Archive for the ‘French’ Category

France To Become Full Member of NATO

March 11, 2009

France’s arms length relationship with NATO is about to end as President Nicolas Sarkozy will announce that France will rejoin the North Atalantic Alliance.

I can recall participating in NATO working groups and having to do a torturous kabuki dance just to get French participation on issues and actions the French and the rest of NATO wanted France in on.

France’s long divorce from NATO, which began in De Gaulle’s time, is about to end: and that should be good for France, and all the rest of NATO.

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PARIS (Reuters) – France wants to become a full member of NATO, ending more than four decades of self-imposed exile from the alliance’s inner core, French Defense Minister Herve Morin said on Wednesday.

France is NATO’s fourth largest contributor of troops, but in an effort to mark its difference with the United States it has long snubbed the organization’s integrated military command, which plans, trains and conducts joint operations.

Morin told a Defense conference that times had changed and that French President Nicolas Sarkozy was keen for France to play a full role in the world’s biggest Defense alliance.

“The president and myself are convinced that France can renew its relations with NATO whilst being an independent ally and free partner of the United States,” he said.

France quit the NATO command in March 1966 and ordered the organization to close its headquarters in France, with the then President Charles De Gaulle saying Paris did not want to be dragged into a war that was not of its own choosing.

The decision, taken in the midst of the east-west Cold War, was the culmination of years of Franco-American rivalry over control of the alliance and of nuclear weapons.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090
311/wl_nm/us_nato_france_1

Related:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD
/europe/03/11/france.sarkozy.nato/i
ndex.html

British, French Submarines “Collide”

February 16, 2009

A British and a French submarine, both of them nuclear-powered and carrying nuclear weapons, collided in the Atlantic Ocean earlier this month, the Sun newspaper reported on Monday.

The tabloid said HMS Vanguard and France’s Le Triomphant were both damaged in the incident, but there were no reports of damage to the nuclear parts. The British sub has now been towed to Faslane in Scotland for repair.

Both vessels — between them carrying about 250 sailors — were reportedly submerged and on separate missions when they crashed on February 3 or 4.

The Ministry of Defence refuses to comment on submarine operations but a spokesman said: “We can confirm that the UK?s deterrent capability has remained unaffected at all times and there has been no compromise to nuclear safety.”

HMS Vanguard is one of four nuclear submarines operated by the British military as part of its Trident system, and one is always on deterrent patrol.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090216/wl_uk_af
p/britainfrancenuclearweapons_20090216082323

Related from The Sun:
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/ne
ws/article2240543.ece

France's "Le Triomphant" nuclear submarine. A ... 
France’s “Le Triomphant” nuclear submarine. A British and a French submarine, both of them nuclear-powered and carrying nuclear weapons, collided in the Atlantic Ocean earlier this month, the Sun newspaper reported.(AFP/File/Philippe Huguen)

France’s Sarkozy aims to defuse economic protests

February 15, 2009

French President Nicholas Sarkozy will try this week to defuse protests against his economic plans but talks with unions will be tough with unemployment rising, growth tumbling and Caribbean unrest threatening to spread.

More than a million people took to the streets across France two weeks ago in protest at Sarkozy’s policies, demanding pay rises and protection for jobs in the face of the downturn, and trade unions have penciled in another protest next month.

By Francois Murphy, Reuters

French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) waves at spectators as ... 
French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) waves at spectators as he stands next to French former ski legend Jean Claude Killy after the women’s Slalom race at the Alpine Skiing World Championships 2009 in Val d’Isere February 14, 2009.(Stefano Rellandini/Reuters)

Sarkozy’s 26 billion euro ($33.6 billion) stimulus plan has focused on public spending projects such as building roads and modernizing rail links rather than helping consumers directly. Unions and the political left have called on him to change tack.

A television appearance after the protests, intended to allay public fears, only weakened Sarkozy’s support further. He will head into a meeting with unions on Wednesday under pressure to address their concerns, but room for maneuver is limited.

“The outcome of my five-year term is at stake,” newspaper Le Figaro, which is close to Sarkozy, quoted him as telling advisers in its Saturday edition.

