Stiff handshake: Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and French president Francois Hollande meet for bilateral talks before a summit to discuss the conflict in Ukraine in Paris. Photograph: Michel Euler/Reuters.

Timetable for Minsk accords delayed as local elections put on long finger

In this 2010 file photo, Syria president Bashar al-Assad addresses reporters following his meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France. Photograph: AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere

Vladimir Putin’s support has ensured the Syrian dictator’s survival, at least for now

“One must not write what is expected. It’s important for north African writers to show they have other things to say.” Leila Slimani, whose novel In the Garden of the Ogre has just won the Prix La Mamounia literary prize in Morocco. Photograph: C Hélie Gallimard

Moroccan author Leila Slimani has taken a bold step in writing about a bored woman addicted to sex at a time when publishers in th(...)

Ali al-Nimr’s father has appealed to the king for mercy after he lost his last high court appeal.  Photograph: Facebook

Ali al-Nimr (20) participated in protests against the Saudi government

French prime minister Manuel Valls during a parliamentary debate on Wednesday about the migration crisis. Photograph: EPA/Ian Langsdon

Divided public opinion explains why French politicians emphasise rules and the repression of traffickers as much as humanity

Prime minister Manuel Valls at the start of an extraordinary session on Syria on Tuesday: he said 1,880 French citizens or residents have joined IS. Photograph: Eric Feferbergeric/AFP

French air operations shift from reconnaissance missions to bombing raids on IS

French minister for foreign affairs Laurent Fabius. Photograph: Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images

Hamdallah met by French prime minister as UN votes to raise Palestinian flag outside HQ

French president François Hollande said: “It’s late. It may already be too late.” Photograph: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

The French are pulling out all the stops to ensure the COP21 is not a mere talking shop

French environment minister optimistic for agreement at COP 21, writes Lara Marlowe

François Hollande: “My responsibility is to make sure that we are as well informed as possible of the threats against our country.” Photograph: Christophe Morin/Bloomberg

François Hollande changes tactics in light of the ongoing IS crisis and Russian actions

Migrants and refugees cross the border between Greece and Macedonia near the town of Gevgelija on Friday. More than 230,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Greece by sea this year. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Tánaiste calls for ‘global solution’ to bring peace to migrants’ troubled homelands

Mayor of Lyons Gérard Collomb said he found Enda Kenny “very warm and straightforward and very engaged”. Photograph: courtesy of Gérard Collomb

Taoiseach admits Ireland may take 1,800 migrants during French economic visit

A migrant holds a sign in front of Keleti railway station in Budapest, Hungary. Photograph: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

Taoiseach says numbers to increase under EU deal

 Máire Whelan: Howlin insists Attorney General will not be used as scapegoat. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Nation would be ‘deeply wounded’ if Máire Whelan was lost, says Brendan Howlin

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said it is “not realistic” to set a figure immediately on the number of refugees Ireland can take. Photograph: Getty

Kenny says he instucted Minister Fitzgerald to attend crisis meeting with ‘flexible mind’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: Happy to debate Fennelly conclusions when Dáil resumes. Photograph: The Irish Times

Taoiseach reacts to criticism, alleging possible individual agendas with eye to publicity

Paris firefighters recover after extinguishing  a fire   in an apartment building in central Paris.  The fire killed eight people, including two children. Four people were also injured. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

Police hold man with criminal record after worst fire in city for decade

A Eurostar train waiting to cross to England, at the Calais-Frethun train station in northern France. Photograph: Getty Images

Helicopters search for migrants on train roofs, writes Lara Marlowe

French prime minister Manuel Valls at a migrants’ reception centre in Calais: a visit to “the jungle” was too great a security risk. Photograph: Denis Charlet/EPA

Franco-German entente provides new hope of a united EU policy

French prime minister Manuel Valls: “Migrants must be treated with dignity, lodged and cared for. Our duty is to find long-term solutions”. Photograph: Stephane Mahe/Reuters

Prime minister Valls and EU officials to visit Calais, including Jules Ferry camp

French riot police stand on the side of the road to prevent migrants from approaching lorries on the road leading to the ferry port in Calais, northern France. Photograph: AFP Photo

Code of silence prompted perhaps by a collective guilty conscience, and fear of strengthening the extreme right-wing National Fro(...)

UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius and Peruvian environment minister Manuel Pulgar Vidal in Paris yesterday. Photograph: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty

COP 21 officials urge world leaders to ‘look beyond national interests’

French president Hollande  after his speech during the annual gathering of French ambassadors at the Élysée Palace in Paris on August 25th. Photograph:  Philippe Wojazer / EPA/ Pool MaxPPP

French president’s overview of state of world long on observation, short on remedies

French President François Hollande (centre) with Briton Chris Norman and Americans Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos at the Élysée Palace in Paris yesterday. Photograph: Michel Euler/AFP/Getty Images

Moroccan denies jihadist motives despite being listed as radical Islamist

The cast of Le Pré aux Clercs, a co-production by Opéra Comique and Wexford Festival Opera. Photograph: Pierre Grosbois

Le Pré aux Clercs, a public garden in Paris where countless duels were fought in the 16th century, gives its name to one of the mo(...)

An image grab taken from a video shows alleged Islamic State leader  Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Mosul. Photograph: Al-Furqan Media/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Group combines medieval executions and slavery with Hollywood-worthy propaganda

Participants at the opening of the Summit of Conscience for the Climate in Paris. Photograph: Reuters/Etienne Laurent/Pool

With just four months until COP 21, negotiations plod on but the public are mobilising

Al-Qaeda: guerrillas at al-Farouq, in a video from June 2001; Mourad Benchellali ended up at the training camp. Photograph: AFP/Getty

Former Guantánamo inmate Mourad Benchellali now spends his spare time trying to dissuade wannabe jihadis in France from repeating (...)

President Michael D Higgins at the meeting of the Conseil Economique, Social et Environmental in Paris with former UN secretary general Kofi Annan. Photograph: Shane O’Neill/Fennell Photography

Michael D Higgins concentrates on ethical issues in first major address in Paris

The President of the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council Jean-Paul Delevoye greets Irish president Michael D Higgins upon his arrival to attend the Paris Summit of Conscience for the Climate. Photograph: Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images

President ‘appalled’ by reluctance of some EU members to resettle refugees

President Michael D Higgins  meets with HE Tony de Brum, Foreign Minister, Marshall Islands and Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States. Photograph: Shane O’Neill

Will call for new thinking on global warming and decry selfishness of state-led policies

Correspondence between French diplomats strongly suggests the complete remains of WB Yeats were not returned. Photograph: Getty Images

Recently discovered diplomatic archives allude to secret procedure

Diplomatic documents unearthed in France reveal bones sent by the French were not WB Yeats’s bones

French records suggest coffin sent to Ireland after poet’s death held others’ bones

France still has a mission to civilise the world, and is utterly convinced she is right

The French lifestyle still holds an allure that many don’t quite understand. Here, Lara Marlowe, rounds up some life lessons learn(...)

‘Flamby’ no more: France’s president, Francois Hollande,  in Brussels on Monday. Photograph: Ian Langdson/EPA

Keeping Greece in the euro is a domestic and foreign policy victory for France’s president

French ecology minister Ségolène Royal has already become a central figure in the presidency of her former partner François Hollande. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

It’s taken 10 years but the former partner of Francois Hollande is once again combative, energetic and engaged at the heart of (...)

Historic Catholic cathedral  Notre Dame de Paris: the controversy over using French churches as mosques is polarising politicians, intellectuals and media

Suggestion by Muslim leader Boubakeur raises an outcry

Deal to be done?: a student protests in Tehran in support of Iran’s nuclear programme. Photograph: Atta Kenare/AFP

Deal would be Barack Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement

French prime minister Manuel Valls delivers a government statement on Greece at the National Assembly in Paris. France would do all it could to keep Greece in the euro zone, he said on Wednesday. Photograph: Jacky Naegelen/Reuters

Left and right at loggerheads in National Assembly over Greek crisis

German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president François Hollande speak to the press at the Elysée Palace in Paris, yesterday. Photograph: Bertrand Guay/Getty Images

Tension evident between the French wish to negotiate and German impatience

 A woman looks at flowers laid on Marhaba beach in Sousse, where 38 people were killed in last Friday’s terror attack, on June 30th, 2015 in Sousse, Tunisia. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Tunisian official says assassin was at Islamic State camp with Bardo museum gunmen

Empty sunloungers on the beach near the RIU Imperial Marhaba hotel in Sousse, Tunisia, June 30th, 2015. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Few regret 2011 exit of Tunisian dictator, but some recall his tougher police methods

  Seifeddine Rezgui:  killed 38 people in the Tunisian beach resort of Sousse on Friday. Photograph: AP

