Historians and artists' petition slams new French ministry

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Nearly 200 professors, artists and others from universities around the world have signed a petition protesting at France's new Ministry of Immigration and National Identity.

They are demanding the ministry's name - which they say sends a signal immigration is a "problem" - be changed and its extensive powers cut.

The petition, published in the left-wing daily Liberation, was signed by some of France's most illustrious historians as well as professors from the University of Sydney, Princeton and Harvard in the US, Cambridge in Britain and the University of Chuo in Tokyo, Japan.

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