French gross domestic product fell 1.2 percent in the last three months of 2008, its biggest drop in 34 years, as exports fell and retailers reduced their stock, and unemployment in December was 11 percent higher than a year earlier.

Increasing the pressure on Sarkozy before Wednesday’s “social summit,” the opposition Socialists have called for a 1 percentage point cut in value-added tax and a 3 percent rise in the minimum wage to give a boost to consumer spending.

CARIBBEAN TROUBLE

“France is the only country not to act massively and immediately in the direction of purchasing power, while a consensus has been established by economists on the need for such measures alongside those in favor of investment,” prominent Socialist Dider Migaud said last week.

Britain has cut its value-added tax by 2 percentage points but Sarkozy lambasted the move in his television address, saying it “brought absolutely no progress,” angering Downing Street.

Sarkozy has also said it is only worth increasing France’s public debt for stimulus measures that amount to investments for the future rather than funding consumer spending, even though that is traditionally the main driver of French growth.

He is likely to cite one of the few bright spots in last week’s GDP figures in his defense — household consumption rose 0.5 percent in the last three months of 2008, suggesting that consumers did not need further encouragement to keep spending.

But that is unlikely to sway protesters in the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique which have been crippled by strikers demanding pay rises and lower food prices.

Unions and associations began the protest in Guadeloupe on January 20 demanding a 200 euro monthly rise for low-wage workers. The protest has since spread to Martinique and, to a more limited extent, the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, and there are fears that it could spread to mainland France.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/2009021
5/wl_nm/us_france_sarkozy_1

Related:
http://www.uexpress.com/tedrall/

http://integralpsychosis.wordpress.com
/2009/02/15/france-it-couldnt-happe
n-here-could-it/

France Rejects “Obama Style” Stimulus

France Rejects “Obama Style Stimulus;” Turns Way Left

France Rejects “Obama Style Stimulus;” Turns Way Left

February 15, 2009

It couldn’t happen here, right?

Most Americans don’t care what happens in France. But the oldest country in “Old Europe” remains the Western world’s intellectual capital and one of its primary originators of political trends. (Google “May+1968+Sorbonne.”)

The French are reacting to a situation almost identical to ours–economic collapse, government impotence, corporate corruption–by turning hard left. National strikes and massive demonstrations are occurring every few weeks. How far left? This far: the late president François Mitterand’s Socialist Party, the rough equivalent of America’s Greens, is considered too conservative to solve the economic crisis.

A new poll by the Parisian daily Libération finds 53 percent of French voters (68 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds) favoring “radical social change.” Fifty-seven percent want France to insulate itself from the global economic system. Does this mean revolution? It’s certainly possible. Or maybe counter-revolution: Jean-Marie Le Pen’s nativist (some would say neofascist) National Front is also picking up points.

One thing is certain: French politics are even more volatile than the financial markets these days. In yet another indication of How Far Left?, the Communist-aligned CGT labor union is on the defensive for not being militant enough. “We’re not going to put out the blazing fires [of the economic crisis],” the CGT’s secretary general said, trying to seize the initiative by calling for another strike on February 18th. “We’re going to fan them.”

By Ted Rall
http://www.uexpress.com/tedrall/

http://integralpsychosis.wordpress.com
/2009/02/15/france-it-couldnt-happe
n-here-could-it/

France Rejects “Obama Style” Stimulus

France’s Sarkozy aims to defuse economic protests

France’s Sarkozy Getting Testy Amid Public Disapporval, Fires Public Servants

January 31, 2009

To jeer President Nicolas Sarkozy has become a serious offence, punishable by the sacking of any official who allows the boos to reach the presidential ears. The police chief and the most senior national government official in the Manche département (county) of lower Normandy have been fired in successive days, to the fury of local politicians, including members of M. Sarkozy’s own party.

By John Lichfield in Paris
The Independent (UK)

 

The officials’ offence was to fail to shield the President from the boos and whistles of protesters when he made a speech in the town of Saint-Lô earlier this month. Their dismissal has fuelled a debate about President Sarkozy’s increasingly autocratic behaviour. Two high-profile ministers from ethnic minorities, appointed by M. Sarkozy to much fanfare in 2007, have been placed in the political deep-freeze by the President in recent weeks. Last year he ordered the firing of a successful Corsican police chief after nationalist protesters had invaded the garden of his friend, the actor Christian Clavier.

