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Learning English - Words in the News
01 February, 2008 - Published 14:01 GMT
Sarkozy vs. Ryanair
The couple say the image was used without their consent

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his girlfriend Carla Bruni are suing low-cost airline Ryanair over a picture of the couple it used in an advert. Bruni, a former model, is seeking 500,000 euros - the amount she says her photo normally costs. This report from Hugh Schofield:

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The advertisement appeared in French newspapers earlier this week as part of a Ryanair promotion for cut price fares. It showed a photograph of the presidential couple with a thought bubble coming from Ms Bruni's head containing the words: "With Ryanair, all my family can attend the wedding".

Nicolas Sarkozy and the model-turned-singer Carla Bruni have had a much-reported whirlwind romance and rumours of a marriage are very much in the air.

Ryanair said that the advertisement was meant to be a bit of fun - but in France, the laws on privacy and exploitation of a person's image are very strict. Carla Bruni is suing the airline for half-a-million euros - around seven-hundred-and-fifty-thousand dollars. Her lawyers told the court this is the amount she could charge for the use of her picture in an advertising campaign. The president is asking for a symbolic one euro in damages.

Ryanair said it's willing to pay ten thousand euros to settle the case. But it's called the half-million euro claim by Ms Bruni totally unjustified. She had, the airline has said, engaged in an open, widely publicised and internationally-reported relationship with President Sarkozy. The court will deliver its ruling next Tuesday.

Listen to the words

cut price fares
cheap travel tickets

a former model and now a singer

that happened fast and unexpectedly

rumours of a marriage are very much in the air
people talk a lot about the possibility of the couple getting married

greatly limiting someone's freedom to behave as they wish, and likely to severely punish them if they disobey

is suing
here, has asked a court to punish the airline by ordering it to pay compensation (compensation is money that is paid to someone in exchange for some inconvenience)

here, not enough as compensation but morally important

to settle the case
here, to stop the couple talking publicly about the advertisement and demanding compensation

totally unjustified
very unfair, having no reason

deliver its ruling
say what its decision is

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