Charles Aznavour, French singing star, dies at 94

French singer and songwriter Charles Aznavour has died at 94 after a career lasting more than 80 years, a spokesman has confirmed.

The star died at one of his homes in the south east of France.

The performer, born to Armenian immigrants, sold more than 180 million records and featured in over 60 films.

He was best known for his 1974 hit She and was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2017. Aznavour married three times and had six children.

He was named entertainer of the century by CNN in 1998.

The singer was born in Paris in 1924 to Armenian parents who fled the country's genocide to begin a new life in the French capital.

Aznavour's lyrics drew on his own experiences of growing up in deprivation as an immigrant.

The singer was due to take on a seven-date tour across France and Switzerland, starting in November this year.

He had recently returned from a tour in Japan, having been forced to cancel concerts this summer due to a broken arm.

He recorded more than 1,200 songs in seven different languages and performed in 94 countries.

Aznavour's song She was famously performed by Elvis Costello in the opening credits of Richard Curtis' film Notting Hill.

Dubbed France's Frank Sinatra, Aznavour wrote his own songs on taboo subjects about marriage, homosexuality and male expression of emotions.

His 1973 hit, What Makes a Man, was about a gay transvestite.

Still performing to packed stadiums well into his 90s, Aznavour continued to write songs about his life, including his Swedish wife to celebrate 50 years of marriage.

As well as a singer, he was a successful actor and played the lead in the 1960 film Shoot the Piano Player.

He also appeared in the Oscar-winning The Tin Drum, playing a kindly Jewish toy seller.

Aznavour sang for presidents, popes and royal families and at a number of humanitarian events.

President Emmanuel Macron was a big fan of Aznavour and sang many of his songs during karaoke nights with friends when he was a student, according to former classmates.

He was heavily involved in charity work and founded an organisation after the 1988 Armenian earthquake with friend Levon Sayan.

In 2009 he was appointed ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland and he also became Armenia's delegate to the United Nations in Geneva.

Thousands of fans from around the world have paid their respects on Twitter, including some celebrities.

Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan remembered the singer as an "intelligent, eloquent, graceful & charming man."

@piersmorgan RIP Charles Aznavour, 94.

One of the greatest singers the world has seen & such an intelligent, eloquent, graceful & charming man.
Meeting & interviewing him a few months ago was a wonderful experience.
He was everything I hoped he would be.
What a life.
Merci, Maestro.

Musician Reverend Richard Coles suggested that Aznavour was a "better singer" than Sinatra:

BBC 6 Music's Gilles Peterson shared one of his favourite songs by the singer, Hier Encore:

@gillespeterson I grew up with this man's music in the house... Charles Aznavour RIP 
  • Published in Culture

Ahed Tamimi Finally Travels to France Despite Israeli Obstacles

Ahed Tamimi, the resistance teen icon from Palestine traveled to France Friday for an event where she asked people to support the Palestinian cause and to boycott Israel.

Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian resistance icon, traveled to France for a debate on Friday. The young resistance leader was invited by L'Humanité and the French Communist party, or PCF, to participate in an event organized by Association France Palestine Solidarite.

RELATED: 'I Want Palestine to be Free:' Ahed Tamimi to teleSUR

Ahed spoke Sunday at the Festival of Humanity which is organized annually by the PCF, at La Courneuve in Seine-Saint-Denis. "I want to say to Trump that Jerusalem will remain the capital of Palestine”, Ahed Tamimi said in reference to the decision of the U.S. president to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv, addressing thousands of people who attended the last day of the event.

“The Palestinian refugees, we do not need the money of the Americans, but to return to our land” and find “our dignity”, she added. “We must be united in the face of the occupation.”

She went on to describe her own experience as a young Palestinian under Israeli brutal occupation. “When you’re a young Palestinian who is 17 years old today, you suffer on a daily basis the practices of the Israeli occupation ... even Palestinian children are arrested at checkpoints and Israeli-controlled”.

The Palestinian people, Ahed concluded, "we are not victims, we are fighters for freedom.” 

