France

France to host African Rugby World Cup qualifiers

The top eight African teams compete in the Rugby Africa Cup 2022 in France, which will serve as the last qualifying round for the 2023 World Cup.

The French are also hosts of the 2023 World Cup, which will be held in September-October.

The African knockout tournament will be in July 2022, with the winning team directly qualifying for the World Cup and set to join hosts France, New Zealand’s top-ranked All Blacks, Italy and the Americas 1 qualifier in Pool A.

The runners-up will get a place in the final qualification tournament for the world showpiece event.

Australia defends role in security pact amid French condemnation

Prime Minister Scott Morrison rejected accusations that Australia had lied, saying France should have been aware it was prepared to break the deal.

France says the Aukus pact has led to a "serious crisis" between the allies.

In an unprecedented move, it has recalled its ambassadors from the US and Australia as a sign of protest.

Under the Aukus pact, Australia will be given the technology to build nuclear-powered submarines as a way of countering China's influence in the contested South China Sea.

France stun reigning champions USA to end 25-game win streak

Evan Fournier poured in 28 points for the French as the Americans, who have won gold in the past three Games, were beaten for the first time since 2004.

A strong third quarter, where France outscored Gregg Popovich's star-studded team 25-11, proved decisive.

Rudy Gobert was also influential with 14 points and nine rebounds.

It was a disastrous start for Team USA who struggled in their preparation for the tournament, losing warm-up matches to Nigeria and Australia.

They looked to have taken control of the game with an eight-point half-time lead.

Wallabies snatch victory at death after French error

Les Bleus led by 15 points in the first half after two Gabin Villiere tries but Wallabies captain Michael Hooper's late try closed France's lead to one.

France then kicked a penalty to touch but fumbled the resulting line-out and Australia won the decisive penalty.

The sides meet again on Tuesday in the second game of the three-match series.

It was Australia's second Test victory since the 2019 World Cup against a French side that have rested most of their Test starters.

     

France to scale down Sahel military operations

The existing 5,100-strong task force will be incorporated into a broader international mission, he announced.

French forces have been operating in Mali, Chad, Mauritania, Niger, and Burkina Faso to fight militants.

Last week, France paused operations in Mali following a military coup.

Militants linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) group have strengthened their grip on the region, which has become a front line in the war against Islamist extremism.

It is also a major transit route for illegal drugs, weapons and jihadists.

France urges citizens to leave Pakistan amid anti-French protests

The country's embassy in Pakistan warned of "serious threats to French interests in Pakistan", saying protests were increasing nationwide.

Two police officers died this week in renewed clashes with protesters.

The protests were sparked months ago after France defended the right to show cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

In October last year, French President Emmanuel Macron strongly defended freedom of expression after the beheading of a teacher who showed such cartoons during a class discussion.

France enters third national lockdown amid ICU surge

All schools and non-essential shops will shut for four weeks, and a curfew will be in place from 19:00 to 06:00.

On Friday, the number of seriously ill Covid patients in intensive care units (ICU) increased by 145 - the biggest jump in five months.

President Emmanuel Macron has promised more hospital beds for Covid patients.

France is currently battling a peak of about 5,000 Covid patients in ICUs. On Friday, the country recorded 46,677 new cases and 304 deaths.

France sends 30 police to New Caledonia

This followed a call for police reinforcement by the administrator in New Caledonia's Southern Province following recent violence around protests related to the Vale nickel plant

The French Overseas Minister, Sebastien Lecornu, confirmed the deployment of another 30 special police and investigators.

He noted that almost 1500 French police were in New Caledonia, more than five times more police than in rural parts of mainland France.

     

Paris lockdown as France fears 'third wave'

Another 15 regions in the country will also be placed under the same measures from midnight on Friday.

These measures will not be as strict as the previous lockdown, Prime Minister Jean Castex said, with people allowed to exercise outdoors.

France has recorded 35,000 new cases within the past 24 hours.

Mr Castex said a "third wave" of infections in the country was looking increasingly likely.

France v Scotland could be cancelled after five more positive Covid-19 tests

The Six Nations testing oversight group reviewed the outbreak on Monday (Tuesday NZT) which has revealed positive tests by 10 players and three staff members. The group said it will reconvene on Wednesday (Thursday NZT) to decide whether the match will go ahead on Sunday in Paris. If not, it will likely be postponed for a week.

Scotland warned later on Monday (Tuesday NZT) that a delay could affect the availability of its own players.