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January 30, 2014 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Despite the sunshine, gentle breezes and placid waters, something wicked this way comes in "Stranger by the Lake," French filmmaker Alain Guiraudie's tantalizingly erotic fable of love, passion and death. Though Guiraudie's work often circles around the complexities of sexual urges among gay men, he's never gotten as close to reality as he does in this film. At the same time, the writer-director casts a wide metaphorical net to examine that most fundamental human connection. Though the sex is fevered and explicit, the camera roaming over bodies with abandon, the questions raised are more abstract.
January 17, 2014
Re “How to torment telemarketers,” Business, Jan. 14 This column by David Lazarus about frustrating telemarketers inspired me to begin answering the phone in my native French. The first guy who called, from a company that usually calls several times a day, was so frustrated by my French that he quickly hung up. The second guy kept asking whether I spoke English, and I kept saying “Francais,” so with a loud sigh, he hung up too. My wife speaks Cantonese, so we're going to rotate the fun. Maybe we'll start having some peace and quiet now. Alain Jourdier Murrieta I certainly understand the frustration with telemarketers.
January 15, 2014 | Robin Abcarian
It's a sad day in France when the unmarried president spends the night with a woman who is not his girlfriend and sparks a national furor. Last week - as you have undoubtedly heard -  a salacious news story broke in the French press: The president cheated on his girlfriend! The French celebrity magazine, Closer, which broke the story, devoted seven pages to the scandal. Closer reported that Socialist President Francois Hollande, 59, was seen arriving at the apartment of French actress Julie Gayet, 41, by scooter late one evening.
January 14, 2014 | By Kim Willsher
PARIS -- French President Francois Hollande faced the press for nearly three hours on Tuesday but refused to answer questions about reports of an affair with an actress. Hollande said only that he and his partner, France's official First Lady Valerie Trierweiler, were going through a “difficult and painful period.” He insisted, “I have one principle, and that is private matters should be dealt with privately.” Trierweiler was admitted to hospital, reportedly suffering from shock and depression, after a celebrity magazine reported Friday on Hollande's alleged trysts with actress Julie Gayet.
January 13, 2014 | By Paul Whitefield
If President Obama were photographed coming and going from a younger woman's apartment at all hours of the day and night, would most Americans care? Uh, yeah. I mean, see Clinton, Bill, and Lewinsky, Monica. In France, though, President Francois Hollande is knee-deep in just such l'affaire , having been photographed coming and going from the apartment of a younger woman, actress Julie Gayet. PHOTO ESSAY: Chris Christie, President Obama and the 'ignorance is bliss' dodge And do the French care?
January 13, 2014 | By Kim Willsher
PARIS -- French President Francois Hollande is expected to use his traditional new year's news conference Tuesday to announce reforms to kick-start the country's economy, combat widespread unemployment and boost his lamentable popularity with the public. However, the event risks being hijacked by a very different affair of state that is dominating French headlines: the president's alleged trysts with an actress. Hollande's personal and political woes began Friday when a celebrity magazine published a seven-page "special report" complete with photographs of the president, 59, crossing Paris on the back of a scooter, apparently to rendezvous with 41-year-old actress Julie Gayet.
January 9, 2014 | By Kim Willsher
PARIS -- French judges ruled Thursday that a Kazakh billionaire and dissident accused of embezzling up to $6 billion in what is believed to be one of the world's largest fraud cases should be extradited to Russia or Ukraine. Both countries have demanded that Mukhtar Ablyazov, the former chief of Kazakhstan's BTA bank and a onetime government minister, be handed over to them to face charges of siphoning off bank funds between 2005 and 2009. Ablyazov, 50, denies the fraud allegations and claims he is the victim of political score settling after funding a pro-democracy party opposed to Kazakhstan's president, Nursultan Nazarbayev.
January 6, 2014 | By Christie D'Zurilla
David Copperfield has conjured up a fiancée! He and French model-designer Chloe Gosselin have been engaged for a while now, the illusionist revealed in a recent magazine interview. "I'm engaged and in a committed relationship with Chloe in my mind and my heart," Copperfield told Hello! , after being nudged about his reputation for dating the world's most beautiful women back in the 1990s. That era, which included six years with Claudia Schiffer, was "a long time ago," he said.
January 2, 2014 | By Robert Zaretsky
For food, fashion and fast trains, few labels are more sought after, and rightly so, than "Made in France. " But when it comes to the making and unmaking of empires, not so much. Take the case of the Central African Republic. Three weeks ago, as bloody mayhem engulfed the CAR, François Hollande did what French presidents do best: He sent in the paratroops. With the blessing, and precious little else, of his European neighbors, Hollande declared his intention to protect 100 or so French nationals in Bangui, the capital, and to disarm both the outlawed Seleka fighters, overwhelmingly Muslim, and the vigilante anti-balaka (or "machete")
December 30, 2013 | By Shan Li
France's constitutional court has approved a controversial "millionaire tax" proposed by the country's president that will levy taxes on companies that pay salaries north of 1 million euros (just under $1.4 million). Under President François Hollande's proposal, businesses will be required to pay 50% taxes on wages above the threshold for 2013 and 2014. The new tax, combined with already existing charges levied, amounts to about 75% of salaries above the cutoff mark. PHOTOS: Richest and poorest cities in America The measure falls in line of Hollande's campaign promises to push France's wealthy to extend a bigger hand to help the country out of its economic slump.
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