The 17-year-old teenager from Nabi Saleh village in the occupied West Bank was jailed for eight months for slapping two Israeli occupation soldiers who were harassing her family at their home's yard. Her action in December last year was recorded and went viral on social media. attracting applause from the supporters of Palestinian resistance globally, while also infuriating Israelis some of whom asked for her to be shot and killed.

Ahed and her mother Nariman, both had been jailed in an Israeli prison since December 2017 before receiving a few weeks early release in late July.

Ahed received a warm welcome from the people gathered at the event in France where she talked about how her life has changed during her imprisonment. The young resistance icon doesn't regret her actions and said that prison helped her to be more mature. Immediately after her release, while speaking to media, she said she and her other inmates studied international law in the prison.

Speaking to RT during her trip in France, the young Palestinian activist said that despite being released she does not think that she is out of trouble as each of her words can be used against her and land her in prison again.

She further called for boycotting Israel and asked people to spread the truth about the suffering of Palestinians due to Israeli occupation.

The news of her France visit comes just a week after she was informed by Palestinian authorities that she was not allowed to leave the country due to an Israeli ban on her and her family from doing so. Her father had said that they were not given any definite reason for the ban.

Ahed is now expected to travel through Europe to talk about Palestine’s resistance and her time in Israeli prison. Her next stop will be in Spain to participate in more solidarity events.

  • Published in World

French Citizens Condemn US Blockade on Cuba

Paris, Sep 16 (Prensa Latina) The solidarity organization ''Cuba Si France'' turned its stand at the L''Humanite Festival into a platform to reject the blockade imposed by the United States on the Caribbean island, which is still in force today.

'Many people are confused and think that the blockade ended. But we should clarify that this hostile policy is not only maintained, but tightened, and creates every day more difficulties for the economic development of the island,' the French lawmaker Andres Chassaigne said.

Chassaigne, who is the honorary president of Cuba Si France, also condemned the extraterritorial nature of this economic, commercial and financial siege, which affects Cuba's relations with the rest of the world.

The president of the association, Charlie Bouhana, reaffirmed the support for the Cuban people in their fight against the blockade.

He stated that despite the difficulties caused by Washington's policy, 'Cuba continues to write its own history,' in which 'the strength of the Revolution has allowed it to move forward.'

During the ceremony, attended by a large audience, the constitutional reform under debate in Cuba was also analyzed.

The event was part of many activities dedicated to Cuba at the L'Humanite Festival, which is considered the main meeting of progressive forces in France.

The festival began on Friday, September 14, with participation of more than 600,000 visitors.


  • Published in Cuba

7 injured in knife attack in downtown Paris

At least seven people have been injured in Paris after a man attacked people with a knife and an iron bar, local media reports.

Initially, the attacker armed with a knife and an iron bar wounded three people ( two men and a woman), in front of a cinema in the 19th arrondissement. A group of men playing the petanque tried to stop him by throwing a heavy iron ball used in the popular French game, according to Le Parisien.

After running away from the initial scene of the attack, the assailant continued on Rue Henri Nogueres, where he attacked two English tourists, injuring them in the chest and the head.

The aggressor, who was also injured, was finally arrested by the Anti-Crime Brigade (BAC) of the police. The suspect is believed to be an Afghani national, local media report.

In total at least seven people were injured by the individual, four of whom are in serious condition, according to a judicial source.

While authorities have yet to establish the motive behind the attack, an investigation has been launched into attempted homicide. A source close to the investigation told Le Parisien that so far there was no indication that the incident was a terrorist attack.

  • Published in World

Two Dead and One Injured by Knife Attack in France

Two people died today and one was wounded in France by a knife attack perpetrated by an individual in the commune of Trappes, south of this capital, a fact that was claimed by the terrorist group Islamic State (EI ).

Around 10:00 local time the man assaulted several passersby in the street and then locked himself in a pavilion.

The RAID (elite unit of the national police) intervened on the scene and finally the attacker was killed. The motivation of the attacker seems difficult to define because some clues point to a family drama, but others to a possible terrorist event, said the authorities.

Around 10:00 local time an individual assaulted several passersby in the commune of Trappes, south of this capital, before being killed by the forces of order.

The most recent information indicates that his mother and sister are among the victims, which points to a possible family conflict.

