Tag Archives | France

French court confirms Monsanto liable in chemical poisoning case

March Against Monsanto Lethbridge
A French court is upholding a 2012 ruling against Monsanto “in which Monsanto was found to be liable in the chemical poisoning of a French farmer.” The farmer suffered complications after inhaling Lasso weedkiller, which a Monsanto spokesman says has now been “phased out.”

Via Reuters:

A French court upheld on Thursday a 2012 ruling in which Monsanto was found to be liable in the chemical poisoning of a French farmer, who says he suffered neurological problems after inhaling the U.S. company’s Lasso weedkiller.

The decision by an appeal court in Lyon, southeast France, confirmed the initial judgment, the first such case heard in court in France, that ruled Monsanto was “responsible” for the intoxication and ordered the company to “fully compensate” grain grower Paul Francois.

Monsanto’s lawyer said the U.S. biotech company would now take the case to France’s highest appeal court.

Francois, who says he suffered memory loss, headaches and stammering after inhaling Monsanto’s Lasso in 2004, blames the agri-business giant for not providing adequate warnings on the product label.

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France Forces Big Supermarkets to Give Unsold Food to Charities

Now that’s some progressive legislation right there! Can you imagine Walmart giving away food in the US? The Guardian reports on the new French law requiring the likes of Carrefour to distribute unsold food to non-profits that presumably will give the food to the poor and hungry who previously had to forage in potentially poisoned garbage bins for that same food:

French supermarkets will be banned from throwing away or destroying unsold food and must instead donate it to charities or for animal feed, under a law set to crack down on food waste.

Monoprix, après l'averse

A Monoprix supermarket in France. Photo: Damien Roué (CC)


The French national assembly voted unanimously to pass the legislation as France battles an epidemic of wasted food that has highlighted the divide between giant food firms and people who are struggling to eat.

As MPs united in a rare cross-party consensus, the centre-right deputy Yves Jégo told parliament: “There’s an absolute urgency – charities are desperate for food.

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We can’t expect intelligence services to prevent every terrorist attack

Todd Kopriva (CC BY 2.0)

Todd Kopriva (CC BY 2.0)

By Damien Van Puyvelde, University of Texas at El Paso

The recent events in Paris have once again cast doubts on the ability of French intelligence to provide national security.

Following the attacks, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls did not hesitate to admit to a lapse in security. The two Kouachi brothers, responsible for killing 12 people, were well known to French intelligence agents and for a time closely tracked. Yet they managed to slip through.

This is particularly troubling since the French domestic intelligence services (DGSI) were reformed in 2008 and again in 2014 following the attacks carried by Mohamed Merah, a French citizen who gunned down several French soldiers and Jewish schoolchildren in three separate incidents.

The apparent recurrence of intelligence failures in France and elsewhere has long been debated by security experts, and ultimately begs the question: what can be expected from intelligence services?… Read the rest

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Days After Free Speech Rally, France Arrests 54 People for Offensive Speech


Lauren McCauley writes at Common Dreams:

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre last week and just days since the historic Paris unity rally when world leaders stood shoulder-to-shoulder and declared their support for freedom of speech, French authorities have arrested 54 people on charges of “glorifying” or “defending” terrorism.

The French Justice Ministry said that of those arrested, four are minors and several had already been convicted under special measures for immediate sentencing, AP reports. Individuals charged with “inciting terrorism” face a possible 5-year prison term, or up to 7 years for inciting terrorism online. None of those arrested have been linked to the attacks.

Controversial comic Dieudonné was one of those taken into custody Wednesday morning for a Facebook post in which he declared: “Tonight, as far as I’m concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly”—merging the names of the satire magazine and Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman who killed four hostages at a kosher market on Friday.

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Resisting the Plague: The French Reactionary Right and Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty


Constance Spreen, writing in Modern Language Quarterly 64.1, from 2003:

During a lengthy, hostile divorce from the surrealist circle in 1926, Antonin Artaud reiterated his eschewal of political engagement in the most vigorous terms. The surrealists’ attempt to graft their spiritual revolution onto Marxist materialism was for him a deleterious deviation from the ideological position that, with Artaud’s participation, those gathered around André Breton had developed the previous year. Demanding a reassertion of the surrealist commitment to “total idealism” [idéalisme intégral], Artaud reaffirmed his qualms before all real action: “My scruples are absolute” (1:71, 66). 1

Despite his uncompromising stance, Artaud found himself profoundly engaged in the “politics of style.” 2 As he began to publish his writings on the theater of cruelty in the early 1930s, he became acutely aware of a “resistance” to his dramaturgical theories. His correspondence reveals that this resistance, to which he repeatedly refers, issued mainly from two sources: the critics at L’action française, the primary mouthpiece of the movement bearing the same name, and Benjamin Crémieux, drama and literary critic at the Nouvelle revue française (NRF).

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Michel Houellebecq New Book Foresees Possible Muslim President For France

Michel Houllebecq, France’s famously controversial novelist, has a new book (Soumission) – published this week in extraordinary timing – depicting a possible future for France with a Muslim president. Both the book and the interview below in the Paris Review were carried out before the Charlie Hebdo massacre, but it’s clear that Houellebecq has zeroed in on the religious versus secularist tension in France.

After the attack, The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, stated: “France is not Houellebecq. It’s not intolerance, hatred and fear.” Houellebecq is apparently in hiding and his publisher’s office is under police protection. Regarding the book itself, he tells interviewer Sylvain Bourmeau:

Is this a satirical novel?

No. Maybe a small part of the book satirizes political journalists—politicians a little bit, too, to be honest. But the main characters are not satirical.

2008.06.09. Michel Houellebecq Fot Mariusz Kubik 16.JPG

Michel Houellebecq. Photo by Mariusz Kubik (CC)


Where did you get the idea for a presidential election, in 2022, that came down to Marine Le Pen and the leader of a Muslim party?

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