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Charlotte Fichou

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The Underpriviledged 'Ghosts' Haunting French Universities

Young people sign up for higher education solely for scholarship money, while officials turn a blind eye to those permanently absent from class. Is this a twisted way to buy social peace?

PERPIGNAN – The sociology exam started less than half an hour ago. In small groups of two or three, a continuous flood of students is leaving the University of Perpignan lecture hall n°4.

None of them answered any of the questions on the test. They only came in to sign the attendance sheet so that they could continue to be eligible for their scholarship. “We just sign and leave as quickly as possible," says one. "Here, we’re being paid to do nothing.”

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Israeli soldiers arrest an Israeli settler

The Israeli Vigilante Movement Spewing Hate In The West Bank

Cases of vandalism are multiplying against Arab villages and places of worship.

ABU GOSH - Standing in front of his house in this Arab-Israeli village west of Jerusalem, Ibrahim Hatem stares in disbelief: “I don’t understand. I am Israeli. I like this country. On my street, my neighbors are all Jewish.”

On June 18, Ibrahim Hatem became yet another victim of the “price tag” movement, which has been gaining momentum lately and performing acts of vandalism all over the country. In Abu Gosh, about 30 cars had their tires slashed during the night. Graffiti reading “Arabs out,” and “racism or assimilation” was spray-painted on the walls.

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What can you teach Europe?

Lessons For Old Europe From Japan's Shrinking Population

In Japanese schools, parents come and talk about the upside of starting a family. The number of places in day care centers is being expanded; on the walls, posters show male celebrities touting the advantages of being a dad. In view of demographic change, the Asian archipelago nation is trying all it can to get the message through: Have more kids.

Japan has been the first modern nation faced with an ageing, shrinking population -- and with the negative effects this has had on the economy. The country’s population is currently 127 million, but the Japanese National Institute of Population and Social Security Research says the number will have shrunk by 40 million in 2060.

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Follow The Trail Of The Worldwide Black Market

In most countries black-market work is not an exception, but the norm. A recent study comissioned by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) revealed that the shadow economy was booming. Illicit economic activities constitutes between 20 to 30% of GDP in many southern European countries.

An estimated two billion people work for this global black market, in every activity from trafficking arms to farming to construction.

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Who's the snitch?

Inside Jobs: How Cartel Busting In Europe Came To Resemble A Spy Thriller

BRUSSELS - You know, those spy movies of some bespectacled hero photographing secret files, looking up every few seconds to make sure there's not a burly KGB agent around.

One executive from the Degussa chemistry group found himself in such a scene in 2002, entering a fancy Zurich building with a camera in his hand, set to try to secretly collect as much evidence as possible that could save his company from European Commission sanctions.

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"Plaster Surrogates" by Allan McCollum

This Is Not An Article - How Journalism Has Gone Post-Modern


GENEVA - Have you ever heard of Dan Rollman? If so, you are spending way too much time on your computer – just like me.

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When Undocumented Immigrants Are Underage
Migrant Lives

When Undocumented Immigrants Are Underage

Like other countries, France faces a rising number of young people who arrive illegally into the country, without their parents or other family members. It poses unique questions.

AMIENS - In this French city, an hour north of Paris, the issue of underage undocumented immigrants has found a temporary solution, behind the discreet façade of a bourgeois house near the train station.

In this building, which looks like a guesthouse, the France Terre d’Asile organization (“France Land of Asylum”) started providing housing to 20 young undocumented immigrants last January. They are from Congo, Sudan or Guinea, and all of them arrived here alone, without parents, in the “little Venice of the North” as Amiens is called.

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Turn Down The Heat - Seven Cities Threatened By Climate Change

The World Bank has recently published a report entitled "Turn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts, and the Case for Resilience."

Rising sea levels, heat extremes, aridity, impacts on ecosystems... Unsurprisingly, the news is not so good on the climate front, and the experts are raising the alarm. In the first Turn Down the Heat report published last year, the World Bank concluded that the planet would gain 4°C by the end of the century if no action is taken. But in the next 20 to 30 years, the latest report notes that the world already could heat up by 2°C.

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Quotes Of The Week: Gillard, Putin, Azarenka... And More!

Take a tour of what the world has been saying this week...

Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng in 2011

As Rupert And Wendi Murdoch Split, China Flirts With Prenuptial Agreements

BEIJING - Rupert Murdoch has filed for divorce from his wife, Wendi Deng, and the Chinese media is watching with great attentioin whether their ambitious female compatriot is going to get her share of the cake from her fabulously rich ex-husband.

It's likely though that many will be disappointed since it was disclosed long ago that Murdoch and Deng had signed a prenuptial agreement, which was subsequently revised twice after they were married. Murdoch has submitted his divorce application in New York State because that is the U.S. state that accords the most weight to prenuptial accords.

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Supreme Court Ruling And Other Global Gay Marriage Milestones

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court has delivered a landmark victory for gay rights, by striking down the California law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

This ruling forces authorities to recognize same-sex weddings in states where it is authorized already, though it stops short of forcing the remaining 30 states to legalize it.

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