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Information sought and shared after powerful earthquake hits Haitian capital

The images trickling into the studios of Haitipal, a Haitian television station streaming a continuous online discussion following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked the capital of the island nation, included the partially collapsed presidential palace, bloodied bodies strewn on the ground and dust-caked victims helping one another. But it was too early to estimate the extent of the widespread damage or the number of deaths.

Is France really the best place to live?

For the fifth year in a row, France ranks as the best place in the world to live, according to a quality of life index published by International Living magazine. Australia came in second place while the United States fell to seventh place from fourth. For the 2010 edition of the survey, editors rated 194 countries, considering categories such as cost of living, culture and climate and determined that France does it better in terms of freedom, health and security. And the “bon vivant” lifestyle is enviable.

The Paris taxi smackdown

PARIS, France — Chauffeured motorcycles now bill themselves as attractive alternatives to Paris' full-size taxis and in-the-know travelers are using them.

Cold, snow, strike and now a derailment hobble French transport

At the height of holiday travel, transport is in a state of chaos. Thousands of Eurostar passengers are still unable to cross the Channel Tunnel in either direction for the third day and government officials want an explanation. Earlier reports said the traffic disturbance was due to the snow and cold. The company’s president was set to meet the country’s transport minister at the Elysee Palace, according to reports. 

EU politics cause UK-France rift

BRUSSELS, Belgium — Those who start snoring at the mention of the European Commission — the European Union’s executive arm — should look again at its politics, for example a recent battle between London and Paris, or more specifically, between British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Fans of French rocker Johnny Hallyday keep vigil

Johnny Hallyday may not be widely known outside of France but loyal and worried fans are paying attention to the every detail coming out of the Cedars Sinai hospital in Los Angeles, where the 66-year-old rocker is hospitalized. Newspapers and television programs have devoted extensive coverage to his hospitalization since he was placed in an artificial coma.

Helping Americans escape domestic violence abroad

PARIS, France — Richard Branson, Yoko Ono and Doris Buffet are among the supporters of an organization that helps rescue Americans from domestic abuse they suffer while abroad. The group’s founder, Paula Lucas, knows personally the predicament of U.S. citizens in such situations. There were few resources available when she was trying to flee an abusive husband in the United Arab Emirates in the late 1990s.

Germany and France remain non-commital on Afghanistan

BRUSSELS, Belgium — For months, European allies have said they wanted to hear U.S. President Barack Obama’s plans for Afghanistan before they made any new commitments of troops to the eight-year-old war, now led by NATO. "I think most countries are waiting for the American decisions," Dutch Defense Minister Eimert Van Middelkoop said in October at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Bratislava.

Where the turkey is called chompipe and other Thanksgiving stories

Spending the night in Paris' murky underground

PARIS, France — The city of lights has an old, dark secret. Beneath its bustling streets, a pitch-black labyrinth of centuries-old subterranean galleries and caverns remains a magnet for spelunkers and street artists, disillusioned youth and thrill seekers.
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