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Ecstasy-Like Chinese Drug Seized in France

French customs have smashed a ring smuggling the new 4-MEC synthetic drug and seized 52 kilos (115 pounds) of the Ecstasy-like stimulant sent from China, officials said Friday.

"This is the first time this kind of product has been seized in France," customs spokesman David Cugnetti told journalists in the eastern city of Lyon of the drug that is so new it is not yet illegal.

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Herve Morin: Israel Never Showed Us Evidence of Syrian Transfer of Scuds to Hizbullah

The Israeli army has refused numerous requests from France for evidence to back up claims that Syria last year transferred long-range Scud missiles to Hizbullah, former French defense minister Herve Morin told The Jerusalem Post.

Last April, Israeli officials said Damascus had transferred the Scuds to Hizbullah in Lebanon. A month later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi that the Shiite party was storing the missiles inside Syrian military bases.

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Paris Has No Problem with Miqati: He Faces Difficult Dilemma with STL

French diplomatic sources stressed on Monday that Paris has no problems with Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati “who had a successful run as prime minister in 2005.”

They told Akhbar al-Yawm news agency that Paris noted that some MPs were pressured to nominate Miqati to his position, “but it is awaiting what will come of the government formation and the establishment of the ministerial statement … in order to determine its position in these affairs.”

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Saudi, France Sign Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation Pact

OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia on Tuesday signed a cooperation agreement with France on peaceful nuclear energy development to help meet the kingdom's rising energy demand, an official statement said.

The agreement will enable Saudi Arabia to compare available options for its long-term program to build alternative energy plants for electricity production and water desalination, said Hashim Yamani, president of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE).

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France Reportedly Delays Rocket Supply to Lebanon

France has reportedly delayed a supply of rockets to the Lebanon, Pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper said Thursday.

It said the shipment, bound for the Lebanese army, was based on a promise made to outgoing PM Saad Hariri.

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Egypt-Born Writer Chedid Dies in Paris

The Egyptian-born poet and novelist Andree Chedid, the grandmother of French rock singer Matthieu Chedid, died in Paris on Sunday aged 90, her publisher Flammarion said.

She was born into a Lebanese Christian family in Cairo in 1920 and was educated in Egypt and Paris before taking a degree in journalism at the American University in Cairo.

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France: Bloodshed Must Stop in Egypt

France urged Egypt on Tuesday to end the "bloodshed" that has left as many as 300 people dead in anti-government protests there.

"That must stop," French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told reporters. "The blood must stop flowing. There have been too many deaths, too many wounded."

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Iran Warns France Over Louvre Artifacts

Tehran has warned it will cut cultural ties with France if renowned Paris museum The Louvre fails to set up an exhibition of Persian artifacts in Iran as agreed, an official was Monday cited as saying.

"If this museum (The Louvre) fails to fulfill its commitment with the (Iranian) Cultural Heritage Organization in the next two months, then we will cut cultural ties with France," head of the organization Hamid Baghai was quoted as saying by Tehran Emrouz newspaper.

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Britain, France, Germany Urge Mubarak to Avoid Violence

British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Egypt's Hosni Mubarak to avoid violence "at all costs" in a joint statement Saturday.

The three leaders called on Egypt's embattled president to commit to change in response to what they said were the "legitimate grievances" of his people.

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Feltman: We Are Keen on Seeing Lebanese Commitment to International Resolutions

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman stressed that U.N. Security Council members have expressed their keenness on seeing a Lebanese commitment to international resolutions following the formation of a new government led by Caretaker PM Najib Miqati.

Feltman told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat in remarks published Friday that his talks with French officials in Paris touched on the developments in Lebanon. Security Council members have expressed to him their keenness on Lebanon’s commitment to resolutions 1701 and 1757, he said.

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