' ng news this hour. crunch time for greece -- eurozone ministers meet in brussels in a last attempt to renegotiate the country's bailout. germany has set a firm no to athens' lead to extend the deadline by six months. in ukraine, they are still declaring support for the tattered cease-fire. german chancellor angela merkel and president francois hollande have been meeting in paris. the french film industry gets ready to roll out the red carpet
. american actor sean payton is -- sean penn is set to receive a lifetime achievement award tonight. we begin in brussels where eurozone finance ministers are preparing for a meeting to try to solve the crisis over greece's bailout deal. they put forth a proposal for the six-month extension of the eurozone program instead of renewing the existing deal. however, germany has firmly rejected any such move. reporter: battling it out to find a last-minute compromise. after germany gave a resounding "nein," europe's finance
ministers are working on a take-it-or-leave-it program for athens. greece could run out of funds by march, not to mention increasing fears of bank runs. they called the extension request a trojan horse. germany's economic minister took a more diplomatic approach. >> this offer is not sufficient. it lacks concrete measures that need to be taken in grace. >>reporter: germany has the clout to block a deal, which could further isolate greece. berlin and brussels want athens to commit more clearly to its current credit terms. the newly elected prime minister 's government must stick to its anti-austerity campaign promises , even if the clock is ticking.
>> we are not at odds with germany. we have a public mandate which asks for an end to austerity and the bailout, and our government cannot and will not deviate from that mandate. reporter: even if alexis tsipras wants to focus more on growth than austerity measures, his government is facing increasing pressure to accept a compromise. annette: german chancellor angela merkel is meeting president france lond, talking about the greek debt crisis and worsening -- francois hollande talking about the greek debt crisis and worsening crisis in ukraine. we will speak to our international affairs editor armen georgian. much of the focus has been on germany's -- germany versus greece over the country's debt crisis. what role is france playing in all of this? armen: french president francois hollande has spoken on the phone
this week several times with the greek prime minister, alexis tsipras. we don't have a lot of details about the content of those calls, but we can only assume that mr. citrus -- tsipras has been trying to get mr. hollande too soft in the line on greece -- mr. hollande to soften the line on greece. france is not showing any signs of raking with -- of breaking with the eurozone finance ministers. we are not expecting president hollande to suddenly shift later this morning when he gives that press conference with angela merkel. i think it will be very similar to recent french language, very diplomatic, sitting on the fence language, if you will, about the need to find a mutually acceptable solution for greece
and its international creditors. annette: the other big news story today is the fact that the cease-fire in the eastern ukraine is looking increasingly fragile. will these two leaders be talking about plans to rescue the minsk agreement? armen: yes, without a doubt. minsk is a hot potato which will have been discussed for the last hour or so in the palace behind me. the official position of both leaders is that minsk is not dead. indeed, that was the message coming out of a four-way telephone call yesterday thursday between the four leaders, angela merkel, france will on, petro poroshenko -- francois hollande, petro poroshenko, and vladimir putin. some would say this is a mortal blow to minsk, therefore to the credibility of these leaders. the question is, what do angela merkel and francois hollande do
next? we will have to watch the press conference to see whether they have any dance -- plans or whether they will wait to see if things calmed down after debaltseve. perhaps they will simply keep on insisting that everyone on her this unraveling peace accord -- everyone honor this unraveling peace accord. annette: armen georgian, thank you. fighting continues in eastern ukraine. all sides are still insisting they support the cease-fire, despite a number of violations. kiev says the rebels have shelled ukrainian positions more than 50 times in the last 24 hours alone. oliver farry has more. oliver: pro-russian separatists put on display their prisoners ukrainian troops captured during the battle for debaltseve, a transport hub located between donetsk and -- a total of 90 troops were taken
prisoner when debaltseve fell to the rebels on wednesday, and many others are still missing. russia's prime minister dmitry medvedev -- ngf, ukrainian president accused separatists -- and he have -- in kiev, the ukrainian president accused separatists of wanting destruction. >> they wiped out to baltimore -- out debaltseve from the face of the earth. now debaltseve reminds me of the moon landscape. >> but for russian -- but pro-russian forces may not be stopping there. there are reports that fighting has returned to marry a poll -- to mariupol a strategic port. >> our intelligence shows it is clear the separatists are preparing a large offensive on mariupol.
