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The Best of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival

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Cannes 2018: and the Palme d’or goes to....

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Cannes 2018: Lebanese film 'Capharnaum' wows critics

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EYE ON AFRICA

Ebola outbreak in DR Congo: vaccinations to start on Sunday

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The Royal wedding: Pomp & controversy

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ENCORE!

Cannes 2018: John Travolta brings the mob to the red carpet

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THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Summit or No Summit: North Korea angry over military drill

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DOWN TO EARTH

Could thawing permafrost unleash long-gone deadly viruses?

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FRANCE IN FOCUS

French and noble in 2018: What remains of France's aristocracy?

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FRENCH CONNECTIONS

A quirky, insider’s guide to understanding France and the French, from the sublime to the ridiculous. Thursday at 1.45 pm.

Latest update : 2016-01-21

Understanding 'laicité': The ins and outs of state secularism

FRENCH CONNECTIONS – Thurs. 21.01.16: This week we take a closer look at a concept that is fundamental to life in France: "laicité". Quite literally it’s translated as secularism, the separation of church and state, but France’s brand of secularism is quite particular and controversial.

A product of French philosophy and history, "laicité" was signed into law in 1905. The Law on the Separation of the Churches and State requires the government to remain neutral in terms of faith, while at the same time safeguarding everyone’s freedom to practice their own religion.

Concretely, religion is banned from state matters and public schools. But the application of secularism in practice is subject to some controversy. Critics say state secularism is too extreme and is increasingly used to stigmatize Muslims. Meanwhile, proponents say laicité allows us to live together in harmony and protects our freedom.

By Florence VILLEMINOT

Archives

2018-05-17 French culture

What’s left of the spirit of May 68?

This month, France is marking the 50th anniversary of May 68, a social and cultural revolution considered a major turning point in French society. Students and workers joined...

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2018-05-10 French cinema

France's love affair with cinema

Over a hundred years after the first commercial film was screened in Paris, the movie business is booming. Compared to their European counterparts, French people are massive...

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2018-04-26 France

May in France: Lucky flowers and building bridges

May is a month of celebration in France. The bulk of the country’s 11 public holidays fall in May – making it a favourite for employees. May 1 is also a special day for workers...

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2018-04-05 France

Why the massive rail strike? France's love-hate relationship with the SNCF

France's state rail service has long been considered a national treasure. Though it has had a lot to celebrate in its 80-year history, the SNCF is also facing a massive debt...

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2018-03-29 Easter

Flying Bells! How France celebrates Easter

Like other historically Catholic countries, France is a big fan of Easter which is known as Pâques. Traditionally, families gather for a big meal which usually involves lamb in...

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