French president François Hollande: a strong majority of voters want neither him  nor his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy to be candidates next year but both fight on. Photograph: Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images

One year before the first round of the French presidential election, clear favourites have emerged from the ruling socialist and opposition Les Républ(...)

Masked Palestinian Hamas militants watch the televised speech of US President Barack Obama in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip in 2009. AP Photo/Eyad Baba

The horrendous last five years in the Middle East started with joy at the fall of dictators in Tunis and Cairo. Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali’s flight to (...)

Sex workers protest against the  parliamentary vote to enforce the penalisation of solicitation, near the French parliament in Paris. Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA

France is to make it illegal to pay for sex after MPs finally approved a new legislation on prostitution following more than two years of rows and op(...)

Manchester City were taken over by Sheikh Mansour in 2008. Photograph: Getty

The multi-layered significance of Manchester City lining up against Paris Saint-Germain at a glittering Parc des Princes in the Champions League quart(...)

In wide-ranging interviews with the Atlantic magazine, US president Barack Obama likened Islamic State to the Joker in The Dark Knight, the 2008 Batman movie. The Middle East, Mr Obama said, was like Gotham, a corrupt metropolis controlled by a cartel of thugs. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

US president Barack Obama believes that Saudi Arabia, one of America’s most important allies in the Middle East, needs to learn how to “share” the reg(...)

Students protest on Wednesday over Francois Hollande’s plan to amend the 35-hour working week. Photograph: Caroline Blumberg/EPA

Tens of thousands of people have protested across France against President Francois Hollande’s bid to achieve what his conservative predecessor did no(...)

Taxi drivers protest over Uber, near the Etoile in Paris in January. Photograph:  Thomas Samson/Reuters/AFP

A US company using state-of- the-art technology sets up in France, provides work for 12,000 men and fulfils a vital public need. You might think it (...)

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy leaves  the  Paris court house:He  has repeatedly denied knowledge of   some €18 million in false invoices issued by the Bygmalion event organisation company that meant his campaign costs were more than double the legal limit. Photograph:  Geoffroy van der Hasselt/AFP/Getty

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was placed under investigation on Tuesday in a scandal over irregularities in his 2012 re-election campaign fi(...)

French foreign affairs minister Laurent Fabius (bottom left) reacts as deputies applaud  at the National Assembly in Paris on Wednesday.  Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

The National Assembly approved French president François Hollande’s constitutional revision on Wednesday by a vote of 317 deputies for, 199 against a(...)

A lot of nerve: Bruno Le Maire and  Nicolas Sarkozy. Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

For such a polite, well-bred young man, Bruno Le Maire has a lot of nerve. The conservative deputy in the National Assembly, a former high-ranking civ(...)