Almost every time Obama goes overseas, he seems to manage to do something really odd.
Having arrived in Cannes, France for the G-20 Summit, President Obama apparently greeted European Heads of State with a handshake, but couldn’t resist giving a hug to Islamist Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Weekly Standard quotes White House Pool Reporter Tangi Quéméner’s report:
THE WEEKLY STANDARD: [President Obama] entered the room at 1:15 and took to his left, heading to Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy. They chatted for a few seconds before British Prime minister David Cameron joined them. Hard to understand what they were saying amid the cameras noise. POTUS then took a stroll to Australian Premier Julia Gillard who got a hug as European president Herman van Rompuy, European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan were watching. Eventually the Europeans got a handshake but Erdogan got the hug treatment. . . .
Here is raw video (in French) from French TV showing France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy being grabbed by an assailant as he shook hands in the French city of Brax. The man grabbed Sarkozy by the shoulder and tried to pull him over a barricade. Sarkozy quickly escaped the grasp of the man and security officials tackled the assailant.
MSNBC: A man in a crowd yanked French President Nicolas Sarkozy by the shoulder Thursday and nearly knocked him to the ground before being tackled by security officers and detained.
The unusually aggressive incident occurred as the president shook hands with a crowd in the town of Brax in southern France.
The man’s identity and motives were unclear. French police said the man was detained and being held in the nearby town of Agen.
Images broadcast on French television showed Sarkozy reach over a metal barricade to greet onlookers, when an arm grabbed his suit roughly by the shoulder and pulled it toward the crowd.
Sarkozy started to lose his balance and fall, then immediately recoiled and righted himself. Security officers pulled the assailant to the ground, as the president, visibly shaken, looked on. . . . Read More
Sixty-seven years ago today – June 6, 1944 – the decisive D-Day landings on the beaches of France took place. Over 160,000 Forces, led by American, British, Canadian and Free French Forces landed that day, in the largest amphibious invasion in history. What they accomplished that day set in motion the liberation of France and all the Nazi-enslaved nations of Europe. It would be nearly another year before the end of World War II in Europe, but the Allied Victory was sure after the successful D-Day Invasion.
The video above gives just a glimpse of that day, and the video below is of the speech President Ronald Reagan delivered on the 40th Anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1984 – one of Reagan’s greatest speeches:
Here is a video report from France on the ban now in effect on women wearing the full-face veil, or “burka.” France has implemented the ban as a security measure, and to try and facilitate Muslims assimilating into French society. But critics say it violates Muslims’ freedom of religion and expression.
This report is heavily slanted against the ban, but it does serve to show the deep divide in Europe over how to deal with the massive influx of Muslims into their countries from the Middle East and North Africa.
Here’s a report from CNN’s Jim Bittermann in Paris on the involvement of the French in the military action against the Gadhafi Regime.
The French are said to have “about 20 aircraft in the skies,” two frigates off the coast, and their only aircraft carrier – the Charles de Gaulle – headed for the coast of Libya. It is expected to be in position by tomorrow.
Here is video of French President Nicolas Sarkozy announcing that French warplanes have begun intervening to prevent Libyan Dictator Moammar Gadhafi from using aircraft and tanks to attack his own people. Sarkozy said Gadhafi has ignored the ceasefire, and has made further moves against his people.
“The future of Libya belongs to the Libyans,” Sarkozy said. But to prevent atrocities, he said allied powers along with Arab partners are intervening to give Libyans the chance to choose their own destiny.
MSNBC: French President Nicolas Sarkozy said allied air forces had gone into action on Saturday over Libya and were preventing Moammar Gadhafi’s forces from attacking the rebel city of Benghazi.
A French official said a French fighter jet had fired on a Libyan military vehicle, in a first reported strike in the international campaign to enforce a no-fly zone.
French Defense Ministry spokesman Thierry Burkhard said the strike was reported around 1645 GMT Saturday (12:45 pm ET). The target was confirmed as a military vehicle, but it was not clear what kind, Burkhard said. He said no hostile fire on the French jet had been reported.
At least four Libyan tanks were reportedly destroyed in the French strikes, Al Jazeera reported. . . . Read More
With the United Nations Security Council approving a no-fly zone over Libya – along with airstrikes – to stop Libyan Dictator Moammar Gadhafi, reports tonight indicate that the first airstrikes could happen within hours, and will likely be carried out by the British and the French:
BBC’s Mark Mardell: . . . . I am told the first strikes will be unilateral ones by British and French aircraft. They could be in the air within hours. It is likely five Arab air forces will take part. Hillary Clinton has said it will mean bombing Libyan air defences. Nato will step up if asked but could take a while. . . . . Read More
As we continue posting some of Ronald Reagan’s great speeches, my mind went immediately to his speech in 1984 delivered on June 6 – the 40th Anniversary of the Normandy D-Day invasion of France. I can remember watching this speech as it happened, and it still is inspiring and emotional to listen to. This was one of Reagan’s best.
A new poll this week is sending shock waves through France. It shows that far-Right candidate Marine Le Pen outpaces both French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist candidate Martine Aubrey. France will elect a new President in May 2012, and only the top two candidates make it to the final round of elections.
Le Pen has pushed a tougher line on Islamists in the country, a theme President Sarkozy has picked up on. The socialists seem concerned because it is possible only Le Pen and Sarkozy will make it through to the final round of voting, leaving their candidate out in the cold.
The poll is early, and the field of candidates is not really set yet, either. But this will be interesting to watch.
Here is video on French President Nicolas Sarkozy making the stern announcement to the people of French that Al-Qaeda’s execution of a 78-year old French hostage “will not go unpunished.” Al-Qaeda’s operation in North Africa executed the Frenchman following a failed rescue attempt there last week that left seven of the Islamic Jihadists dead.
France has finally essentially declared war on Al-Qaeda.
Here is raw video showing the desecration of British World War I graves at a cemetery in France. The graves were vandalized with bright pink paint used to paint Nazi Swastikas on 12 British graves, soldiers who were killed at the Battle of Loos in 1915:
AFP: Vandals daubed Nazi graffiti on British war graves in northern France, prompting a strong condemnation from President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday in a letter to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.
Police said they found swastikas and other graffiti including “SS” and an obscene drawing in pink paint on a dozen graves of British soldiers at the northern cemetery of Loos-en-Gohelle, the site of a major World War I battle.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission sent a special team to clean the graves.
Sarkozy expressed “indignation and consternation” in a letter to the queen, branding the desecrations “all the more revolting” since they came a week before he visits London for a commemoration of French resistance during World War II.
“I condemn with the greatest firmness this horrible act and ask you to pass on my feelings of sympathy and solidarity, and those of the French people, to the families concerned and to all of the British people,” Sarkozy wrote.
Numerous desecrations of Jewish, Muslim and German graves have been reported in France in recent years……… Read More