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France's far-right to ban faith-based school lunch options

PARIS (Reuters) - Far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen said on Friday it would prevent schools from offering special lunches to Muslim pupils in the 11 towns it won in local elections, saying such arrangements were contrary to France's secular values. France's republic has a strict secular tradition enforceable by law, but faith-related demands have risen in recent years, especially from the country's five-million-strong Muslim minority, the largest in Europe.

Football: France sells TV rights for nearly $1 billion

France's top football league sold domestic television rights for 2016-20 for a record sum of nearly one billion dollars a year, officials said Friday. The new deal saw Ligue 1 sold for 726 million euros ($994 million) a year and the second division for 22 million euros a year. The Canal Plus cable television broadcaster made the biggest offer to secure the right to the first choice of the two best Ligue 1 matches each week. The previous record for 2008-2012 sold for 668 million euros a year while this season and next the figure falls to 607 million euros.

Russia faces July deadline to fix $2.2 billion trucking row

By Tom Miles GENEVA (Reuters) - Russia is inflicting $2.2 billion of annual costs on crossborder trade by enforcing illegal customs charges and inspections on trucks, the Secretary General of the International Road Transport Union said on Friday.

Ukraine PM says will stick to austerity despite Moscow pressure

By Natalia Zinets, Richard Balmforth and Paul Ingrassia KIEV (Reuters) - The Kiev government will stick to unpopular austerity measures "as the price of independence" as Russia steps up pressure on Ukraine to destabilize it, including by raising the price of gas, Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk told Reuters.

Ukraine PM says will stick to austerity despite Moscow pressure

By Natalia Zinets, Richard Balmforth and Paul Ingrassia KIEV (Reuters) - The Kiev government will stick to unpopular austerity measures "as the price of independence" as Russia steps up pressure on Ukraine to destabilise it, including by raising the price of gas, Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk told Reuters.

Turkey lifts controversial Twitter ban

Turkey lifted a much-criticised block on Twitter on Thursday, 24 hours after its highest court had overturned the ban as a breach of the right to free speech. Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan on March 20 shuttered access to the social media site after it had been used to spread a torrent of anonymous leaks implicating his inner circle in corruption. Turkey's NATO allies and international human rights groups strongly criticised the ban -- as well as an ongoing block of video-sharing website YouTube -- as a step backward for Turkey's democracy.

Chileans spend second night outdoors after new quake

Thousands of shaken Chileans spent a second night in the streets and makeshift shelters early Thursday following a 7.6-magnitude earthquake that struck 24 hours after an even stronger tremor killed six. President Michelle Bachelet, who was assessing damage from Tuesday's massive 8.2 jolt, was among those forced to flee late Wednesday as the latest temblor sowed terror among already exhausted and nervous residents.

Turkey lifts controversial Twitter ban

Turkey lifted a much-criticised block on Twitter on Thursday, 24 hours after its highest court overturned the ban as a breach of the right to free speech. Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan on March 20 shuttered access to the social media site after it had been used to spread a torrent of anonymous leaks implicating his inner circle in corruption. Turkey's NATO allies and international human rights groups strongly criticised the ban -- as well as an ongoing block of video-sharing website YouTube -- as a step backward for Turkey's democracy.

Turkey lifts controversial Twitter ban

Turkey lifted a much-criticised block on Twitter on Thursday, 24 hours after its highest court overturned the ban as a breach of the right to free speech. Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan on March 20 shuttered access to the social media site after it had been used to spread a torrent of anonymous leaks implicating his inner circle in corruption. Turkey's NATO allies and international human rights groups strongly criticised the ban -- as well as an ongoing block of video-sharing website YouTube -- as a step backward for Turkey's democracy.

Japan cancels next Antarctic whaling hunt after ICJ ruling

Japan said Thursday it was cancelling its annual Antarctic whaling hunt for the first time in more than a quarter of a century after a UN court ruled that the programme was a commercial activity disguised as science. A "deeply disappointed" Tokyo earlier this week said it would honour Monday's judgement by the United Nations' Hague-based International Court of Justice but did not exclude the possibility of future whaling programmes.
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