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Archive for June, 2011

FRANCE: Nicolas Sarkozy gives a picture of the first large loan

Monday, June 27th, 2011

AFP - Nicolas Sarkozy said that "twenty billion euros", a total of 35 billion, "have been committed" by the end of 2011, adding that "nearly 1,500 projects" had been deposited in one year and a half on Monday at a press conference on investment for the future.

"By the end of the year, about 35 billion euros is about twenty billion euros that have been committed to specific projects," said the president.

The method used was that of "selection" with "excellence" because "nothing would have been worse than ineffective piecemeal," noted Mr Sarkozy about this program implemented in December 2009, in response to the crisis.

"We decided to rely on international juries," he said, noting that "the method of selection has created a craze of researchers and entrepreneurs."

"There are nearly 1,500 projects that have been filed.Never has there been such emulation in France, "Nicolas Sarkozy has put forward.

He also hoped that the 35 billion euros invested become "from 60 to 65 billion through co-financing companies and local communities."

"Never in its history, France has made such an effort for the benefit of the investment," he repeated.

EUROPEAN UNION: EU leaders give green light to the accession of Croatia

Friday, June 24th, 2011

EU leaders gave Friday the green light to the accession of Croatia to the European Union by approving the closure of the preparatory negotiations conducted since 2005 with Zagreb.

Summit meeting in Brussels, they adopted a declaration calling for "all necessary decisions" are taken "for the accession negotiations with Croatia are carried out by the end of June."

De facto, this means permitting entry of a candidate country in the Union.

The signing of the Accession Treaty should take place "before the end of the year," the text adopted by EU leaders.

The statement insisted that Croatia will be the second state resulting from the former Yugoslavia after Slovenia to join the EU, continue "its reform efforts, particularly regarding the judiciary and fundamental rights."

For this purpose, and demand from countries such as France, the EU states have provided for the establishment of a "tracking device", assigned to the European Commission to ensure that Zagreb will keep its promises until the ratification of the Accession Treaty.

After signing the treaty expected mid-December, a referendum will be held in Croatia before the 27 EU speak out in turn on the accession of Zagreb by parliamentary vote or referendum.

If the process does not derail, Croatia could become the 28th member of the EU on 1 July 2013, according to the wish of the European Commission.

The Senate endorsed the appointment of Leon Panetta to head the Pentagon

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

AFP - The U.S. Senate Tuesday unanimously confirmed the appointment of Leon Panetta, the current CIA director, as Defense Secretary Robert Gates to replace retiring.

The 100-member U.S. Senate approved the appointment of Mr. Panetta soon 73 years old. They welcomed the success of the head of the CIA, including tracking down and eliminating Osama bin Laden, shot by a commando in Pakistan in May

President Barack Obama announced his appointment in late April.

Leon Panetta was then heard by the Defence Committee of the Senate for confirmation.

He had slid in the footsteps of its predecessor, while ruling as Mr.Obama, to withdraw "significant" from Afghanistan in July in contrast to Robert Gates, who prefers a withdrawal "modest" 3 to 5,000 soldiers in July.

Obama will announce Wednesday his plan for early withdrawal of U.S. troops. This plan should cover "probably" 10,000 men, in two waves, before the end of the year, according to a U.S. official who spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

It will be up to Mr. Panetta to manage these withdrawals, and the remaining operations in Afghanistan. The United States currently have 99,000 troops in Afghanistan along with 47,000 NATO troops, according to the Pentagon.

The administration plans to transfer responsibility for security on the ground to the Afghan government in 2014.

Mr.Panetta will also handle the case of Libya and the U.S. intervention against the regime of Colonel Gaddafi. According to Washington, the United States have a role of "support" from NATO in the bombing and other intelligence operations.

In addition, open debate in Congress on the deficit and record numbers of American debt, the role of Mr. Panetta will also oversee the budget cuts that should be applied at the Pentagon.

TUNISIA: "A political debate has not really new emerged"

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

December 17, 2010, the young street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi herself on fire in Sidi Bouzid, in west-central Tunisia, giving rise to the protest movement that would lead, four weeks later, the fall of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. Six months later, where is the country? What conclusions can we draw from its political and economic developments? According to Vincent Geisser, a researcher at the Institute for Research and Studies on the Arab and Muslim world (IREMAM / CNRS), the transition is primarily "a long period of uncertainty."

FRANCE 24: The economic problems, including unemployment and rising prices, have played an important role in the outbreak of revolution in Tunisia.Six months later, the situation is not it even more critical?

Vincent Geisser: The situation is actually still very hard economically. The production system starts working very slowly, tourism not proceed to sentence. In addition, Tunisia is experiencing difficulties in terms of regional development, unemployment among young graduates … But these problems are far from resolved. It is too early for action, plans for reform were adopted. The country faced a crisis which almost structural economic factors are added now, related to political uncertainty and the collapse of tourism.

