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Urgent

Twenty-two people, including children, have been killed and dozens injured by a suicide boimber at a pop concert by US star Ariana Grande, in Britain's deadliest terror attack in 12 years. The authorities are treating it as a terrorist incident. French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his horror and consternation.

Aleppo soap "made in France"

Aleppo soap
 
Constantini (left) and Frederique cut the freshly-made laurel soap "made in France" at the Alepia factory AFP/Philippe Lopez

The Syrian town of Aleppo is famous for its laurel soap. But since the war reduced the city to ruins, the vast majority of its 50 factories have closed. Now the soap is being manufactured 4,000 kms away, on the outskirts of Paris.

Franco-Syrian businessman Samir Constantini began importing Aleppo soap more than a decade ago, mainly for the French market. When his supplier's factory in the ancient Syrian city was destroyed, he invited the master soapmaker, Hassan Harastani, to come  and make the soap here in France. Using the same recipe and thousands-year old savoir faire, they now produce four tonnes a week. Their company, Alepia, supplies the French, Spanish and Polish market, and has its sights on Asia.

 

  • With Brigitte Macron will France have a first lady?

    With Brigitte Macron will France have a first lady?

    President Macron’s wife Brigitte played a big role in his election campaign and he’s made it clear he wants her to continue in it now he’s in office. …

  • Why did French voters abstain in the presidential deciding round?

    Why did French voters abstain in the presidential deciding round?

    In this week's Spotlight on France, RFI's Fabien Jannic-Cherbonnel takes a look at the high abstention rate of this year's presidential election.

  • What is driving the National Front vote?

    What is driving the National Front vote?

    There is less than a week to the run-off vote in France's presidential election between the centrist Emmanuel Macron and the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen of the …

  • Whatever happened to France's Socialists?

    Whatever happened to France's Socialists?

    Socialist candidate Benoît Hamon has been knocked out of the race to become France's president after securing just 6.2 percent of the vote in the first round of …

  • Rural France feels left out of the elections

    Rural France feels left out of the elections

    A fifth of French people live in the countryside and it remains an important part of French identity. But with the farming crisis, high unemployment, and dwindling social …

  • Juppé loyalists in Bordeaux caught in a bind

    Juppé loyalists in Bordeaux caught in a bind

    What do you do when your presidential candidate is under investigation for corruption? This is the question facing voters of the French right-wing Les Républicains …

  • Marching for Macron

    Marching for Macron

    A year ago French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron was economy minister in a Socialist government. Now he’s leading the opinion polls alongside National Front …

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