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Sarkozy Refusing to Grant Bastille Day Pardons

New French President Nicolas Sarkozy is breaking with long-time French tradition by refusing to grant mass Bastille Day pardons of prisoners.

In an interview with Sunday's edition of the Journal du Dimanche, Mr. Sarkozy said he would still issue pardons on a case-by-case basis for humanitarian reasons or for what he called exceptional circumstances - such as someone with a prison record rescuing drowning children.

French presidents have traditionally used Bastille Day pardons as a way to relieve prison overcrowding.

Bastille Day on July 14th is a major French holiday. It marks the storming of the Paris prison in 1789, sparking the French revolution.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.