozy Says No Intervention in Syria without U.N. Resolution

Italy and France called for an end to the "violent repression" against peaceful protests in Syria on Tuesday, with French President Nicolas Sarkozy saying the situation was "unacceptable".

"We issue a strong call on the authorities in Damascus to end the violent repression against what are peaceful demonstrations," Berlusconi said to a news conference following the summit.

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Pietton: Solving Arms Issue via National Dialogue Key to Lebanon, Region Security

French Ambassador to Lebanon on Monday noted that "seeking a solution to the issue of weapons in the framework of national dialogue is vital to the security of Lebanon and the region."

Speaking after the annual time-honored Easter service in Bkirki dedicated to France, Pietton said his country, "according to U.N. Security Council resolutions 1559 and 1701, is offering its full support for the Lebanese State for it to defend and guarantee the country's sovereignty."

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Condemnation Mounts of Syria Crackdown

International condemnation of Syria mounted Saturday after its security forces reportedly killed more than 80 people in one of the bloodiest days of a month-long uprising.

Russia, Italy and Greece joined the chorus of criticism which includes U.S. President Barack Obama and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon, as well as France and the European parliament.

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Airbus Says it Beats Crisis Cost-Cutting Targets

Airbus has made even bigger savings than expected when it launched cuts in the midst of crisis in 2007 and remains competitive despite the rise of the euro, the company which makes airliners said on Friday.

Senior director Fabrice Bregier told the Les Echos newspaper that "the targets have been well exceeded", and that the so-called Power 8 program had enabled the company to save "2.5 billion euros ($3.65 billion), which means as much extra profit, and 10 billion euros in cash."

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Report: Israel Pressured U.S., France into Halting Military Assistance to Lebanon

Israel confirmed that both the U.S. and France suspended deals that are meant to provide assistance to the Lebanese military, over fears that the munitions would fall into the hands of Hizbullah if it controlled the new government, Israeli newspaper Maariv reported.

“It took a lot of effort to convince Washington… we made it clear that in a scenario where Hizbullah controls the Lebanese government, the arms will endanger Israel,” a high-rank Israeli official told the daily.

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Countries Hesitant to Provide Military Support to Rebels, Gadhafi Son Defiant

A rebel official in Libya's besieged city of Misrata pleaded for Britain and France to send troops to help fight Moammer Gadhafi's forces, while a son of the strongman said he was "very optimistic" his father's regime will prevail, sources told the Agence French Presse on Wednesday.

A senior member of Misrata's governing council, Nuri Abdullah Abdullati, said they were asking for the troops on the basis of "humanitarian" principles, in the first request by insurgents for boots on the ground.

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Billion-Dollar Phone Bill Sent to French Distillery

The manager of a French distillery in the renowned Burgundy wine-making district was sent a sobering phone bill for 716,414,273 Euros (1.02 billion dollars).

"It's so enormous when you see it written down, you can't believe it, so several of us had a look," said Gerard Chaussee, who runs the Maison Vedrenne making various luxury spirits in Nuits-Saint-Georges in eastern France.

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Paris: Juppe in Lebanon in May, Aoun an Obstacle to Cabinet Formation

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe is scheduled to pay a visit to Lebanon on May 13-14, a French source told pan-Arab al-Hayat daily on Tuesday.

“Lebanon should be a free and sovereign country and become an example in the region due to its dynamic democratic institutions and peaceful coexistence among sects,” Juppe said in his statement during the “Arab Spring” symposium held at the Arab World Institute on Saturday.

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France Returns Rare Korean Books After 145 Years

France Thursday sent back a shipment of ancient Korean royal books, 145 years after its troops looted them during a retaliatory raid on an island west of Seoul.

Two containers carrying 75 volumes of "Uigue", illustrated manuals on royal protocol written during the Chosun Dynasty (1392-1910), arrived at Incheon airport after being released by the National Library of France.

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Paris, Berlin Condemn Syria Violence as Security Forces Disperse Students at Damascus University

Syrian students rallied in front of Damascus University on Monday in solidarity with protesters killed in the flashpoint towns of Daraa and Banias.

“Youngman Fadi al-Assmi was martyred at the hands of Syrian security forces during protests at Damascus University’s Faculty of Science,” Prominent Syrian human rights activist Suheir al-Atasi wrote on her facebook page.

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