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PONDICHERRY, India - Religious devotees believe a divine force saved this port city from last week's tsunami, but the vendors who sell fruit and snacks next to the sea say it really was France.

During the city's nearly three centuries as a French colonial enclave, French engineers built and maintained a massive, stone sea wall that kept Pondicherry's historic center dry even though tsunami waves drove water 24 feet above the normal high-tide mark.


I never thought of the French as having anything to do with India.

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