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Monday
Jul152013

French President Has Stormy Bastille Day

BERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/GettyImages(PARIS) -- France's Bastille Day was supposed to have given French President Francois Hollande a much-needed break from the woes that have beset him since becoming the country's leader in May 2012.

However, the weak French economy and last week's fatal train crash outside Paris provided Hollande no respite from his troubles.

Marking the July 14, 1789, storming of a prison that helped spur the French Revolution, the French government celebrated Bastille Day on Sunday with a huge parade in Paris that included African troops marching with French soldiers to mark France's intervention in Mali that helped drive back radical Islamist forces.

However, Hollande, a socialist who replaced unpopular President Nicolas Sarkozy, faced sharp questioning after the parade from journalists during a TV interview about European Union-mandated budget cuts that will affect France's vaunted pension programs.

Meanwhile, the country is still shaken by last Friday's train derailment that left six people dead and dozens wounded.  There have been reports that a rail joint may have been moved out of position although officials are saying that another train had passed through earlier without incident.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio