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China's stolen children, a nationwide scourge

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Film show: 'Girls of the Sun', 'Yomeddine', 'Chéries-Chéris'

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Thanksgiving clemency: Donald Trump 'pardons turkey, Saudi crown prince'

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Hate groups in the US, music for displaced kids, and more

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Nobel physics laureate Gérard Mourou on revolutionising laser eye surgery

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Renault names interim leaders as Ghosn's detention extended

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Ethiopia's political crackdown: Government accused of targeting ethnic group

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The fall of Carlos Ghosn: Japanese accuse Renault-Nissan boss of tax fraud

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How a toxic pesticide poisoned French Caribbean island of Martinique

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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

2018-11-15 FRENCH CONNECTIONS

France's love/hate relationship with Beaujolais nouveau

On the third Thursday of November, France celebrates the arrival of Beaujolais nouveau. It's France's most famous "vin primeur" (young wine) and hails from the beautiful and...

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2018-11-08 FRENCH CONNECTIONS

From 'poilus' to 'gueules cassées': How France commemorates WWI

November 11, 2018 marks the one-hundredth anniversary of the end of World War One. To mark the centenary of the armistice, we explore some of the themes and anecdotes that come...

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2018-10-31 FRENCH CONNECTIONS

French regional accents: Source of pride or discrimination?

The French accent may be considered one of the sexiest in the world, but like other countries, there are many different accents depending on which part of the country you come...

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2018-10-26 FRENCH CONNECTIONS

Accessible and cheap or selective and elitist? The student experience in France

In this episode of French Connections, Genie Godula and Florence Villeminot graduate up to higher education and explore the academic experience à la française. What's it like to...

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2018-10-11 FRENCH CONNECTIONS

How can France protect its national heritage without breaking the bank?

Part of what makes France famous around the world is the ubiquity of its impressive, old monuments. But paying for the upkeep of these national treasures can be a headache. The...

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