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France: We Don’t Interfere in Government Formation Process, But it Should Respect STL

France announced on Wednesday that it does not interfere in the government formation process in Lebanon, stressing however that the new Cabinet should respect the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero stated that his country has repeatedly emphasized the importance of Lebanese institutions functioning independently and democratically.

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Last U.S. Veteran of WWI Dies at Age 110

Frank Buckles, who lied about his age to get into uniform during World War I and lived to be the last surviving U.S. veteran of that war, has died. He was 110.

Buckles, who also survived being a civilian POW in the Philippines in World War II, died peacefully of natural causes early Sunday at his home in Charles Town, biographer and family spokesman David DeJonge said in a statement. Buckles turned 110 on Feb. 1 and had been advocating for a national memorial honoring veterans of World War I in Washington, D.C.

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French FM Alliot-Marie Resigns, Sarkozy Reshuffles Cabinet

French President Nicolas Sarkozy named former premier Alain Juppe as his new foreign minister Sunday, after Michele Alliot-Marie, tainted by her ties to the former Tunisian regime, resigned.

Juppe will be replaced as defense minister by Gerard Longuet, the leader of Sarkozy's center right party in the French Senate, the president announced in a brief televised address to the nation.

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Sarkozy Says Gadhafi Must Go, State Violence Can't Go Unpunished

Loyalists of Moammar Gadhafi killed several people in shooting that was spreading through Tripoli on Friday as French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the embattled Libyan leader "must go."

And as protesters against Gadhafi's iron-fisted four-decade rule braved deadly gunfire in several parts of the capital, opponents braced for a fightback by a regime that has suffered yet more defections.

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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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