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French Far-Right Fail, Historic Climate Deal, Star Wars Premiere

French Far-Right Fail, Historic Climate Deal, Star Wars Premiere


Marine Le Pen and her far-right National Front party failed to win even one of France's 13 regions in yesterday's second round of elections, despite finishing first in almost half of them a week ago. It was ultimately the victim of alliances formed by other parties and of higher voter turnout, Le Monde reports. But it wasn't a total loss for the nationalist, anti-immigration and eurosceptic party, which still won more votes than it ever has — 6.82 million — tripling its number of regional counselors, which could help Le Pen build a stronger base for the 2017 presidential election. The center-right coalition, led by former President Nicolas Sarkozy's Republican party, won seven regions, but Le Monde writes that huge gaps remain inside Sarkozy's party and that a tough battle for leadership win now begin ahead of presidential primaries.

Here's how four French dailies covered the results Monday.


Photo: Li Genxing/Xinhua/ZUMA

Representatives from 196 countries, gathered in Paris for the now-concluded COP21 global climate summit, reached an "historic" agreement Saturday to keep global warming to "well below" 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. "This a major leap for mankind," French President François Hollande said, warning that "we will not be judged on a word, but on an act." The deal, which U.S. President Barack Obama described as "the best chance we have to save the only planet that we've got," also promises to raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to help poorer countries adapt their economies to sustainable energies. But delegates fell short of imposing a carbon emissions ceiling, with critics saying that targets can't be reached with the current pledges on emission reductions.


A French kindergarten teacher was stabbed in the throat and side inside his classroom early this morning before school began, Le Figaro reports. The assault happened in Aubervilliers, a northeastern suburb of Paris, where the attacker shouted the Arabic acronym for ISIS ("Daesh") before escaping. The male teacher was hospitalized, but his wounds aren't life-threatening.


Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has taken the lead over fellow Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Iowa, with a Fox News poll showing 28% support for him among likely GOP caucus-goers, to Trump's 26%. Support for Cruz is even higher among the "very conservative," 42%, almost twice as Trump's. But most still believe Trump is more likely to defeat Clinton, the frontrunner among Iowa Democrats.


Tensions between Russia and Turkey remained high over the weekend, as a Russian warship was "forced" to fire warning shots at a Turkish cargo vessel to avoid a collision in the northern Aegean Sea, Sputnik News reports. The two countries have been at odds since last month, when Turkey shot down a Russian warplane it claimed had violated its airspace.



Egyptian authorities said today that they have found no evidence that the Oct. 31 crash of a Russian plane in the Sinai was an act of terrorism, a claim that contradicts both the U.S. and Russian versions of the incident that killed all 224 passengers. Read more from Reuters.


Hong Kong's insatiable appetite for seafood and its role as a hub for the global seafood trade is having an unfortunate impact on endangered fish species, Portal KBR reports. "Activists have been trying to educate consumers, and are encouraging them to be more careful about the seafood they buy. Allen To, who works in the Hong Kong offices of the World Wildlife Fund, monitors local imports and consumption of endangered seafood species. He says per capita consumption of seafood in Hong Kong is second in Asia and seventh in the world."

Read the full article, Hong Kong's Seafood Appetite Threatens Marine Species.


Diplomats from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the U.S., who gathered in Rome, agreed to a plan that calls for a ceasefire and national unity in war-ravaged Libya, where the ISIS threat is growing, The Washington Post reports. Libya has been engulfed in chaos since the fall and death of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and has largely become "a vacuum filled by terrorists," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said. The two rival governments, one internationally recognized and the other backed by Islamists in Tripoli, are expected to meet Wednesday in Morocco to sign the deal.


"We took on board the concerns of the people who are worried about the future, and this means we want to reduce — we want to drastically decrease — the number of people coming to us," German Chancellor Angela Merkel told state broadcaster ARD yesterday, after her country has welcomed more than 1 million refugees this year. But she explained that there would be no national cap on the number of migrants entering Germany. Merkel's open-door policy has cost her some political support and created divisions within her party. Her comments came on the eve of a two-day party conference during which she'll face a "vote of confidence."


Early results from yesterday's Saudi Arabian elections show that at least 13 women won seats in local councils, Gulf News reports. The election was the first in which women were allowed to run as candidates in the oil-rich kingdom.


Conquering the South Pole and evading flying shoes. Only in On This Day, your 57-second shot of history.


The countdown for the world premiere of the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, is reaching its final hours, which means that fans who've been camping on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, where it will be screened tonight in a few theaters, will soon be able to resume a normal life.

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U.S., France, Israel: How Three Model Democracies Are Coming Unglued

France, Israel, United States: these three democracies all face their own distinct problems. But these problems are revealing disturbing cracks in society that pose a real danger to hard-earned progress that won't be easily regained.

Image of a crowd of protestors holding Israeli flags and a woman speaking into a megaphone

Israeli anti-government protesters take to the streets in Tel-Aviv, after Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Defence Minister Yoav Galant.

Dominique Moïsi

"I'd rather be a Russian than a Democrat," reads the t-shirt of a Republican Party supporter in the U.S.

"We need to bring the French economy to its knees," announces the leader of the French union Confédération Générale du Travail.

"Let's end the power of the Supreme Court filled with leftist and pro-Palestinian Ashkenazis," say Israeli government cabinet ministers pushing extreme judicial reforms

The United States, France, Israel: three countries, three continents, three situations that have nothing to do with each other. But each country appears to be on the edge of a nervous breakdown of what seemed like solid democracies.

How can we explain these political excesses, irrational proclamations, even suicidal tendencies?

The answer seems simple: in the United States, in France, in Israel — far from an exhaustive list — democracy is facing the challenge of society's ever-greater polarization. We can manage the competition of ideas and opposing interests. But how to respond to rage, even hatred, borne of a sense of injustice and humiliation?

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