In fact it was what allows us to live together freely.” The charter starts out by emphasising that France “respects all faiths” and that the state is neutral in regard to them. It goes on to explain, in child-friendly terms, that the absence of religion from schools affords pupils the conditions to forge their own personality, exercise free will and become citizens in an environment free from pressure or proselytising. In practice, that means that teaching staff must never give any indication of their religious (or political) convictions during lessons and that pupils cannot use their faith as a reason to challenge the content of the national curriculum, the manner of teaching or the rules of the school. The notion of the “Ecole laique” (secular school) as one of the cornerstones of the Republic and a guarantee of the universal right to the freedom of expression and thought is one that is cherished by France’s intellectual elite. Outside minority faith communities, it also enjoys strong support among the population. “To me it’s not right people coming to school with religious symbols,” said 16-year-old Arthur Rivelois outside his Parisian Lycee. “Their faith is their business, it’s nothing to do with the rest of us.” But critics wonder whether the model is suitable for modern-day, multicultural France and accuse the government of double standards. They question whether a truly secular school system would allow Christmas trees or December visits by Santa Claus, and whether it would still observe holidays on Christian Saints days. While the vast majority of school canteens dish up fish every Friday — in keeping with Roman Catholic tradition — any principal who provides halal meat for Muslim students risks incurring the wrath of militant secularists, whose cause is enthusiastically backed by the far-right, anti-immigration Front National. Interpreting the rules correctly has proved a headache for school leaders. Earlier this year a Muslim girl was excluded from her school after a headband and long skirt were deemed to constitute overtly religious garb.
21, 2013. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) Syrian refugees wait to receive a tent at Kawergost refugee camp in Irbil, 217 miles (350 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) Syrian refugees wait to receive a tent at Kawergost refugee camp in Irbil, 217 miles (350 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) Syrian refugees gather for food aid at Kawergost refugee camp in Irbil, 217 miles (350 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) Syrian refugees wait for food aid at Kawergost refugee camp in Irbil, 217 miles (350 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) A Syrian military soldier holds his AK-47 with a sticker of Syrian President Bashar Assad as he stands guard at a check point on Baghdad street, in Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) A Syrian military soldier holds his AK-47 with a sticker of Syrian President Bashar Assad and Arabic that reads, “Syria is fine,” as he stands guard at a check point on Baghdad street, in Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013.
FRANCE READY TO PARTICIPATE IN SYRIAN CHEMICAL WEAPON DESTRUCTION, WHATEVER EVERYONE WANTS REALLY
In the Senate, 37 members would vote no or are leaning that way, 21 would vote yes or are leaning toward a yes vote, and 42 are undecided or havent said, according to a count by Bloomberg News. In the House, 237 members are opposed or leaning against the authorization, a majority, with 27 voting yes or leaning yes and 169 undecided or unknown. Kerry said the U.S. is looking to Russia to put forward a detailed plan. Were waiting for that proposal, but were not waiting for long, Kerry told the House Armed Services Committee. A lot of people say that nothing focuses the mind like the prospect of a hanging, Kerry said. Well, its the credible threat of force that has been on the table for these last weeks that has, for the first time, brought this regime to even acknowledge that they have a chemical weapons arsenal. And it is the threat of this force, and our determination to hold Assad accountable, that has motivated others to even talk about a real and credible international action that might have an impact. Hurdles Cited While the proposal for chemical-weapons removal opened a diplomatic alternative to military strikes, questions also grew about the hurdles to such disarmament. Well never see this Russian plan put into action as its the sort of thing that takes years to negotiate, said Philippe Moreau-Defarges, a researcher at the French Institute of International Relations in Paris. He said Putins goal is to play for time, to push off the talk of strikes as long as possible. The longer he pushes them off, the less likely they are. Id say the chances now of strikes are about 5 percent. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron told a parliamentary committee that any proposal needs to be tested to make sure that this isnt some delaying tactic, that this isnt some ruse. The UN Security Council has been immobilized on Syria for months by Russias threat to veto measures directed at the Assad regime. Real, Verifiable Kerry said that Obama will take a hard look at whatever plan Russia puts forward but it has to be swift, it has to be real, it has to be verifiable, it cannot be a delaying tactic and, if the United Nations Security Council seeks to be the vehicle to make it happen, that cannot be allowed to simply become a debating society, Kerry said.
Syria Crisis: France To Float U.N. Security Council Resolution
With a proposal on the table to now just remove and destroy all of Syrias chemical weapons, France has jumped out to the front of the issue and crafted a UN resolution that will do that very thing, if they all agree on it of course, allowing France the opportunity to participate no matter what is happening on the ground, because really they just want to be involved. We have decided to take the initiative, said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius after tabling the proposal which was really just an idea for everyone else. The resolution would see Syrias chemical weapons, all of them, put under international control and destroyed presumably with the threat of military action if they decided not to comply. Its not clear if all the different parties who get to make this decision for Syria will be willing to sign on either because of the content of the resolution or because it was France that crafted it. If this thing works out it could be a really good thing but there is no guarantee that it will so France needs to be ready for that. They do seem to be, they seem to be ready for anything really, anything the U.S. wants to do at least. I guess with Britain out someone else is looking to become the favourite, said Scrape TV International analyst Gustav Hander. They have certainly been more active recently and this could just be an extension of that, or it could be that they smell opportunity. Whatever it is, they do seem to be ready and willing and possibly even able to do the things that the world seems like it wants to do which can only help them. Its not clear what France will do exactly if the measure fails but that will of course depend on what everyone else wants to do. This, if it passes, could be the best thing for everyone, save the rebels of course. They really wanted bombings because it would help them but no one else seemed to want that, even as some were moving towards it.