A tape of a man claiming to be Osama Bin Laden threatening France appears to be authentic, the French Foreign Ministry said Thursday. Bin Laden warned France to get its troops out of Afghanistan and not to oppress Muslims at home in a tape broadcast by the Al-Jazeera network Wednesday.

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Yemen and France, the French Cultural Center in Sana’a launched a photo exhibition entitled “Words of Eyes”,for 8 Yemeni photographers, on Tuesday.

Over the years, France, a member of the European Union (EU), has used cultural diplomacy to win over countries and spread her influence around the world. In French-speaking Africa, the European economic powerhouse has sustained her ties, through cultural programmes, whether in cinema theatre, music or fashion.

Many in France see the country as open to the world and a champion of human rights, a nation bound by liberty, equality and brotherhood. But tough government law-and-order policies including crackdowns on Gypsies and a ban on Islamic veils are causing trouble for France's image abroad. A report handed this week to President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative party says the country should use stronger public diplomacy to better explain itself.

Move over Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. Lay witness to yet another Arabic 24/7 television news channel to enter the high-stakes game of international broadcasting in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena).

The United States doesn't always do the best job of promoting itself abroad. Lots of people in lots of different places like to burn American flags and chant anti-U.S. slogans. It's stock footage at this point. But yesterday the New York Times highlighted an encouraging U.S. cultural diplomacy effort in a pretty unexpected area: French banlieues.

September 23, 2010

IT WAS operation damage control this week, as the Elysée tried to revive the president’s standing abroad after sharp criticism of his expulsion of Romanies...For all the president’s defiance, the French have been knocked by the response to the Romani row. Fully 71% of respondents to one poll said that they thought France’s image abroad had been tainted.