The latest victims of presidential pique are two recently-appointed officials who had overall responsibility for public order when M. Sarkozy visited lower Normandy to speak on education reform on 12 January. About 3,000 demonstrators protested. M. Sarkozy was furious the demonstrators had been allowed to come so near that he could hear them faintly.

Read the rest:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/e
urope/officials-sacked-after-sarkozy-hears-
jeers-1521692.html

Gaza Causes Friction in France, Where Muslims Have “No Chance”

January 26, 2009

Many Muslims in France, especially new immigrants,  are unemployed and not included in the society or the economy.

“We Muslims have no chance here,” one man told us.

That may be why the recent fighting between Hamas and Israel has cause some disagreements as well as some new thinking in France.

The U.S. National Public Radio (NPR) says, “The recent conflict in Gaza touched nerves in France, which is home to Europe’s largest Jewish and Muslim communities. Despite the cease-fire in Gaza, many say the fighting there has done lasting damage to relations between Muslims and Jews in France.”

Go to NPR and hear their broadcast:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.
php?storyId=99861094&ft=1&f=1004

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Related:

France Looking to Screen Immigrants Using DNA

By Peter Allen
Daily Mail (UK)

France’s hard-line new immigration minister is set to implement legislation that would allow DNA testing of new arrivals, he has said.

Eric Besson, who was appointed this month, said the tests would establish which  foreigners were claiming visas by making up family ties with those already settled in the country.

Civil liberties groups have reacted furiously to the controversial government scheme, which was approved by the French parliament 15 months ago but does not come into effect until the appropriate Minister has signed the legislation. 

Protests had delayed that move until now.
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But Mr Besson said he wanted to give it  the ‘green light’, confirming that a ministerial meeting would be held on the subject ‘in a few days’.

He added: ‘If the decree is accepted, I will scrupulously respect all individual liberties. It’s not my obsession. ”

The tests will be for applications for visas of more than three months when  there are doubts about an immigrant’s birth or marriage certificates.

The move would allow officials to ‘propose’ to applicants that they take a test at their own expense to prove a biological link with other family members.

A recent report said there was often doubt over the authenticity of papers in family  applications for visas.

It claimed that in African countries such as Senegal, Ivory Coast and Togo up  to 80 per cent of birth and marriage certificates were forged.

Government statistics show there are 23,000 immigration cases a year where visa  applications involve children, meaning DNA tests could become widespread.

But immigrant welfare groups said the plan was unacceptable…..

Read the rest:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-11
27823/Illegal-immigrants-DNA-tested-new-crackdo
wn-France.html

French Beauty Aid is Fermented Glob: “Magique Fromage” Earns Promoter Arrest

January 20, 2009

Many women and even some men will try just about anything to become more beautiful.

But a fermented glop pushed by a French marketeer is being called   “Magique Fromage” (Magic Cheese) after investigators found absolutely no medicinal value in the slime.

Even as an ingredient for expensive moisturizers and shampoos, the smelly slime is just worthless  “Magique Fromage.”

But it could be good on crackers and with a light Bordeaux…..

 

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PARIS (Reuters) – France is investigating what it says is a scam mounted by a French woman who sold thousands of Chileans kits to make “magic cheese” for French beauty products, an official said on Tuesday.

Gilberte Van Erpe, who was arrested and placed under investigation in France last year, is suspected of setting up a vast pyramid scheme, telling buyers the fermented mass produced by the kits could be sold to cosmetics companies in France.

A French investigator, examining magistrate Sylvie Gagnard, will fly to Chile to register the lawsuits of thousands of people who claim they were victimized, said Isabelle Montagne, a spokeswoman for the public prosecutor‘s office.

“We call it the ‘case of the magic cheese’,” Montagne said.

“She swindled people, she abused their trust to make them believe that she could commercialize that material.”

Van Erpe, who is under custody in France and accused of fraud and money laundering, could not be reached for comment.

The spokeswoman said three other people also were arrested last year and placed under investigation for their role in the suspected fraud, conducted through a company called Fermex.

