Socialist Showdown

France's next presidential election isn't until 2012, but Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë is already bidding to be the candidate of change. Delanoë claims in a new book ("Audacity") to be both "socialist and liberal." That can be an oxymoron on the French left, where some use "ultraliberal" as a slur for unbridled capitalism. Delanoë plays up his private-sector credentials as a former consultant and chides Socialists to stop battling "bogeymen" like "flexibility" and "competition."Not that...

Can It Sink "Titanic"?

"Bienvenue Chez les Ch'tis" is a small comedy packed with an obscure dialect. It's about to become the biggest movie in France—ever.

Sarkozy's Nouveau Style

Re-presidentialization. De-bling-bling-ation. To hear spectators on both sides of the channel tell it, you'd think French President Nicolas Sarkozy's trip to Britain last week was less state visit and more celebrity detox. After his setback in municipal elections last month, the splashy leader is trading in his aviators and luxury watches for a different sort of look—solemn, with a mien of gravitas. More, er, presidential.Since actions speak louder than sunglasses, Sarkozy backed up his style...

How Sarkozy Exercises Power

It's not that President Sarkozy has too much power. It's that he uses what power he has to make hasty decisions without consulting others, says former Elysee speechwriter and Erik Orsenna.

Bertrand Delanoë: A Politician With A Joie De Vivre Platform

Bertrand Delanoë put the party back in Paris. The city's Socialist mayor turned a place derided as a "museum" into the world's suggestion box for popular festivals. He cracked down on cars and reversed the city's scourge of, in city-hall parlance, "canine dejections." And in the process, he became one of France's most popular political figures, ranking well ahead of presidential runner-up Ségolène Royal in a Paris Match poll.Anticipation is now building over a Delanoë-Royal showdown for the...

Christine Lagarde: An American (Style) in Paris

Christine Lagarde is a French powerhouse with an American sensibility. A former head of the global law firm Baker & McKenzie in Chicago, she is now the Finance minister of France—the first woman to hold that post in any G7 country. Helping President Nicolas Sarkozy dial back the 35-hour workweek and other perks of the cushy French labor market has put her on the front line just as unions shut down transport nationwide on Oct. 18. NEWSWEEK's Tracy McNicoll caught up with Lagarde in suburban...

Exonerating Europe's 'Last Witch'

In the 18th century, supposedly enlightened Europeans beheaded the continent's 'last witch.' Now Anna Göldi is celebrated with a new museum and an effort to clear her name.

4 hours in…Leipzig, Germany

Once East Germany's hotbed of culture and resistance, this eclectic and energetic city is worth a look, however brief.Listen to the 800-year-old Thomanerchor boys' choir in the St. Thomas Lutheran Church, where Bach spent the last 27 years of his life as cantor (Thomaskirchhof 18).Visit the Museum in der"Runden Ecke," the eerie Stasi museum housed in the former East German state security ministry's district headquarters. The sophisticated tools of state surveillance on display are chilling...

Mme. Sarkozy Shines As First Lady

France's scene-stealing new First Lady made a spectacular foray into geopolitics last month with her controversial role in the liberation of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor from a Libyan prison. Her actual influence in ending the eight-year ordeal remains ambiguous: "She was lucky," Saif al-Islam Qadhafi, the Libyan leader's son, told NEWSWEEK. Lucky or not, after two trips to Libya and a long conversation with the man who was once the most roguish of state leaders in his Bedouin...

France: Sarko's Eclectic Economics

New French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been labeled a free-market fan, a shameless interventionist and a spendthrift opportunist. So which of the labels fit? All of them. Sarkozy's economics are nothing if not eclectic. But in spite of that, or perhaps because of it, the new president has a better chance of galvanizing growth than any leader in decades. With a 65 percent approval rating, Sarkozy neared war hero Gen. Charles de Gaulle's record Inaugural score. Consumer confidence leapt to a...

France: Another Win for Sarkozy

Was it only six weeks ago that political suspense reigned in Paris cafés? Could conservative Nicolas Sarkozy really win the nation's highest office? People wondered if he might be thwarted by the Socialists' comely comer, Ségolène Royal. Or perhaps even trumped by the engaging centrist François Bayrou? Well, no. And since Sarko's triumph on May 6, this take-charge kind of guy has, yes, taken charge. In the first round of legislative elections yesterday, his UMP party steamrollered much of...

Beyond British Petroleum

The side wall of Hurricane Katrina's eye passed directly over Shell Exploration & Production's Mars Tension Leg Platform, the largest producer in the Gulf of Mexico, battering it with waves 120 feet high and winds of 170mph for four hours. All told, the gulf hurricanes inflicted $300 million of damage to Shell's offshore operations in 2005. But there was a silver lining. The hurricanes prompted Shell to make redesigns, including higher decks and new materials, to protect platforms from extreme...

Algeria Bombings Raise Terror Fears in Europe

Just five months ago, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika boasted proudly that his country had "definitively beaten" terrorism. On Wednesday, though, his country suffered a painful return to the past. Three coordinated bombs exploded in deadly symmetry in and around Algiers around 10.45 a.m. local time, leaving at least 24 dead and more than 200 injured. One attack, a possible assassination attempt on Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem, wrecked his government offices; another hit a police...

Q&A: Valery Giscard d'Estaing 

Former French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing presided over the European constitution his compatriots rejected in a 2005 referendum. But at 81, he is still fighting for the European project. One of Europe's foremost architects sat down with NEWSWEEK's Tracy McNicoll at his Paris home to discuss the state of the Union. Excerpts: MCNICOLL: So the EU is 50. What's going well, what isn't? GISCARD D'ESTAING: Fifty years isn't very long. Until 1985 or so, we did what we wanted....

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