It didn't happen over Christmas the way Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez planned, but with his intervention - and some say collaboration - two of the hostages held by Colombian guerrillas for six years were released. Nidra Poller has been following the drama from France.
PJM Paris: It was supposed to be an action-adventure starring Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez as a Rambo-style hero. By force of his power and daring, Chavez was going to rescue hostages - including a baby - held by Colombian guerrillas. Nidra Poller reports that the French were all over the story - but the drama had a disappointing ending.
Much of the American media's election coverage may be unexceptional, but PJM's Nidra Poller says that in the hands of French journalists "specifics are blurred, issues are clouded, and a kind of lazy haze obscures the high octane energy of a primary campaign."
Jamal al Dura, who claims that Israelis fired at him and his son in 2000, was in fact injured by axe blade and not bullets in 1992, according to an Israeli surgeon who performed reconstructive surgery on the wounds two years later. PJM's Nidra Poller reports on the latest startling development in the mother of all fauxtography cases.
PJM Paris: Why would French President Nicolas Sarkozy sanction a state visit to France by the likes of Muamar Ghadafi? Well, the wild-haired Libyan leader did renounce nukes and terrorism, PJM Paris editor Nidra Poller reminds us. Remember the carrot and the stick? It's the carrot, stupid.
PJM Paris: Attempts to make Sarkozy bend to the forces of the street have hit a dead end, reports Nidra Poller.
UPDATED PJM Paris: Fires raged and mobs rioted in the Paris banlieues (suburbs) Monday night for the second night in a row, after two boys, aged 15 and 16, died when their mini-motorcycle hit a police car a day earlier, Nidra Poller reports. At least sixty policemen have been injured, and a school gym has gone up in flames.
PJM Paris: A solid majority of French citizens oppose the strike paralyzing their economy, but that isn't stopping the striking or the sabotage reports Nidra Poller.
[UPDATED] Has the Al Dura trial had its Rosemary Woods missing tapes moment? It certainly sounds that way. PJM's Nidra Poller , who witnessed the drama that unfolded yesterday in the hall of Paris' Palais de Justice, reports. [PJM Al Dura background coverage here]
PJM Paris: While newspapers in the U.S. laud President Nicolas Sarkozy with headlines like "French Fries Back On the White House Menu," and American leaders greet him warmly, coverage of his U.S. visit back home is more sour than sweet, Nidra Poller reports. [UPDATED]
PJM Paris: French president Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday helped release seven European flight attendants and journalists, among the victims of a manipulative charity called Zoe's Ark. The NGO was comprised of "self-appointed do-gooders considered themselves above the law by virtue of their 'idealistic' motives" who "used children as human shields for their overblown humanitarian pretensions," writes Nidra Poller.
PJM Paris: The French interrupted their canonization of Al Gore just long enough to pay attention to Europe's second most popular sport, reports PJM's Paris editor Nidra Poller. "Rugby France is Sarkozy France."
PJM Paris: The French court - which had previously requested of France 2 the uncut video of the supposed shooting of nine-year old Mohammed al Dura by Israeli troops - has now officially ordered the television network to produce it. Paris editor Nidra Poller continues to cover this seminal story in the history of fauxtography and the second Intifada.
PJM Paris: In a new development in the Mohammed Al Dura death investigation, the Israeli government has officially labeled the France 2 footage as fake. PJ Media Paris editor Nidra Poller reports. [Previously @ PJM: Dam Bursts at Al Dura Trial; a compendium of PJM coverage here]
PJM Paris: Many have accused the photo of young Mohammed Al Dura's father shielding him from Israeli bullets of being a fake, but the original videotape from which this photo was drawn was hidden from view by France 2. Yesterday a French judge finally ordered the channel to produce it. PJM's Nidra Poller was one of the few journalists witnessing this stunning turning point.
PJM PARIS....FLASH: The French Appellate court trial of Phillippe Karsenty in the matter of Mohammed Al Dura - the epochal case of the Palestinian boy allegedly shot by Israeli troops in 2000 - took a huge turn today. Photos of the boy have been accused of being the birth of fauxtography. For the first time the court has ordered France 2 to produce the original tapes that could prove the whole enterprise a fake.
PJM's Paris editor Nidra Poller spent a moving day on the Normandy beaches with a man who lived through the bloody WWII invasion, and contemplates the parallels with the battles being waged today. "War is hell but nations that do not have the courage to fight back when warred against are damned."
President Nicolas Sarkozy made international headlines this week when he declared, in his opening address to the French diplomatic corps, that bombing Iran might be the only alternative to a nuclear Iran. PJM's Nidra Poller analyzes the speech and finds Sarkozy's ideas very different from "the vainglorious platitudes" of his predecessor.
PJM Paris: In a surprise move being described as a gesture to the US, Bernard Kouchner - France's foreign minister - visited Baghdad Sunday, the first French official to go to Iraq in several years. PJM Paris editor Nidra Poller is monitoring the immediate reaction of the French media to what may augur a fascinating policy change for a France with closer ties to America.
European media coverage of President Nicolas Sarkozy's dealings with Libya, and his trip to Wolfeboro, New Hampshire have been something less than positive. As Sarkozy takes a pounding for his supposedly too-close relationship with Moammar Ghadafi, PJM Paris editor Nidra Poller looks at the story behind the story, and finds it lacking.
Nidra Poller transliterates the French take on Sarkozy's visit to the good 'ol USA and reminds us through the media din that, "There are a whole lot of French people over here who would be glad to share hot dogs & hamburgers with you... if only they could get a word in edgewise."
The French media and political establishment been burning with curiosity as to precisely what President Nicolas Sarkozy offered Libyan chief Muammar Ghaddafi in exchange for freeing Bulgarian and Palestinian medical personnel, reports PJM Paris editor Nidra Poller. This week, a helpful, though not very objective, source offered to supply them with the answers -- Ghaddafi's son.
In a dramatic first appearance on the world diplomatic stage, newly elected French president Nicolas Sarkozy brokered a complex deal with Libya's Muammar Ghaddafi: a measure of international respectability for the release of the Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian doctor, who spent the past eight years in a Libyan prison and were sentenced to death on trumped-up charges of deliberately infecting children with AIDS. PJM's Nidra Poller sorts through the domestic criticism of the move.
In the final installment of her adventures in Israel, PJM's Paris editor Nidra Poller immerses herself in Tel Aviv life and discovers "a very special vitality, an immensely endearing sociability, awe-inspiring courage, tremendous human resources, intensity, creativity, industriousness, joie de vivre, sense of humor, a hotbed of humanity, a miracle."
PJM editor Nidra Poller, an American who moved to Paris, visits French Jews who have recently left the country she adopted. She finds the two women who left their beloved Paris in the part of Israel that CNN never visits -- the animated sun-drenched streets of a safe, well-kept suburban city.