Politics, scandal, gastronomy… Give the French a topic and they’ll give you an opinion. With a window on the world from inside one of Europe’s most opinionated nations, join FRANCE 24 journalist Sophie Pilgrim in decoding French news and views.
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Geography, history, twittery? French pupils get Twitter lessons

French pupils as young as five will be taught to use Twitter this academic year, when the popular social network reaches into classrooms across the country as a reading and writing exercise that is bound to get tongues wagging.
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‘Not French enough’ after 50 years? PM reignites national identity debate

A Norwegian-born French politician was berated this week for suggesting that the Bastille Day military march was outdated. Told to “go home” by a ruling party politician, the controversy has touched on a very raw nerve in France – national identity.

Obama’s 'Twitter Town Hall', a democratic breakthrough?

The Twittersphere became a hotbed of activity Wednesday when Barack Obama appeared on the social network to perform his latest tech-savvy stunt – the first ever “Twitter Town Hall” Q&A. But was it a democratic breakthrough or just a publicity stunt?
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Ugly invaders expelled from ‘BeautifulPeople’ website

Journalists and bloggers delighted in the news Monday that an elitist dating website had been infiltrated by thousands of “ugly people” following a cyber attack last month. Look a little closer though, and it’s the beautiful people who won this one.
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How a straight guy in Edinburgh seduced us with 'A Gay Girl in Damascus'

‘A Gay Girl in Damascus’ was, until Monday, one of Syria’s most popular bloggers, a 35-year-old lesbian activist in fear of the regime. Today, she’s a 40-year-old American man, a certain Tom MacMaster, based in Scotland. Duped? We were.

Belarus: they got the opposition leader, but forgot the internet

Belarus edged one step further into obscurity last week when it banished the country’s main opposition leader to jail. But despite the regime’s tough stance on dissidents, it seems to have overlooked a potentially invaluable weapon – the internet.

Nottingham University: where you can graduate as a terrorist for life

In 2008 Nottingham University had two Muslim men wrongfully arrested under the UK’s unlawful Terrorism Act 2000. Now, they’re trying to cover up their mistakes, by silencing a report on the affair.
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Famous and fake: Twitter's funniest faux-celebrities

Never has parodying famous people been so easy. Twitter allows thousands of politicians, celebrities and fictional characters to fall victim to online ridiculing. Here are a few of them…
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How e-mail became email

I was interested to see that AP news agency has just changed its official spelling of what was previously e-mail to email. Surely nobody was still writing out e-mail? Apparently so...
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Heinz Beans to the rescue in Japan

A group of eager foreign volunteers arrived in quake-hit north-east Japan Sunday with two vans full of provisions. Along with nappies and pineapple juice, the main bulk of the shipment consisted of… eight tonnes of Heinz baked beans.
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Rupert Murdoch, bringing out the best in Britons

By allowing media mogul Rupert Murdoch to buy up the entirety of BSkyB last week, the British government has probably created a monster. Luckily for us, every baddie needs a goodie, and the general public is all too willing to provide…
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The real story behind Downing Street’s ‘stolen’ cat

Britain was shocked to learn this week that the prime minister’s new cat had been accidentally stolen. But except for extreme-cat-lovers, the tale of Larry the tabby was far more sinister than it at first seemed...
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Twitterati’s 17th century origins

Swept in on a tide of twit-related terminology, ‘Twitterati’ is a veritable newcomer to the English language, but its roots lie in a term relating to the literary snobs of the 17th century, and a 1950s stint in showbusiness.
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