Alarmist predictions in the press about the quality of French diplomacy are now commonplace in France, with diplomats saying that the country’s “soft power” capability is being seriously degraded.

A United Nations human rights body rebuked France on Friday for its crackdown on Roma and urged the government to try to integrate members of the EU's biggest ethnic minority rather than send them to eastern Europe. The 18 independent experts voiced concern that some of the hundreds of Roma flown to Romania in recent weeks under what France calls a voluntary repatriation programme had not been fully informed of their rights or freely consented.

...why are fewer students choosing to take French? And no offence to the likes of Charles De Gaulle, Asterix and the Michelin Man, but does it really matter?...The sudden decline in French-speaking could mark the end of a long-held attachment the British have felt to the language.

The lack of a central body in France to oversee the authenticity of halal meat has made some experts doubt that animals have been slaughtered following the correct Islamic procedures...France has Western Europe's biggest Muslim population and producers are battling for a piece of the 5.5 billion euro ($7.05 billion) halal meat market.

The indefinite postponement of Saudi King Abdullah's scheduled visit to the French capital last month does not bode well for France's efforts to considerably raise its profile in the Gulf Cooperation Council, and it could well dampen the supposed gains made by French President Nicolas Sarkozy's two visits to the desert kingdom last year.

A live television programme linking the capital cities of Vietnam, Laos and France was broadcast on July 31 to mark President Ho Chi Minh’s 120th birthday and the 20th anniversary of UNESCO’s recognition of him as "a hero of national liberation and a great man of culture."

A "groundbreaking" new exhibition of rare artifacts from Saudi Arabia's ancient past -- some which have never been shown abroad -- has opened in the Louvre, Paris. The world-famous museum is hosting Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia...

For the first time, the ancient past of Saudi Arabia is at the heart of an exhibition at Paris’ iconic Louvre museum, which is showing works that have never left their country before.