Maurice Olender, a vigilant anti-racist

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Maurice Olender in 2020. © Photo Éditions Le Seuil Maurice Olender in 2020. © Photo Éditions Le Seuil

Maurice Olender, the erudite historian and literary editor, died in Brussels on October 27th at the age of 76. Mediapart’s publishing editor Edwy Plenel pays tribute here to his friend, a free thinker born into a family of survivors of the WWII genocide of the Jews, who unceasingly sounded the alarm over the gangrene of racism and those behind it.

How Sindh province is still struggling to recover after Pakistan's devastating floods

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The town of Khairpur Nathan Shah is slowly re-emerging from the waters. © Photo Nejma Brahim / Mediapart The town of Khairpur Nathan Shah is slowly re-emerging from the waters. © Photo Nejma Brahim / Mediapart

In this particularly poor area of south-east Pakistan, several towns and villages are still under water nearly three months after the monsoon rains this summer which caused widespread and massive flooding. As Mediapart's Nejma Brahim reports from the province, poverty and illness are rife among those left homeless, some of whom feel abandoned to their fate.

Charges and trial loom as Gaddafi-Sarkozy funding investigations draw to a close

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Muammar Gaddafi and Nicolas Sarkozy pictured at the Élysée Palace in December 2007. © Photo Sébastien Calvet Muammar Gaddafi and Nicolas Sarkozy pictured at the Élysée Palace in December 2007. © Photo Sébastien Calvet

Active investigations in a mammoth and unprecedented nine-year judicial probe into the suspected illegal funding of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign by the regime of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi drew to a close this month, leading to a second legal phase before charges are brought and a trial ordered. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske detail the principal conclusions of the investigations and the roles of the key suspects in this extraordinary and complex case.  

Retired French lieutenant general slams Europe’s ‘tragic’ military capacity

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Ukrainian soldiers in Kyiv take delivery of US anti-tank missiles, February 11th 2022. © Photo Sergei Supinsky / AFP Ukrainian soldiers in Kyiv take delivery of US anti-tank missiles, February 11th 2022. © Photo Sergei Supinsky / AFP

The war in Ukraine has both demonstrated and heightened the dependence of European countries on US military support, while also creating divisions in their defence strategies, notably between Germany and France. In this interview with Justine Brabant, retired French army lieutenant general Jean-Paul Perruche, who served at a senior level in NATO and as director general of the European Union military staff, offers his analysis of the challenges now facing Europe. He argues why it must build a structure to allow for common military autonomy with pragmatic plans to deal with future threats. “It’s really quite pitiful that we are incapable of doing anything, whereas we have four times the budget of the Russians,” he says. “It’s tragic.”

As France ponders legalising euthanasia, the terminally ill seeking an end to life look abroad

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 © Illustration Justine Vernier / Mediapart © Illustration Justine Vernier / Mediapart

President Emmanuel Macron has launched a series of national consultations aimed at a possible reform by the end of next year of current legislation in France which prohibits euthanasia and assisted suicide, and limits medical intervention to the administration of deep sedation only in the final stages of a patient’s illness. In the meantime, those already in deep suffering from incurable degenerative diseases and who wish to end their lives before the worst stages have only the option of doing so in countries which allow euthanasia or assisted suicide, notably Belgium and Switzerland. Sarah Boucault reports.   

Dassault instructs staff to take evasive action over prickly questions

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Bullet points: ‘Don’t get into a debate’, ‘Reply with assurance’ and ’Never reply to the question directly’. © Illustration Simon Toupet / Mediapart Bullet points: ‘Don’t get into a debate’, ‘Reply with assurance’ and ’Never reply to the question directly’. © Illustration Simon Toupet / Mediapart

French aerospace group Dassault Aviation, designer and maker of the Rafale multi-role fighter plane and the Falcon business jet, has instructed its staff on how to respond to, and notably how to avoid directly answering, prickly questions over its weapons exports to "dictatorships" and its sales of private jets for carbon-rich travel by the wealthy few. Justine Brabant and Mickaël Correia reveal here the group’s bullet-point internal documents on how to evade the issues, and detail the hypocrisy of its PR campaign.

French far-right seeks political gain from horror of girl's murder

Flowers and tributes left in front of the Paris apartment building where Lola's body was found. © Geoffroy Van der Hasselt / AFP Flowers and tributes left in front of the Paris apartment building where Lola's body was found. © Geoffroy Van der Hasselt / AFP

The shocking sequestration, rape and murder in Paris last week of Lola, a 12-year-old girl whose body was found in a trunk in front of her apartment building home, has been transformed by the far-right and conservative hardliners into a political row over immigration policy after it was revealed that the arrested suspect is a young Algerian woman who since August was the subject of an expulsion order. The controversy snowballed this week, forcing the government onto the defence despite an appeal by Lola’s parents that no political gain should be made of the atrocious crime. Lucie Delaporte and Christophe Gueugneau report.