oliver: the united states joined in condemnation of the attacks. >> the united states condemns the attacks around mariupol and eastern ukraine. they have violated the cease-fire more than 250 times since cease-fire took effect on february 15. oliver: german chancellor angela merkel and french president france will on our to meet -- francois hollande are to meet in france on friday for talks. annette: the russian court has jailed the top russian critic, a move that will prevent him from attending a massive opposition protest planned for march 1. he was arrested after handing out flyers. navalny had been given a suspended sentence. he says the legal cases against him are motivated by his
opposition to russian president vladimir putin. in the united states -- the united states and turkey have signed a deal to train and arm moderate rebels. it is a turning point in diplomatic relations between the nations. they are still divided over who the rebels will be fighting. >> finally united in the fight against islamic state group turkey and the united states have signed an agreement in ankara. they will launch, train, and equip rebels from the free syrian army. training is expected to begin in turkey. qatar and saudi arabia have also pledged -- offered to host the program. >> [inaudible] i agree with you this is a start. there's a lot of work ahead of us but i'm pleased that we have taken this step. >> the u.s. military plans to
send hundreds of troops, including special forces, to oversee the program. the rebels will be strictly that is, given basic military skills -- strictly vetted and given basic military skills. it comes after months of the u.s. and turkey unable to agree on issues, how to distinguish the moderate from the more extreme rebels and how to arm them for combat. turkey is keen to go even further. >> the rebels will fight against islamic state and other terrorist organizations on the ground as well as those loyal to the syrian regime. >> u.s. congress voted onto jake -- on tuesday a budget of half $1 billion -- of half a billion dollars for the program. the united states wants the first group of rebels to be fully trained by the end of the year. annette: two tropical cyclones have slammed into australia
knocking out power to homes and forcing evacuations in many coastal areas. one of them pounded the coast near yeppoon. it has been downgraded to a category 3 storm, but forecasters are warning of heavy rain and high tides. it hit the coast late thursday causing extensive damage to remote communities. it is some 500 kilometers east of darwin. france's annual economic -- annual culture fair gets underway this weekend, attracting some -- several hundreds of thousands. it provides a transfer multiple photo opportunities. >> the first of many hooves touched down on the pavement.
not just any beast can be entered. they must first get grilled by beefed up security. >> each animal has a task force and a certificate. it is only then that we let them in. >> next, they moved to their sleeping quarters. they are often agitated and in need of a little time to chew the cud. >> everything is getting underway. we are getting the cows ready and the breeders. the success of this whole show depends on the process. >> several hundred thousand are set to drop in. there are some 4000 animals including sheep, pigs and llamas on display. with so much at stake, man and beast hit the hay while they can before the show kicks off. annette: we are joined in the
studio by our europe editor. in tomorrow's talking europe, you are looking at the policies. you have been talking about this. a lot of them are not happy about this. >> absolutely not. i met farmers in france. i traveled to greece. i went all the way to spain and germany to understand how the agricultural policy functions. it was launched in 1962 to ensure you -- food security on the continent, through a system of payments and subsidies, but it remains controversial for several reasons. it swallows almost 40% of the eu budget. small-scale farmers accuse the scheme of favoring big farms. this year, the eu unveiled a reform of the common
agricultural policy to make it greener and more efficient. i spoke during the show to france's agricultural minister. he is a staunch supporter of the c.a.p. i asked him why the c.a.p. is so important to france. >> in farms like this one, farmers make 30% to 40% of their income from eu subsidies. what happens if you lose this? you will see a greater concentration of the production. in scandinavia and in the united kingdom, they think that is ok, but we don't want it. >> you can watch the entire show tomorrow at 10 minutes past 12:00, paris time. annette: make sure not to miss it. harris is gearing up -- paris is
gearing up for the french version of the oscars. it has been an intriguing battle playing out between two films. the spotlight will also be on "twilight" star kristen stewart. the first american woman in some 30 years to be up for an award. u.s. actor sean penn will receive a lifetime achievement award at the ceremony. he met president hollande late thursday, where they were discussing relief operations in haiti, with which he has been closely involved. let's take a look at what is making news this hour and crunch time for greece. eurozone ministers are to meet in brussels in a last attempt to renegotiate the country's bailout. germany has already set a firm no to athens' plea to extend the deadline by six months. also in ukraine, both sides still declaring support of that
tattered cease-fire. french president francois hollande meeting german chancellor angela merkel in paris. fighting continues to get closer to the city of mariupol. france gets ready to roll out the red carpet for its equivalent of the red carpet -- of the oscars. american actor sean penn is set to receive a lifetime achievement award. time now for the business news. we are starting out with talks in brussels. >> it will be the third round of talks in just under a week. the greek debt crisis -- greece formally requested six-month loan extension, a proposal that was rejected by berlin. the country described it as a trojan horse. germany said it would -- greece called it a starting point. >> a very carefully worded text. greece sent this letter to the
eurogroup, requesting a six-month extension on their loan program. using the terminology, the letter made no mention of the word bailout, because that would entail more austerity measures exactly what alexis tsipras' government hopes to avoid. it requested an extension of the loan program. reese hasn't asked only for more time -- greece has not asked only for more time, they have made other requests. they want to renegotiate the term of their bailout agreement. they don't want any future unilateral agreements to be imposed on them by creditors. they want to be able to spend more to help the poor, which would mean giving into government savings. demands that germany has balked at and demands that germany may not really -- that greece may not be able to make. >> greece has no alternative but to come to agreement with the eu. the debt of 300 billion euros
nice to be paid back one way or another -- needs to be paid back one way or another otherwise greece will be bankrupt. >> tsipras' government said they are willing to go back on something they had been strongly against -- being supervised by the so-called troika. >> he said he was certain greece's proposal would be accepted. business activity in the eurozone has hit a seven month high. one index came in at 53.3. a reading over 50 signals expansion. that upbeat news impacted european shares. all of them have their attention focused on the greek debt talks. the ftse is trading up by nearly 3/10 of 1%. the athens composite is up 1.5%.
