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Queens of French cinema spar over Hollande

French acting legend Catherine Deneuve has hit out at fellow actress Sophie Marceau after she accused President Francois Hollande of being a cad. Marceau, 47, took the swipe at Hollande in the May issue of the French edition of GQ magazine over Hollande's affair with actress Julie Gayet. "He has mistresses and when that is found out, he refuses to talk about it. A guy who behaves like that with women is a cad," she said.

Valls under fire over France cuts programme, benefits freeze

France's new Prime Minister Manuel Valls came under fire Wednesday after unveiling a freeze in state benefits as part of a plan to cut state spending by 50 billion euros ($70 billion). The Socialist government has pledged to make the savings between 2015-2017 to finance a package of payroll and income tax cuts designed to bolster demand, make companies more competitive and attract investment. Known as the Responsibility Pact, the plan is the centrepiece of President Francois Hollande's strategy for reviving a flagging economy and cutting unemployment.

France's Hollande would lose election vs. Sarkozy, Le Pen: poll

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande would be beaten at the polls by both his center-right predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy and far-right rival Marine Le Pen if he ran for re-election this week, an opinion survey showed on Tuesday. Hollande's popularity has plummeted to record lows since he came to power two years ago, with voters increasingly frustrated about his failure to kickstart economic growth and bring down an unemployment rate stuck above 10 percent.

French President Hollande's popularity sinks as new PM's rises

Popular approval for French President Francois Hollande has hit a new low of 18 percent, far below the 58 percent for his new Prime Minister Manuel Valls, an opinion poll showed Sunday. The least popular French president for decades, Hollande's poll rating fell five points, dipping below 20 percent for the first time since coming to power in 2012.

US finding reluctance among major economic powers for tougher sanctions on Russia over Ukraine

WASHINGTON - Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is warning Russia that it could face tougher economic sanctions because of its actions in Ukraine but so far other economic powers are showing a reluctance to go as far as the United States. Lew delivered his warning Thursday to Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, telling him that the Obama administration was willing to impose "additional significant sanctions" if Russia escalates the Ukraine situation. Treasury said in a statement that Lew described Russia's annexation of Crimea as "illegal and illegitimate."

IMF's Lagarde to press Japan on women

IMF chief Christine Lagarde said Thursday she would raise with Japan ways to increase women's participation in the work force as she looks for clarity on structural reforms. The International Monetary Fund has cut its 2014 growth forecast for Japan as it waits for a promised "third arrow" of structural reforms promised by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Lagarde said she would speak with Finance Minister Taro Aso, who is in Washington for annual IMF/World Bank spring meetings, about "what the timetable is, and what the extent of the reform is."

US finding reluctance among major economic powers for tougher sanctions on Russia over Ukraine

WASHINGTON - Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is warning Russia that it could face tougher economic sanctions because of its actions in Ukraine but so far other economic powers are showing a reluctance to go as far as the United States. Lew delivered his warning Thursday to Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, telling him that the Obama administration was willing to impose "additional significant sanctions" if Russia escalates the Ukraine situation. Treasury said in a statement that Lew described Russia's annexation of Crimea as "illegal and illegitimate."

IMF 'collateral' victim of US politics

The International Monetary Fund has become a "collateral" victim of US politics, preventing it from completing a sweeping funding increase and reform plan, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said Thursday. Lagarde said the Fund was still hoping the US Congress would ratify the plan, with the approval of the Fund's largest stakeholder necessary to implement it. But she acknowledged that, four years after being agreed by the Fund it has become stuck on Capitol Hill.

Bond sale shows Greece headed in 'right direction'

Greece's successful bond issue on Thursday shows that the long-troubled economy is approaching the end of its long crisis, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said. "I see the issuance that took place today, which was massively oversubscribed, as an indication that Greece is heading in the right direction," Lagarde told reporters at the World Bank/International Monetary Fund annual spring meetings. sct/pmh

Bond sale shows Greece headed in 'right direction'

Greece's successful bond issue on Thursday shows that the long-troubled economy is approaching the end of its crisis, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said. "I see the issuance that took place today, which was massively oversubscribed, as an indication that Greece is heading in the right direction and that the water-testing that the authorities wanted to do is really successful," Lagarde told reporters at the World Bank/International Monetary Fund annual spring meetings.
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