Authorities examine possibility Seifeddine Rezgui may have travelled to Libya for training

British home secretary Theresa May, Tunisian interior minister Mohamed Najem Gharsalli, German interior minister Thomas de Maizière and French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve give a press conference in the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Port el Kantaoui, on the outskirts of Sousse. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images

British, French, German and Tunisian ministers condemn Islamic State

Flowers and tributes  left at Marhaba beach near to where 38 people were killed on Friday.  Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Surprising number of tourists remain in country despite the slaughter

This image released through social media accounts associated with Islamic State  purports to show Tunisian Seifeddine Rezgui who is believed to be the gunman who killed at least 39 people in the holiday resort of Sousse.  More than 30 people were wounded in the attack. Photograph via EPA/HO

Gunmen targeted foreigners, telling Tunisians in his path to ‘get away’

Laurence (Larry) Hayes, who died during the Tunisian shootings this week

Minister for Foreign Affairs says no reason to believe there are further Irish victims

Police lead away an unidentified woman as they search Yassin Salhi’s home in Saint-Priest, near Lyon. Photograph: Richard Mouillaud/EPA

Neighbours near Lyons describe Yassin Salhi (35) as a quiet, discreet man

Lorna Carty, from Co Meath, who was  killed in a terrorist attack at a resort in Tunisia.

Lorna Carty, from Robinstown, Co Meath, shot dead in assault on beach at Sousse resort

French police cordon off the area where a decapitated body was  found near the Air Products company, in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier. Photograph: AFP

In Syria and Iraq, Islamic State displays the heads of its victims in this way

Dominique Cottrez (51) appears in the courtroom of Douai, northern France, accused of multiple counts of first-degree murder of minors. Photograph: Michel Spingler/AP Photo

Dominique Cottrez feared her eight babies were the result of incest, writes Lara Marlowe

French President François Hollande meets with parliamentarians at the Elysée Palace in Paris after revelations of US spying on French presidents. Photograph: Charles Platiau/AFP/Getty Images

Politicians express indignation, real or feigned, at NSA intelligence gathering

rench foreign minister Laurent Fabius held a meeting on the proposal with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, the West Bank, on Sunday. Photograph: Thomas Coex/EPA

Aim of initiative is to set deadline for completing a two-state solution

In 2005, the clothes company Marithé et François Girbaud hung a 400sq m poster of fashion models imitating the apostles in Leonardo’s Last Supper (above) at a busy intersection. A Catholic association sued on the grounds that it was offensive to Catholics.

Supreme court judge Anne-Elisabeth Credeville criticised law on 'defending terrorism' *

French president Francois Hollande speaks to journalists upon his arrival in Algiers. Paris and Algiers are enjoying a period of exceptionally good relations. Photograph: Zohra Bensemra/Reuters

Hollande and Bouteflika meet in Algiers after death of militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar

Former IMF director  Dominique Strauss-Kahnleaves his apartment in Paris yesterday. Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Former IMF director’s behaviour was that of a ‘client’, says judge, dismissing charges

Ambassador Geraldine Byrne-Nason (in purple, front row) with Senator Helene Conway-Mouret (on her left) and guest of honour Marie-Christine Saragosse (to her right). Photograph: Lara Marlowe

Ambassador Geraldine Byrne-Nason began a network when she arrived in Paris

Paul McGuinness has turned to TV, joining forces with John Banville and Neil Jordan to make a crime series based on the French Riv(...)

 Nicolas Hulot, the French president’s envoy, said there was a new awareness on the part of the world’s two biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Photograph: Frederic Stevens/Getty Images

Paris gathering in December has raised hopes leaders will at last make a serious move towards a decarbonised world

The OECD did not say which measures it would favour to stop the property market overheating. Photographer: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Organisation calls for action to ‘prevent investors becoming excessively exposed’

US deputy secretary of state Antony J Blinken gives a joint press conference following a meeting with foreign affairs members of the anti-Islamic State coalition in Paris on Tuesday. Photograph: AFP Photo/ Stephane De Sakutin

Coalition of 24 nations against Islamic State puts brave face on divisions in Paris

Nicolas Sarkozy arrives at UMP party headquarters in Paris. The 212,000 members of the party will vote on the party’s statute and new name. Photograph: Stephane de Sakutin/Afp/Getty Images

