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Royal gatecrasher! Queen Elizabeth attends London Fashion Week

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Venezuela launches its own cryptocurrency

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IN THE PRESS

The secrets of Jean-Marie Le Pen: Far-right party founder publishes tell-all

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Tens of thousands bid farewell to Morgan Tsvangirai

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Afrin, 'a war without images'

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THE DEBATE

Syria on the brink: Can Assad help the Kurds against Turkish forces?

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Inside the murky business of cobalt mining in DR Congo

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100% Pure Parisian: Comedian Julie Collas helps locals laugh at themselves

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BUSINESS DAILY

Chinese textile wholesalers open Marseille site

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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

2018-01-18 #MeToo

Deneuve vs. #MeToo: Exploring feminism 'à la française'

The #MeToo movement that emerged in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal has had a major following here in France. However the movement's momentum hit a bump in the road with...

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2018-01-04 France

Bonne année!

This week we take a closer look at how French people kick off the New Year. From obsessively wishing each other "Bonne Année" to eating delicious King Cake. Meilleurs voeux to...

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2017-12-14 Corsica

Corsica: Understanding France's complex relationship with its 'island of beauty'

Located in the Mediterranean Sea, Corsica is known as the "island of beauty". It's had a tumultuous relationship with the mainland since it became French in the 18th century and...

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2017-12-07 Johnny Hallyday

Johnny Hallyday: The life and legacy of 'French Elvis'

Johnny Hallyday was France’s biggest rock star for more than half a century. Despite selling more than 110 million albums over his nearly 60-year-long career he was virtually...

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2017-11-23 smoking

Is France a chain-smoking nation?

When you think of a stereotypical French person, you often picture them puffing on a cigarette. Is France a chain-smoking nation? While the number of smokers has dropped since...

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