The French have been reading the tea leaves. Despite or perhaps because of recent violence, there seemed a new spirit of generosity towards tourists, if not to migrants. So many Americans are trooping off to art fairs. Why not also visit the most exciting performance festivals, many in France, which have a multicultural, often political, contemporary perspective? And a spate of private, hidden-away sites has also opened to the public which document the intensity of the lives and work of artists.
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With oil prices falling, corrupt officials see defense spending as their last opportunity to pocket government funds -- and they have no intention of sharing that windfall with foreign defense industry competitors. Putin's recently announced policy of substituting Russian goods for previously imported products will enable those senior officials to siphon off a significant portion of budgetary funds.