French government hopes for the best but fears the worst amid growing social unrest

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Prime minister Élisabeth Borne, President Emmanuel Macron and sports minister Amélia Oudéa-Castéra at the Élysée on September 29th 2022. © Photo Benoit Tessier / AFP Prime minister Élisabeth Borne, President Emmanuel Macron and sports minister Amélia Oudéa-Castéra at the Élysée on September 29th 2022. © Photo Benoit Tessier / AFP

President Emmanuel Macron's government is facing a potentially difficult week, haunted by the fear that the ongoing petrol crisis could lead to a wider social crisis. On Sunday the leftwing opposition staged a protest against the cost of living. Then on Tuesday a number of trade unions have called a day of national strikes over pay and the right to take industrial action. Ilyes Ramdani takes the temperature ahead of what could be a tumultuous few days in French politics.

How France has lagged behind allies over military aid for Ukraine

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Ukrainian soldiers operating a French Caesar cannon in the Donbas region of Ukraine on June 15th 2022. © Photo Aris Messinis / AFP Ukrainian soldiers operating a French Caesar cannon in the Donbas region of Ukraine on June 15th 2022. © Photo Aris Messinis / AFP

On Monday October 10th the Élysée announced “new measures to support Ukraine militarily”. Two days later President Emmanuel Macron said France would be sending air-defence systems to the country after the recent Russian missile attacks. Up to now the French government has concealed exactly how much military support it has given to Kyiv since Russia's invasion in February, justifying this on the grounds of operational secrecy. However, a think tank has now detailed the military aid that all countries have given to Ukraine, and these figures show that France trails behind other key allies. Justine Brabant and Donatien Huet report.

How a 'digital army' paid for by French club Paris Saint-Germain smeared its opponents online

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Some of the Tweets from PSG's 'digital army'. © Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart Some of the Tweets from PSG's 'digital army'. © Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

An external agency paid by the Qatari-owned Paris club created an “army” of fake Twitter accounts which then carried out aggressive and foul-mouthed online smear campaigns, in particular against the media and some of the Paris football club's own leading figures. Mediapart and the sports newspaper L’Équipe were among the main targets. This “digital army” even had a go at PSG's French star Kylian Mbappé. Clément Fayol and Yann Philippin report.

Four key lessons from the series of coups d’état in West Africa

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The Malian head of state Assimi Goïta, right, and the Guinea head of state Mamadi Doumbouya, left, both of whom came to power through a coup d’état, during a military parade on September 22nd, 2022, in the Mali capital Bamako. © Photo Ousmane Makaveli / AFP The Malian head of state Assimi Goïta, right, and the Guinea head of state Mamadi Doumbouya, left, both of whom came to power through a coup d’état, during a military parade on September 22nd, 2022, in the Mali capital Bamako. © Photo Ousmane Makaveli / AFP

The seizure of power by Captain Ibrahim Traoré in Burkina Faso on September 30th brings to five the number of successful coups d’état that have taken place in West Africa in the last two years. One of the main reasons for these coups has been the failure of the fight against terrorism in the Sahel region, which has led to growing insecurity. Another factor is the increasing role of Russia there. Justine Brabant reports.

Nobel prize winner Annie Ernaux: the French writer who 'wants to destroy literature'

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Annie Ernaux at home in Cergy Pontoise, north west of Paris, in 2019. © Photo Bruno Arbesu/REA Annie Ernaux at home in Cergy Pontoise, north west of Paris, in 2019. © Photo Bruno Arbesu/REA

The news that French author Annie Ernaux – who has written a string of acclaimed books - has been awarded the Nobel prize for literature is a cause for celebration, writes Mediapart journalist and literature lecturer Lise Wajeman. But how should one interpret the bestowal of this prestigious prize to the French writer, given that she herself once declared: “What I also want to destroy is literature”?

Denying French visa to journalist Hussam Hammoud would 'gift a victory to Islamic State'

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Hussam Hammoud. © Photo Abdo Saffaf Hussam Hammoud. © Photo Abdo Saffaf

The Turkish-based Syrian journalist and Mediapart contributor Hussam Hammoud was refused a visa by the French authorities on September 5th. A month later, on Wednesday October 5th, his legal team appeared at the administrative court in Nantes to appeal against this decision. The journalist's lawyers highlighted the vague approximations and errors in the arguments used by France's Ministry of the Interior to refuse him the humanitarian visa and called for the application to be looked at again. François Bougon reports.

Gaddafi funding probe: more revelations from Sarkozy ally’s hard disk

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Nicolas Sarkozy and Thierry Gaubert. © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart avec AFP Nicolas Sarkozy and Thierry Gaubert. © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart avec AFP

The French judicial investigation into the suspected illegal financing of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign by the regime of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi has found new evidence pointing to the organisation of the alleged funding on computer files belonging to Thierry Gaubert, a close friend and political ally of the former French president. In this second of a two-part report on the discovery, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske detail more about the findings and their implications.

Macron's top aide Alexis Kohler under investigation over 'unlawful conflict of interest'

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Emmanuel Macron and chief of staff Alexis Kohler at the Élysée Palace, September 15th 2022. © Photo Jacques Witt / Sipa Emmanuel Macron and chief of staff Alexis Kohler at the Élysée Palace, September 15th 2022. © Photo Jacques Witt / Sipa

On September 23rd the president's chief of staff was placed under formal investigation for “unlawful conflict of interest” over claims he hid his family ties to the MSC shipping line and intervened in its favour on several occasions  while working as a senior civil servant. Alexis Kohler has also been placed under the status of “assisted witness” for “influence peddling” in relation to the same case. As Martine Orange reports, the news comes after the Élysée spent five years trying – in vain - to bury the case.