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PARIS, Aug 13, 2018 (AFP) — France plans to introduce a penalty system next year that would increase the costs of consumer goods with packaging made of non-recycled plastic, part of a pledge to use only recycled plastic nationwide by 2025, an environment ministry official said on Sunday.

Brune Poirson, secretary of state for ecological transition, said the move was one of several to be implemented in coming years, including a deposit-refund scheme for plastic bottles.

“Declaring war on plastic is not enough. We need to transform the French economy,” she told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper.

Under the new plan, products with recycled plastic packaging could cost up to 10 per cent less, Poirson said.

“When there’s a choice between two bottles, one made of recycled plastic and the other without, the first will be less expensive,” she said.

“When non-recycled plastic will cost more, that will eliminate much of the excessive packaging,” Poirson said.

Flore Berlingen of the association Zero Waste France told AFP: “We’re hoping that companies play along so that clients aren’t the ones penalised” by the new measure.

Emmanuel Guichard of the Elipso federation of plastic packaging makers gave a cautious welcome to the French plan.

“For bottles, giving consumers a choice is possible. But we can’t forget other items — today there’s no recycled plastic available for yogurt pots,” he said.

Ubiquitous images on social media of marine fauna suffocated by plastics, as well as initiatives such as “plastic attacks” — which see shoppers dump all the packaging of their purchases outside supermarkets — have begun to spur political responses around the world.

The French plan is “part of the solution, albeit incomplete, since it is only about recycling and not reducing plastic,” remarked Fanny Vismara, an organiser of “plastic attacks” in France.

She noted that glass, unlike plastic, is “infinitely recyclable”.

Berlingen added: “Recycling is necessary but not sufficient. We absolutely must cut off the flow and have more stringent measures against over-packaging and disposable objects.”

France currently recycles around 25 per cent of its plastic, according to the magazine 60 Million Consumers.

It has already outlawed single-use plastic bags in supermarkets unless they can be composted, hoping to encourage people to shop with their own bags.

 

The French government also aims to increase taxes on burying trash in landfills while cutting taxes for recycling operations, hoping to address the growing problem of tonnes of plastic finding its way into oceans.

 

The Carrefour and Leclerc supermarket chains have said they will quit selling plastic straws in the coming months, ahead of a law outlawing them by 2020.

 

The European Commission also wants to sharply cut down on single-use plastic objects, announcing in May rules requiring the use of alternative materials and incentives for businesses.

 

Plastic production has soared more than 40 per cent globally over the past 10 years, mainly for packaging.

TRIPOLI, July 23, 2018 (News Wires) — French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian arrived in Libya today to push a Paris deal which paves the way for elections in the war-torn country.

Le Drian met the head of Libya’s UN-backed government, Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, in the capital Tripoli ahead of a series of talks with various political actors.

Speaking Sunday in neighbouring Tunisia, France’s top diplomat said the visit was aimed at “making a success of the process which was approved during the Paris meeting”.

The May 29 Paris talks brought together rival Libyan leaders for the first time, including Sarraj and military strongman Khalifa Haftar whose self-styled Libyan National Army dominates the country’s east.

They agreed to work towards holding parliamentary and presidential elections by December 10, with the Le Drian’s visit aimed at maintaining pressure on Libyan leaders to prepare for polls.

“It’s necessary to continue to push along with those who are already in the process, to widen it to (include) others” in Libya, an aide to the foreign minister said.

The Paris agreement included a September 16 deadline to come up with an electoral law, forming the “constitutional base” for a vote later in the year.

Numerous observers view the timetable as overly ambitious, given ongoing instability with territorial disputes across the country and a flagging economy despite great oil wealth.

More than seven years since dictator Moamer Kadhafi was ousted, Libya remains divided with rival administrations in Tripoli and eastern Tobruk.

Aguila Saleh Issa, the parliament speaker based in Tobruk, and Khalid al-Mishri, head of the High Council of State in Tripoli, also attended the Paris meeting and agreed to support elections.

PARIS, July 16, 2018 (News Wires) — The Champs Elysees avenue is the beating heart of Paris, a magnet for millions of tourists but also a place of mass gathering when the French want to celebrate.

The emblematic avenue rapidly filled to capacity yesterday as Parisians revelled in France’s second World Cup victory. More than a million people invaded the broad thoroughfare on July 12, 1998, after France clinched the trophy on home soil.

The next day the world champions were driven down the avenue in a double-decker bus, although the crowds prevented them from going right up to the famous Arc de Triomphe.

As cherished by tourists as the Eiffel Tower just across the River Seine, the elegant avenue stretching for two kilometres (more than a mile) from the Arc de Triomphe down to Concorde Square was first laid out in 1670.

Tens of thousands of people daily throng the tree-lined artery which is home to luxury boutiques, chain stores, cafes, cinemas and high-end offices.

The Obelisk of Luxor at Concorde Square, the Tuileries Garden and the Louvre Museum are all visible from what is dubbed “the most beautiful avenue in the world”.

Every year it hosts major popular events like the traditional military parade on July 14, the Bastille Day national holiday — which this year fell on the eve of the World Cup triumph.