let's take a look at sound of the other stories making headlines as our -- headlines this hour. bloomberg news is reporting apple is pushing for the production of an electric vehicle by as early as 2020. the ceo wants the company's products and services to further surrounds people's lives. apple has cash reserves of 170 ilion dollars -- $178 billion. sanofi-aventis has appointed a new director. he was previously chairman and ceo of another health care company. sanofi-aventis fired their chief executive over his handling of the business. french dairy company dannon has reported a fall in its full-year net profit. it is down 21%. a full recovery in europe increase in milk prices, and tensions between ukraine and
russia are negatively affecting its business. i now ned with -- now end with news that could put itching can the armor of -- put a chink in the armor of potential presidential candidate hillary clinton. the wall street journal has reported that, at the same time those companies gave money to the clinton global foundation, the initiative set up by former u.s. president bill clinton -- they have reportedly donated more than $26 million. those revelations are going to play into the hands of misses clinton's -- mrs. clinton's many critics. annette: they certainly are especially as we wait to see whether she will throw her hat into the ring. thank you for the business news. time now for the press review.
welcome back. it is time to take a look at what is making headlines across the world. lots of focus on the instability in eastern ukraine. on wednesday, ukrainian troops withdrawing from that strategic railway hub. >> absolutely. debaltseve. that is getting a lot of attention in ukrainian press. "the key of post -- "the kieve post." what is next on russia's hit list? it takes a closer look and examines potential ukrainian-held targets for attack by russian forces and their proxy. you see the map with the oragne circles -- the orange circles are the potential targets. some of them are well beyond the demarcation line. annette: many papers are reporting on fears coming out of the u.k. that the russian
aggression could spread. florence: you can read about the comments that were made by the u.k. defense secretary in several papers. this was michael fallon. he sounded the alarm on wednesday, when he was speaking to journalists. he said, "i'm worried about putin." he says that russia poses a clear danger to baltic states latvia lithuania estonia, all once part of the soviet union. he says the nato must prepare for aggression from russia in whatever form it takes. "the independent" sent reporters to the capital of latvia to see how locals their feel about the situation. -- see how locals there feel about the situation. many feel they could be next in the kremlin's firing line. annette: u.s. presidential hopeful jeb bush gave his first
major foreign-policy speech in chicago. how did it go down? florence: it depends on who you ask, as you can imagine. he tried to differentiate himself from his father and his brother, both former u.s. presidents. he said he would be his own man when it comes to foreign policy. he has drawn criticism from left-wing publications. "the daily beast" made fun of him for this beach. -- this speech. they said he bungled facts and pronunciation when he was speaking about boko haram. you can see some u.s. publications poking fun at him. "the daily beast" said he tried to sound presidential, but he sounded like a not well-versed former governor in foreign-policy. a british paper comes to his defense and says that his last name is a major obstacle for jeb bush.
don't judge jeb bush by the presidency of his brother, george bush. jeb bush is a possible candidate worthy of the republican ticket according to "the independent." annette: the paris agricultural show is kicking off tomorrow. florence: just down the road from our studio here at "france 24." this is a major event here in france. it is the world's largest and most important agricultural fair. you can see a cow on the front page. it takes a closer look at the excitement you have in france, because this event draws more and more crowds every year. why is it so popular? it is part of nostalgia here in france. that's what drives people to go and look at the cows and chickens. people are very attached to france's historical agricultural side. quite paradoxical about that though.
they go more into detail. there is this draw from crowds in paris to agriculture at a time when the procession of farming is dying. annette: many feel there have -- they have been abandoned. florence: many people in the french countryside feel they have been abandoned by politicians and the administration, and all this has led to a feeling of anger among many people in rural communities, farmers especially. "l'opinion" says rural france is on the verge of a peasant revolt. what is ironic is it will be a major traffic jam of politicians at the agricultural fair. you can read about that in "l'/ opinion" as well. politicians will rush to the fair because it is a major pr opportunity, to be seen, to show
themselves, and to show they care about farming. annette: of course. finally, a very quick word about french catholics and dating websites. florence: one particular website, very popular here in france, which encourages extramarital affairs. it has more than one million members. very popular among a certain crowd, but very unpopular among the french catholics. a group of french catholics is suing gleeden for openly encouraging people to break their marriage vows. it is interesting to note that adultery has not been illegal in france since 1975. it is unclear how successful these catholics will be, but they did manage to make gleeden take down some advertising in several parts of the country around paris, except for in the paris metro which is holding its ground.