Media have reported that Van Erpe ran a similar scheme in Peru in 2003 to 2004 and then moved on to operate in Chile from 2004 to 2006.

Claiming that the fermented substance was all the rage in Paris as an ingredient for expensive moisturizers and shampoos, Van Erpe charged clients some 300 euros ($389) for the kits, which had a market value of about 3 euros, media said.

However, the product never made it to French cosmetics labs and most investors lost their money, the spokeswoman said.

Le Parisien newspaper said Van Erpe made about 30 million euros from her activities. It also said 5,000 Peruvians and 4,500 Chileans had filed lawsuits, but Montagne was unable to confirm that figure.

(Editing by Michael Roddy)

A feta cheese merchant slices a piece of feta in this file photo, ... 
Could it be magic? 

Gaza: France’s Sarkozy Not Helping

January 6, 2009

Israeli Prime Minister Olmert told French President Sarkozy to please block the cease fire resolution in the United Nations.

Olmert also relayed that request to the European Union and others.

Sarkozy has been on a Middle East trip to find ways to broker a cease fire.

But Olmert told him until Hamas in Gaza stop sending rockets into Isreal there can be no end to the fighting.  He said Israel has acted in self defense….

Olmert also reminded Sarkozy that “Sometimes the need to find a compromise in the UN comes at Israel’s expense.”

Related:
Gaza Day 11: Civilian Losses Mount; Israel Unmoved
.
Understanding Israel: Necessary Step in Solving Middle East Violence?

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From National Public Radio

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is on a ceasefire mission to the Middle East. While his country no longer holds the European Union presidency, Sarkozy says it is France’s duty to look for all paths to peace. Critics say Sarkozy is on a power trip after his six-month stint as diplomatic head of Europe. They accuse him of muddying EU efforts to broker a ceasefire.

Hear the report from NPR:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.ph
p?storyId=99036135&ft=1&f=1001

France’s President Nicholas Sarkozy Seeks Peace in Gaza

January 5, 2009

France’s President Nicholas Sarkozy is no longer President of the European Union, a rotating appoinment that ended on December 31.

But that has not stopped sarkozy from going where he believes he is needed:  during the next few day Sarkozy will be in Egypt, the West Bank, Tel Aviv, Jordan, and Syria, where he will meet with President Bashar al-Assad.

 

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, reacts, with Palestinian ... 
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, reacts, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas upon his arrival in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009 as part of his two-day Middle East trip to seek ‘paths for peace’ in Gaza. Sarkozy left for Israel and the Palestinian territories where he will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who lost control of Gaza to Hamas in June 2007.(AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool)
According to the Christian Sciences Monitor: “Sarkozy hosted Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in Paris last week. Sarkozy works well with Washington, and French diplomacy has ties to Arabs, Palestinians, and the Islamist movement. He can talk with Syria. Moreover, Sarkozy’s criticism of Israel’s response to Hamas rockets puts him closer to core EU views than with Prague‘s,” (the Czech President is now in charge of the EU).
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See the Christian Science Monitor report:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20090105/ts_csm/osarkozy_1
.
 Related:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: Can He Regain Gaza?
 

 

Gaza: Pressure Grows on Hamas To Agree to A Cease Fire

January 5, 2009

Israel, with the agreement of the U.S., has resisited all pressure to embark upon a cease fire in Gaza.

Now Egypt, France and perhaps other nations are moving the pressure upon Hamas.

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From Haaretz Newspaper

Egyptian officials said Monday that Cairo was set to demand an immediate cease-fire from Hamas in the Gaza Strip, as Israeli forces moved into their 10th day of a military offensive on the coastal territory.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of committing “inhuman” acts in Gaza that would cause it to self-destruct.

In an interview with Al Jazeera television network, the Turkish prime minister said Israel hurt its relations with Turkey by attacking Gaza, and will be punished.

Read the rest:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1052808.html

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy told three Lebanese newspapers that Hamas bore “a heavy responsibility for the sufferings of the Palestinian people” and that its rocket attacks had to stop.

Sarkozy’s comments are to be published Monday, the same day he arrives in Israel as part of the French and European effort to broker a cease-fire to end the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Read the rest:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1052589.html