By changing party name, the former president wants to bury disastrous past

 British prime minster David Cameron is welcomed by Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte at the Catshuis residence  in The Hague. The meeting with Mr Rutte, an ally, was expected to go smoothly. Photograph: Getty Images

France’s foreign minister Laurent Fabius says British referendum is ‘dangerous’

The “survivors’ issue” of Charlie Hebdo sold eight million copies worldwide, and the wave of post-massacre sympathy brought 270,000 subscriptions. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Satirical’s survivors are traumatised, threatened and at odds with each other

French secondary school teachers take part in a demonstration against  curriculum reforms in Paris. Photograph: Yoan Valat

Demonstrators carry placards saying ‘Bring back our Latin and Greek’

Emmanuel Todd has built his career as an author and public intellectual on a combination of scientific analysis, opinion and provocation. In 1976, he foretold the fall of the Soviet Union, 15 years before it occurred. Photograph: Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images

Emmanuel Todd says interior minister should be held responsible for January attacks

French ecology minister Segolene Royal: recently accompanied François Hollande on a five-day official trip to the Caribbean. Photograph: Pascal Pochard-Casabianca/AFP/Getty Images

Through state roles, interviews and film launches, all the president’s women live in public

Detail from ‘Dancers Resting’ by Edgar Degas: ‘The dancers’ faces are simian masks.’ Heritage Foundation, Lausanne

Although seen as an Impressionist, the painter was never comfortable with the term and even derided its proponents

Thomas Piketty: “Euro zone finance ministers have been meeting every other week for the past four months to discuss Greece, and nobody knows what they’ve done or what they are talking about. We are just losing time.”

Economist Thomas Piketty says euro zone is wasting valuable time in the Greek crisis

Sétif, 300km east of Algiers, in  about 1930, where a protest sparked the massacre of thousands in 1945. Photograph: Roger Viollet/Getty Images/CAP

Second World War marked the beginning of the end of France’s colonial empire

National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen sings at the foot of a statue of Joan of Arc during the party’s annual rally In Paris on May 1st. Photograph: Thomas Samson/AFP

Some 87 per cent of National Front voters want party founder to retire

Aristocrat?: Guglielmo Alberto Wladimiro Alessandro Apollinare de Kostrowitzky, aka Guillaume Apollinaire, with his fiancee, Madeleine Pagès, in 1916. Photograph: Mondadori Portfolio via Getty

Guillaume Apollinaire, France’s most acclaimed war poet, who was born in Rome to a Polish noblewoman, survived the trenches of the(...)

France’s far-right National Front political party founder and honorary president Jean-Marie Le Pen leaving the  party’s   headquarters in Nanterre near Paris. Photograph: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

Party founder angered daughter Marine Le Pen with contentious comments in interview

French National Front leader Marine Le Pen’s anti-EU and anti-immigration May Day rally speech in Paris  was interrupted by her father, the party’s founder and honorary president Jean-Marie Le Pen. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images

National Front leader’s attempts to legitimse party are an uphill battle

French president Francois Hollande: said would “make an example” of up to 16 French soldiers if allegations contained in a United Nations report leaked to a newspaper prove true

Claims French soldiers sexually abusing children in Central African Republic

Velázquez’s only surviving nude: Toilet of Venus (1647-51). Photograph © National Gallery, London/Réunion des Musées Nationaux

The Spanish master’s portraits of royal children were dispatched to European capitals to curry marriage possibilities. But the ‘(...)

French prime minister Manuel Valls says the Irish economic performance is “good news for Ireland and it’s very good news for Europe”. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Mediterranean crisis hung over meeting with Taoiseach, writes Lara Marlowe

French Ambassador to Ireland Jean Pierre Thebault with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls outside the new French embassy on Merrion Square in Dublin yesterday. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Talks will center on the economy, agriculture, the British EU exit and Greece

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls inaugurating the new French embassy with Tánaiste Joan Burton at Merrion Square in Dublin yesterday. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Prime Minister and Tánaiste celebrate “unwavering friendship” between two countries

Though his presidential ambitions are well known, French prime minister Manuel Valls has been faultlessly loyal to President François Hollande. Photograph: Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images

Strong state to ‘provide security . . . to run our healthcare system’, says prime minister

The Hotel-Dieu hospital where Sid-Ahmed Ghlam, a computer science student suspected of plotting attacks on churches and murdering a young French woman, is undergoing police questioning in Paris. Photograph: Yoan Valat/EPA

