French President Emmanuel Macron marked Remembrance Day on Monday by relighting the flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under Paris' Arc de Triomphe, below a spectacular giant tricolor flag.
Greeted by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, Macron laid a wreath and inspected troops during the otherwise low-key ceremony marking 101 years since the Armistice that ended the combat of World War I.
He also stopped by the nearby tomb of French wartime leader Georges Clemenceau.
The rousing sound of military band brass music was slightly muffled by persistent rain for the hundreds of spectators — including former French Presidents Francois Holland and Nicolas Sarkozy — thronging the Champs Elysees avenue, some of whom waved French flags.
Macron was lunching with guests at the Elysee Palace, who include flag bearers and presidents of veterans associations.
The French leader will later inaugurate a monument for the hundreds of soldiers who died in foreign operations since 1963, whom the military calls "the fourth generation of fire."
Since the 1960s, 549 French soldiers have died in 17 theaters of conflict including 141 in Lebanon, 129 in Chad, 85 in Afghanistan and 78 in the former Yugoslavia.
Commemorations were also underway in France's wartime ally, Britain.
The Royal British Legion urged the nation to remember the 100th anniversary of the first two-minute silence observed on Armistice Day by shutting out modern technology and all distractions.
"This year we're asking the nation to pause — mute your phone, close your laptop, switch off the telly — for just two minutes and pay your respects to our Armed Forces community, past and present," the legion said on its website. "Join us at 11 a.m. on 11 November for the two-minute silence."
The HMS Queen Elizabeth held one of the many ceremonies taking place across Britain to mark the day. Posting a short video on Twitter, the ship's crew honored the fallen by spelling out "Lest we Forget" on the aircraft carrier's massive deck.
Britain's largest ceremony took place Sunday . The event in central London is traditionally held on the closest Sunday to the anniversary of the end of World War I at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918.
Queen Elizabeth II led the nation in remembering the war dead, as the political leaders paused campaigning for Britain's Dec. 12 election to take part in a somber service in London.
The queen, dressed in black, watched from a balcony as her son and heir Prince Charles laid a wreath of scarlet poppies on the Cenotaph war memorial near Parliament. The 93-year-old monarch, who served as an army mechanic during World War II, performed the wreath-laying herself for most of her 67-year reign, but has cut back on her public duties.
The British economy avoided falling into recession in the third quarter of the year, but annual growth is running at a near-decade low rate as a result of ongoing uncertainty related to Britain's departure from the European Union and a subdued global backdrop, official figures showed Monday.
The Office for National Statistics said Monday that the economy grew by a quarterly rate of 0.3%. That increase was solely due to a firm pick-up in July, as August and September showed monthly declines.
Following the 0.2% contraction in the second quarter, there had been fears that the British economy would fall into recession — commonly defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth.
Though a recession was avoided largely because of resilient household spending and higher government spending, the British economy remains relatively weak, largely because of uncertainty related to Brexit, which is particularly impacting on business investment. On an annual basis, the British economy was only 1% bigger in the third quarter, its weakest year-on-year growth since the first quarter of 2010, when Britain was emerging from a deep recession in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.
With the global economy slowing and Brexit uncertainty still prevalent in the run-up to Britain's general election on Dec. 12, few economists anticipate any marked improvement in the British economic outlook in the fourth quarter or even next year.
"The slowdown highlights the pains of political uncertainties linked to Brexit and the upcoming general election," said Kallum Pickering, senior economist at Berenberg Bank.
And it's by no means clear that the election will provide clarity over Brexit. More political gridlock could emerge.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson hopes his Conservative Party can muster a majority to push through his withdrawal agreement to facilitate an orderly British exit from the European Union at the end of January, Britain's new scheduled departure date.
The main opposition Labour Party wants to renegotiate Johnson's deal to ensure closer ties and then put it to the people in another referendum, with an option to remain in the EU. Most of the other opposition parties are opposed to Brexit.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is complaining to his cabinet that widescale corruption at Russia's new space launch facility is continuing.
The facility in the Far East, named Vostochny, is intended to reduce Russia's reliance on the Baikonur launchpads in Kazakhstan, from which all manned space missions and many other major rockets set off. But construction of Vostochny has been plagued by corruption.
"It's been said 100 times: Work transparently, large amounts of money are allocated. ... No, they're stealing hundreds of millions," Putin exclaimed with irritation at the Monday cabinet meeting.
Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov later told reporters that about 11 billion rubles ($169 million) has been embezzled during Vostochny's construction.
Britain's main political parties are using Armistice Day to showcase plans to improve the lot of veterans if they win the Dec. 12 general election.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's party Monday unveiled proposals to make it harder to bring veterans to court over allegations of abuse that took place before the Human Rights Act took force in 2000, and a series of measures to help veterans get jobs.
Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party said it would improve housing and work conditions for veterans.
Also on Monday, Corbyn's foreign policy adviser, Emily Thornberry, raised questions about Britain's nuclear deterrent when she told ITV it is not clear Corbyn as prime minister would use nuclear weapons if Britain is threatened.
"It's impossible, I think, for any human to say whether they would be prepared to kill millions," she said.
British political leaders swapped blame Saturday over floods that have drenched parts of England as the deluge became an issue in the campaign for the Dec. 12 election.
Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was visiting parts of northern England that were soaked by overflowing rivers after as much as 4.4 inches (112 mm) of rain — more than a month's worth — fell in one day. One woman died when she was swept away by floodwaters.
The rain eased Saturday but the Environment Agency said seven severe "danger to life" flood warnings remained in place along the swollen River Don.
Corbyn said the Conservative government had "failed to prepare communities by investing in flood prevention."
"This is what a climate and environment emergency looks like," he said. "Every year we don't act means higher flood waters, more homes ruined and more lives at risk."
Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the area on Friday, and insisted the government was investing in flood defenses.
"We are seeing more and more serious flooding — perhaps because of building, almost certainly because of climate change," Johnson said. "We need to prepare and we need to be investing in those defenses, and that's what this government is doing."
Johnson pushed for the December election — taking place more than two years early — in the hope of breaking Britain's political impasse over Brexit.
All 650 seats in the House of Commons are up for grabs. Johnson says that if voters give the Conservatives a majority he will "get Brexit done" and take the U.K. out of the European Union by the current deadline of Jan. 31.
Labour says it will negotiate a new divorce deal with the EU and then let voters decide between leaving on those terms and remaining in the bloc.
Both big parties are also promising more money for infrastructure, health care and public services.
In the latest sign that Brexit uncertainty is destabilizing the country, credit rating agency Moody's downgraded Britain's outlook from stable to negative on Friday.
It said Brexit had caused "inertia and, at times, paralysis" that had undermined Britain's institutional strength. Moody's did not lower Britain's Aa2 rating, but said the U.K. economy could be "more susceptible to shocks than previously assumed."