France sentences ex-PM Fillon, his wife to prison in fraud trial

KONFRONTASI-A Paris court has sentenced former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon to five years in prison, with three suspended, for having used public funds to pay his wife and children for work they never performed.

His wife, Penelope Fillon, was handed a three-year suspended sentence on Monday for being an accomplice in the fraud that brought the family more than one million euros ($1.13m) since 1998.

The court also fined each of them 375,000 euros ($423,100) and barred Francois from standing in any election for the next 10 years.

Germany's Merkel and France's Macron to meet ahead of crunch Brexit summit

KONFRONTASI-The European Union’s two most powerful leaders, Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Emmanuel Macron, will meet just days before a crunch Brexit summit next week which Britain says is the last chance to secure an orderly departure from the bloc.

As the clock ticks down to the Oct. 31 departure date, Brexit descended into a public row between London and Brussels this week as both sides position for another delay followed by an election or an acrimonious divorce.

France, Germany mull over independent financing system to sidestep US bans

KONFRONTASI - France and Germany are seeking to develop an independent European financing mechanism with the aim of sidestepping US sanctions against countries, including Iran, and asserting the continent’s “sovereignty.”

Speaking at a meeting with press association AJEF on Monday, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Paris and Berlin are making joint efforts to develop either a European or a Franco-German financing system.

Britain, France and Germany agree support for Iran nuclear deal

KONFRONTASI-The leaders of Britain, France and Germany have agreed the Iran nuclear deal is the best way of stopping Tehran from gaining nuclear weapons, British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said in a statement on Sunday.

May had phone calls with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel where they agreed the deal may need to be broadened to cover other areas such as ballistic missiles, what happens when the deal expires, and Iran’s destabilizing regional activity, the statement said.

France's Hollande meets religious leaders amid row over attacks security

KONFRONTASI-President Francois Hollande demonstrated interfaith unity with France's religious leaders on Wednesday after two Islamist militants killed a Roman Catholic priest in a church, igniting fierce political criticism of the government's security record.

One of the assailants was a known would-be jihadist awaiting trial under supposedly tight surveillance, a revelation that raised pressure over the Socialist government's response to a wave of attacks claimed by Islamic State since early in 2015.

France church attack: Hostage, attackers killed

KONFRONTASI-At least one hostage has been killed by two knife-wielding men in a church in France's northern Normandy region, the interior ministry said.

The Paris-based AFP news agency, citing the ministry, said a second hostage was "fighting for life" after the incident in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray on Tuesday.

Police told the Reuters news agency that a priest at the church was "killed with a blade," adding that it looked like his throat had been slit.

France closes missions in Turkey over security fears

KONFRONTASI-France has temporarily shut down its embassy in the Turkish capital Ankara and its consulate in Istanbul, citing security reasons.

"The Embassy of France in Ankara, as well as the Consulate-General in Istanbul, will be closed from Wednesday July 13, 1pm (10:00 GMT), until further notice," the embassy said in a statement on Wednesday.

The announcement came a day after France scrapped Bastille Day - or French National Day - receptions at these missions on security grounds.

France strike stops trains in escalating labour dispute

KONFRONTASI-Striking transportation workers have halted nearly half of French rail services, just nine days before the Euro 2016 football tournament, in the latest labour standoff between unions and the government.

Around half of the country's trains were cancelled on Wednesday as workers from railway operator SNCF launched their eighth strike in three months, this time saying they will continue until demands for better pay and conditions are met.

France closes down another mosque, third since last week

KONFRONTASI - French authorities have shut down a mosque near Paris as part of their fight against “radicalization.” 

In a huge security operation carried out early on Wednesday, French police closed down a mosque in the town of Lagny-sur-Marne in the eastern suburbs of Paris, the third to be shut down since France declared a state of emergency following the last month Paris attacks, AFP reported.

Europe court upholds France hijab ban

KONFRONTASI - The European Court of Human Rights has struck down a case filed by a Muslim woman protesting France’s ban on Islamic hijab at workplace.

The Strasbourg-based court on Thursday upheld the ban on hijab in the case of Christiane Ebrahimian, a Muslim social worker who lost her job at a hospital in the suburb of the capital Paris in 2000 after she refused to remove her scarf.