- - Sunday, July 15, 2012

PARIS — First lady Valerie Trierweiler has said she now will think twice before tweeting, a month after she used the microblogging site Twitter to snub her rival, the president’s former partner.

Ms. Trierweiler sent out a tweet wishing good luck to an opponent of Segolene Royal — President Francois Hollande’s ex-partner and mother of their four children — in last month’s legislative elections.

The tweet attracted widespread media coverage, with the French press calling it an embarrassment to Mr. Hollande shortly after his victory in the presidential race.

“I will count to 10 before tweeting,” Ms. Trierweiler, 47, told French television Saturday during a visit with the president to the northwestern city of Brest.

Mr. Hollande, 57, had said earlier in the day: “Private affairs are resolved in private. And I have told this to those close to me so they can scrupulously accept this principle.”

The flurry of commentary around Ms. Trierweiler’s tweet has raised questions in France about the public role of the president’s partner.

Ms. Trierweiler, a journalist who is still working for her longtime employer, Paris Match magazine — though she has given up the politics beat for the culture section — said before Mr. Hollande took office that she did not want to be a “figurehead.”


Father of pope’s butler defends imprisoned son

The father of Pope Benedict XVI’s imprisoned butler said in a letter published Sunday that his son is honest and that he hopes the truth will emerge concerning the leaks of sensitive Vatican documents.

Andrea Gabriele’s comments marked the first by relatives of papal butler Paolo Gabriele, who was arrested May 23 after scores of documents from the papal apartments were found in his Vatican City home.

Paolo Gabriele is accused of aggravated theft and remains the only suspect in the case of leaked Vatican documents, which exposed corruption, infighting and power struggles in the Catholic Church’s highest levels of governance.

While Andrea Gabriele defended his son, he hinted that the motivation behind the leaks was to expose wrongdoing for the sake of purifying the church. He said he hoped that Benedict’s call to carry out “the necessary cleaning of the church” is realized.

“Paolo is paying the price firsthand for a reality that’s difficult to understand until the motive of what has happened is made public,” Mr. Gabriele wrote in the letter to Italian television station Tgcom 24, which published it on its website.

The younger Mr. Gabriele, a 46-year-old father of three, has been imprisoned in a holding facility inside the Vatican gendarmes’ barracks since his arrest. He is allowed regular visits by his family and attorneys, and attends Mass weekly.


2 more deaths on Mont Blanc

ROME — Two more climbers have died on Mont Blanc after the deaths of nine people last week in a massive avalanche, rescue crews in Italy and France said Sunday.

An Italian Alpine rescue team military official said the bodies of a Polish woman and Spanish man were found 14,436 feet up on the Dome du Gouter peak on the Italian-French border Saturday night after spending more than 24 hours in a snow hole.

Rescue services said the man and woman had been climbing with two Spaniards when they were caught in bad weather Friday night. The Spaniards managed to reach the Gouter mountain refuge earlier Saturday and alerted authorities, who sent help.

A massive avalanche on one of Mont Blanc’s most popular routes, Mont Maudit, killed nine climbers and injured 14 others Thursday.

Mont Blanc is western Europe’s highest peak, at 15,782 feet.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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