World Briefs: French Foreign Minister to leave post

French Foreign Minister to leave post

PARIS • French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said yesterday he was going to leave office, as had been widely expected, in a move that is set to trigger a wider reshuffle of the unpopular government.

Mr Fabius, 69, told reporters that yesterday was his last participation in the government's weekly Cabinet meetings and that he expected the full reshuffle to be announced later this week.

President Francois Hollande is expected to nominate him to head the country's top constitutional court.

Mr Fabius holds the distinction of being France's youngest-ever prime minister, a post he took up at 37.

The reshuffle is an opportunity for Mr Hollande to reshape his team ahead of the presidential elections next year, as he seeks to improve his low approval ratings.


Russian church hopes papal talks will fix ties

MOSCOW • The Russian Orthodox Church said it hoped a historic first meeting between its Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis would herald a new era of cooperation between two Christian branches that have been estranged for centuries.

The Vatican announced on Friday that the pair will meet in Cuba tomorrow, in the first gathering of its kind since the bitter 11th-century split that divided Christianity into Western and Eastern branches.

Relations have warmed of late between Rome and other branches of the Orthodox tradition.

But the Russian one, the most influential in the Eastern family, had maintained its distance until now.


Australia set to legalise cannabis cultivation

SYDNEY • Australia is expected to legalise the cultivation of cannabis for medical or scientific purposes with a Bill introduced to Parliament yesterday - the first step towards doctors eventually prescribing it to patients with chronic pain.

The Bill will see Australia create a national licensing and permit scheme to supply medical cannabis to patients with painful and chronic conditions on clinical trials.

Several Australian states have committed to starting trials for the cultivation of cannabis for medical and research purposes, but current laws forbid the growing of the plant.

As a result, Australian manufacturers, researchers and patients on clinical trials have been forced to access international supplies of legal medicinal marijuana.

But costs, limited supply and export barriers make this challenging.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 11, 2016, with the headline 'World Briefs: French Foreign Minister to leave post'. Print Edition | Subscribe