Student with links to al-Qaeda arrested on suspicion of terrorist plot and murder

France’s President Francois Hollande (left)  with French diplomat Laurent Stefanini. File photograph: Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images

Holy See yet to confirm Laurent Stefanini posting three months after appointment

 French   National Front leader Marine Le Pen is kissed by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen after she was   re-elected as president of the party. The party  is in “an unprecedented crisis”, Ms Le Pen told ‘Le Monde’. Photograph: Laurent Cipriani/AP

Marine Le Pen accuses her National Front-founder father of ‘political suicide’

Marseilles prosecutor Brice Robin: Forensic scientists have isolated 150 DNA profiles from more than 2,000 samples collected at the crash site.  Photograph: Boris Horvat/AFP/Getty Images

Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz accelerated for maximum impact on descent to French Alps

Ian Bailey leaving the High Court after losing his case against An Garda Síochána and the State. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Jury dismisses claim gardaí conspired to implicate Bailey in death of Toscan du Plantier

Pictured at their home in Paris are Marguerite and Georges Bouniol, parents of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Family’s lawyer predicts ‘new impetus’ in criminal investigation

Andreas Lubitz runs the Airportrace half marathon in Hamburg in this September 13th, 2009 file photo. Photograph: Reuters/Foto-Team-Mueller

The Germanwings pilot who flew 149 people to their deaths was an apparently normal, apolitical 27-year-old. The reasons for his ac(...)

French gendarmes and investigators work amid the debris of the Germanwings Airbus A320

The cockpit recording indicates a deliberate act by co-pilot, says French prosecutor

Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz on his (now blocked) Facebook page in San Francisco, California. He barricaded himself in the cockpit and “intentionally” rammed the plane full speed into a mountain on Tuesday, ignoring the captain’s frantic pounding on the cockpit door and the screams of terror from passengers. Photograph: AP Photo

German police search bungalow in Rhineland town where Lubitz lived with his parents

A search and rescue worker at the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 that crashed in the French Alps, above the town of Seyne-les-Alpes, southeastern France. Photograph: EPA

European leaders demonstrate solidarity as alpine valley awaits bodies and the families of victims, writes Lara Marlowe

Tunisia’s culture minister Latifa Lakhdar: “The jihadist idea that religion should rule politics is a model that never existed.” Photograph: Anis Mili/Reuters

Latifa Lakhdar to unveil memorial to Tunis museum massacre victims

M’Barka Brahmi, who heard her husband Mohamed being shot as he left their house: ‘I ran out screaming, “Ennahda killed him”.’

Politician shot outside his home had opposed training of local youths for Syria and Libya

Self-Portrait With Two Circles: the circles on the wall behind Rembrandt are a mystery but may allude to a Renaissance theory that the ability to draw a perfect circle freehand was the mark of a great artist. Photograph: Kenwood House/Rijksmuseum

‘Late Rembrandt’, at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, shows that the great Dutch painter was also centuries ahead of his time

A Tunisian policeman stands guard at Bourguiba Avenue in the capital of Tunis during a celebration to commemorate Tunisia’s national independence day yesterday. Photograph: Reuters/Anis Mili

Tunis refuses to declare national day of mourning in aftermath of attacks

Hospital personnel and medical students protest French government reform which seeks to modify payment and social security reimbursement methods for consultations. Photograph: EPA/Ian Langsdon.

Minister believes Ireland is not beginning a new property boom

A Tunisian woman holds a placard reading:  “No to terrorism. We will no longer remain silent for the death of our children” outside the National Bardo Museum in Tunis. Photograph: Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty

Sorrow, anger and defiance in response to the jihadist attack on Bardo museum

Roses  on bloodstains in front of the National Bardo Museum in Tunis. Photograph: Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images

Tunisian officials say more than 3,000 young men have gone to fight with IS in Syria

 Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton: “That’s the worst feature of this, that by failing to report and to take appropriate action, that someone else who’s entirely innocent gets exposed to risk.”

‘Expectation’ all information from internal investigations would be turned over, says Bruton

In the spirit of St Patrick’s Day: Edinburgh Castle in Scotland. Photograph: Gareth Easton/PA

From Brussels to Melbourne, St Patrick’s Day is celebrated in style across the globe

The rector of the mosque of Bordeaux, Tareq Oubrou, looks on during a speech by the French interior minister in February. Getty Images

French government reliance on establishment imams misguided, writes Lara Marlowe

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