However, the attacker was booked by the police since 2016 for 'apologizing for terrorism', shouted 'Allah is great' before being shot down, and the extremist Islamic State group vindicated the action, for which the authorities cannot discard the mobile either terrorist.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told the press that according to preliminary data, the attacker was suffering from psychiatric problems.

For the time being, the Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor's Office has not been involved in the investigations.

  • Published in World

French President to visit Caribbean Islands in September

The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, will visit in September the French possessions of St. Bartholomeu and St. Martin in the Caribbean, in order to verify progress made in reconstruction after hurricane Irma.

The Government spokesperson, Benjamin Griveaux, announced here the trip scheduled for the end of September, after the first Council of Miniosters held when work was resumed at the cabinet after summer vacations.

In the meeting, the Minister of Overseas, Annick Girardin,

presented a report on the reconstruction of both islands, harshly battered by the intense hurricane a year ago.

A total of 11 persons lost their lives in St. Martin and 95 percent of infrastructure of the islands was destroyed.

On the other hand, at the end of the Council of Ministers, the official spokesperson ratified the intention of Macron to continue forward with planned reforms in the nation.

According to Griveaux, the objective of the president is to keep the rhythm and direction of the transformations, in spite of the social discontent which could become worse after the laws previously approved, such as the new Labour Code.

Among the planned reforms in the next months stand out that of the constitution, pensions, unemployment insurance, health, among others, very polemic issues that point to generate tension in the country.

The boost to these changes takes place when the president is still harassed by the ghost of the case of Alexandre Benalla, collaborator of the president who attended the May Day demonstration dressed as a policeman and violently battered several people there.

The head of State faced at the end of July parliamentary probes and numerous criticisms on the part of politicians, personalities and the media, while at the National Assembly and the Senate was warned the issue would be retaken in September.

  • Published in World

French Foreign Minister: We Want to Be Cuba's Partner

Havana, Jul 30 (Prensa Latina) The French minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, expressed his government's interest in becoming Cuba's partner in the framework of the Caribbean island''s update of its economic model.

After touring Old Havana, the foreign minister repeated France's intention to reinforce bilateral ties with Cuba.

In statements to the National TV News, the head of French diplomacy commented that President Emmanuel Macron asked him to convey a message to his Cuban counterpart, Miguel Diaz-Canel, and to tell him that France wants to maintain the dynamics of existing relations.

We have exceptional ties that were consolidated during then President Raul Castro's visit to France in 2016.

On Monday, the French foreign minister met with his Cuban peer, Bruno Rodriguez, who described bilateral relations as positive, and pointed out that cultural, economic and academic exchange goes well.

There is a significant potential to strengthen ties between the two nations, noted the Cuban foreign minister, who highlighted France's leadership in Europe and in the struggle to preserve the environment.

Rodriguez thanked the French State for its stance against the US commercial, economic, and financial blockade on Cuba for more than half a century.

  • Published in Cuba

France moves to bolster ties with Cuba

French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian made an official visit to Cuba this weekend, confirming his country's interest in strengthening ties with the Caribbean island country.

Le Drian, who arrived in Havana on Saturday and met with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and other officials, is the first European foreign minister to visit Cuba since elections were held in April to elect a successor to Raul Castro.

"In an atmosphere of cordiality, both sides highlighted the good state of bilateral ties and expressed their willingness to continue high-level talks," Cuba's leading nightly show of official NTV news reported.

Cuba and France praised their bilateral trade and economic ties, as well as cooperation, and acknowledged the growing role French companies are playing in different economic sectors such as energy, transport and construction.

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Le Drian also met with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez, and described the relationship between the two countries as "very positive."

Rodriguez acknowledged France's leadership in the recent development of ties between the European Union (EU) and Cuba, referring to the implementation in November of the EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement.

The agreement officially ended Europe's so-called "common position" on Cuba, adopted in 1996 to align the continent's foreign policy towards the island with Washington's, which curbed ties citing alleged human rights violations.

"Cultural, economic, academic and cooperation ties are going well and there is significant potential to continue expanding them," said Rodriguez, who met with Le Drian in Paris in May.

  • Published in Cuba
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