The Champs Elysees is also the finish line for the world’s toughest cycling race, the Tour de France, and hundreds of thousands of Parisians and tourists gather there to see in the New Year.

PARIS (Reuters) - Police on Sunday scoured the background of a Chechnya-born Frenchman who killed a man in a knife attack in Paris, questioning the parents and a friend of the 21-year old, who had been flagged previously as a potential security risk.

Late on Saturday, the assailant shouted “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) as he began his stabbing rampage. He fatally knifed a 29-year-old man and wounded four others, among them a Chinese and a Luxembourg citizen, before police shot him dead.

A judicial source named the attacker as Khamzat A, without giving his full name, which BFM TV and other French media said was Azimov.

The attack took place in the bustling Opera district, known for its many restaurants, cafes and the Palais Garnier opera.

It was the latest in a succession of attacks in France since January 2015 in which more than 240 people have died.

The attacker had since 2016 been on a counter-terrorism watchlist of suspected radicals who may be a threat to national security, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said.

The stabbing exposed once again the difficulty European intelligence services face keeping track of suspected extremists and countering the threat posed by homegrown militants and foreign jihadists.

PARIS, May 4, 2018 (News Wires) — Kristen Stewart, Ralph Fiennes and Margot Robbie all craned their necks up in awe.

A creaking, 330-foot (100-meter) cruise liner — with steaming funnels and gangplanks — was something Chanel's celebrity guests never imagined they'd see moored on the dry land of the French capital, let alone inside the city's Grand Palais.

It was the decor for Chanel's annual Cruise collection Thursday night in Paris in which designer Karl Lagerfeld created a spectacle worthy of a James Cameron movie set.

The show saw the larger-than-life 84-year-old continue to defy expectations in fashion show spending — after earlier shows produced a recreated Eiffel Tower, a space rocket, a supermarket and a forest.

"The bar has been set very high ... The set design in itself blew me away," said Robbie.

"It's amazing, but it doesn't surprise me. This is Karl's genius and imagination," said model Lily-Rose Depp. "Everything is just so realistic — down to the light that looks like water, and the smoke and the stars."

The ship took two months to create with an exterior in plywood and a hull made of myriad steel. The gargantuan vessel — named "La Pausa" after house founder Coco Chanel's Southern French villa — was brought to life by lighting mimicking lapping ocean waves and the sound of cawing sea gulls.

The sea theme infused the clothes and was an apt choice for the mid-season show.

Cruise or "resort" shows — shown by only a handful of the world's fashion houses — were originally conceived to target wealthy women who travelled on cruise ships in the winter. Nowadays, they're used as a lucrative means of re-stimulating fashions in the mid-season lull.

Chanel's show was all about the nautical stripe.

Chic baggy pants opened the show, sporting optical black and white lines.

The motif was based on the razzle dazzle designs painted on U.S. and British warships from World War I to camouflage them from German U-Boats. The stripes appeared down layered sleeves on two-piece skirts and in technicolor across white sporty dresses.

Styles from the Sixties also were a key element in the relaxed 87-piece collection. White berets met sexy exposed midriffs, miniskirts and loose white sweaters that were cut with a retro bateau collar. Mary Janes — one-strap shoes — were also given a cool reworking in silver and white, and some had rubber soles.

Robbie — whose star is rising since her recent Academy Award nomination for "I, Tonya" and who has recently been named a Chanel brand ambassador — used this trip to Paris to learn more about the Parisian couture house.

"First, I went to the archives and really got to understand the brand on a whole new level and understand really learn about Coco Chanel's story, and how it influenced her designs," she said.

Stewart came to the Paris show en route to this month's Cannes Film Festival in southern France where she will serve as one of its jury members.

"Cannes is a place that values the reason why people make movies that aligns with the reason that I do," said the 28-year-old "Twilight" star. "I feel like a little kid walking into something I'm not allowed."

The ship, which conjured up images of the French Riviera, also bowled Stewart over.

"Their shows are always like walking into a very elaborate dream," she said.

RUSSELS, April 23, 2018 (AP) -- A Brussels court on Monday found 2015 Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam and an accomplice guilty of attempted murder over shots fired at police they sought to avoid arrest in a Brussels suburb.

The court handed both Abdeslam and Sofiane Ayari the maximum 20 year sentence.

It said the "terror character" was clearly established in the March 2016 shooting, four months after the Paris attacks that killed 130.

Court president Luc Hennart said the two chose not to attend the reading of the verdict and sentencing. Abdeslam attended the opening day of the trial in February but has refused to co-operate since. He is being held in a prison in northern France.

It is unclear when he will face trial over the Paris attacks.

The conclusion of the case at Brussels' ornate palace of justice took place amid tight security set up by the armed forces and police.

Abdeslam was close to being arrested in a hideout when he and Ayari fled while another man sprayed gunfire at police and was killed. Three officers were wounded.

Three days later, Abdeslam was captured in Brussels. Four days after that, extremists struck in the Belgian capital, killing 32 people in bomb attacks at the airport and on the subway system.

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