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(MENAFN - AFP) France's economy contracted by 0.1 percent in the second quarter, the Insee statistics agency said Friday, revising an initial estimate of zero growth.

The revision, which shows both consumers and businesses held back spending in April through June, will be unwelcome news for the government as it puts together its 2017 budget and as campaigning in the French ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) India signed a formal agreement Friday to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France's Dassault for a reported 7.9 billion euros ($8.8 billion), one of its biggest defence deals in decades.

India's Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian signed the agreement at a ceremony in New Delhi after years of tortuous negotiations ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Southeast Asia's leading ride-hailing firm Grab on Friday teamed up with a US-based software developer to run a limited public trial of a self-driving car service in Singapore.

Applications for free rides on the "robo-cars" opened on Friday, with the service expected to kick off next week, Grab Singapore head Lim Kell Jay told journalists.

The revolutionary ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) A Shanghai restaurant has closed down just a day after being awarded a coveted star in the Michelin guide's first mainland Chinese edition.

Taian Table -- one of 26 restaurants in the city to receive Michelin stars -- "suspended" business on Thursday "due to internal reorganisation", a notice on its front door said.

The starred establishment, on the ground ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Lebanese like Hamza al-Sees should have no problem finding a beach to while away the summer in a country stretching along the Mediterranean.

But as private developers have gobbled up seafront land and families complain of ever-more polluted waters, many Lebanese say it is cheaper and cleaner to fly abroad than go to the beach at home.

"I went to Cyprus ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Investors took a breather in Asia Friday after two days of strong gains while the dollar recovered some ground on the yen after the Federal Reserve's decision to hold interest rates sent it tumbling.

World equities and high-yielding currencies have soared since Wednesday when the Bank of Japan said it would target boosting inflation and the Federal Reserve ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The winemakers of Chianti knew they were on to something good when rivals started copying them.

By the early 18th century, the sale of counterfeit bottles to ever-thirsty England had become so rife that the local merchant nobles felt compelled to act.

Three hundred years ago on Saturday, Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, issued a decree declaring that ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Legendary French art dealer Paul Rosenberg, who championed names such as Matisse, Picasso and Braque before being forced to flee Paris during the Second World War, is honoured in a new exhibition in Belgium.

The exhibition is based on a book written by Rosenberg's grand daughter, the renowned French political journalist Anne Sinclair, telling the story of ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) A group of children stand by a swimming pool in Kiev clutching their goggles and dreaming of emulating the heroes they just watched scoop medals at the Paralympic Games in Rio.

Ukraine's team finished in a surprising third place in Brazil ahead of giants like the United States and Germany -- a stunning result for the ex-Soviet nation where disabled people ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Chinese conglomerate Wanda announced plans Friday to invest in movies produced by Sony Pictures under an agreement that moves the company closer to its goal of becoming a major Hollywood player.

Owned by one of the country's richest men, billionaire Wang Jianlin, Wanda is seeking to shift its focus from property to services and entertainment as profits wane ...

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