On the political front, the progress they are more convincing?

VG: Tunisians today have a rather pessimistic speech. After the revolutionary euphoria, they know a kind of hangover. They are primarily worried and in search of order. But if we take a step back, across the country and history, Tunisia has experienced neither chaos nor scorched earth policy on the part of the old regime. There was no post-revolutionary vengeance, murder, civil war …

A democratic arena was put in place with institutions in fight against corruption, reform committees, etc.. Which must accompany the transition. A pluralistic political landscape is organized. So there is a certain normalization of political life, though difficult and sporadic violence continues.

What are today's political debates?

VG: Discussions will focus on two common anxiety, obscuring other major political and economic problems. There is one side fear a return of the elites of the old regime, the other the fear of Islamism. The dictatorship has fallen, but the structures have not completely disappeared. Authoritarian enclaves of the time Ben Ali are still present in the area of ​​security relations between the different ministries, between the elites and the people … The country has not completely passed the trauma and struggle to find a routine democratic.

Moreover, politicians still can not consider the Islamists as political opponents and not as an enemy within.They still fail to address this issue in the context of a pluralistic political landscape.

As a result, a truly new political debate has not yet emerged. The new political actors have not found their place. Tunisia is rebuilt on a "elitist", consisting of the generation that went to school in the 1960s and 1970s. Elites bring a climate of appeasement, but they have not yet realized the need to integrate other actors - especially young people - like those behind the protest.

The trial of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali opens next Monday. Is this good news?

VG: Although not a legal expert, I feel that we will witness a botched trial. A judicial investigation and a police investigation into the excesses of the regime businessmen Ben Ali require much time. We can not work on 23 years of reign in 3 months!

The trial of Ben Ali is somewhat reminiscent of the trial of Saddam Hussein's trial outlet, highly emotional, passionate. We give the former dictator as fodder to customize the bad, but this may obscure the fact that the system was not based on one man. The responsibility was collective.

EURO ZONE: French banks highly exposed to the Greek crisis, according to Moody's

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Three major French banks Moody's concern. The rating agency warned Wednesday it could degrade the note from Societe Generale, BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole for their activities in Greece. This is the first time that the impact of the crisis on the Greek European banking system is raised by one of the three global rating agencies - the other two are Standard & Poor's and Fitch.

Germany priori less exposed than France

Why Are French banks and singled out by Moody's? Germany is in fact much more at risk of default of the Greek state or a restructuring of its debt.German banks have in effect borrows Greek to 18.4 billion euros against 12.6 billion for their French counterparts, according to figures from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) from September 2010.

But in Greece, French banks do not hold only government bonds. They have also invested heavily in the private sector, through investments in companies and Greek banks.Taking into account the debt - public and private - the French banking sector is by far the most exposed in Europe (44.3 billion euros, or 40% share of total debt held by the Greek European institutions) .

"It is this double exposure that justifies the warning from Moody's," Celine analysis Antonin economist of Greece to the French Office of European business (OFCE). The rating agency also stresses that these are the loans provided by the Greek subsidiary of Societe Generale (General Bank of Greece) and Credit Agricole (Emporiki) that pose a risk to the finances of their parent.Emporiki has lent 21 billion euros to Greek companies and individuals - nearly 50% of funds set aside by Crédit Agricole to ensure its solvency.

An announcement that falls at the wrong time

Moody's points and, without saying so explicitly, that the austerity imposed by Brussels in exchange for international financial assistance is likely to turn against the entire European banking sector. "Emporiki Bank of Greece and General will in fact issue if the loans are not repaid. With successive treatments of austerity, this risk increases for the Greeks," says Celine Antonin.

Still, this warning comes at a bad time.Indeed, European states are currently trying to encourage banks and private investors to participate in the upcoming bailout of Greece. "The warning from Moody's points out that private actors is increasingly risky financial commitment in Greece, which could discourage their participation in the game wanted by European countries," further notes the Economist.

"This is one of the problems with rating agencies," she continues.They issue opinions that continue to be taken as gospel, while they failed to predict the financial crisis of 2008 shows that their grades are only one indicator among many. "This is especially true in this case it is only a warning - such as rating agencies often issue. But all the warnings do not become necessarily degradation of the note.

AFGHANISTAN: With 368 people killed, the month of May was the deadliest since 2007

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

REUTERS - Fifteen Afghans, including eight children and four women, were killed Saturday by a bomb firing at their vehicle in the southern province of Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban movement, reports the Ministry of Interior, while the UN reports of civilian casualties unprecedented in May.

For Saturday alone, twenty people, mostly civilians, have died in violence across the country, report of security officials.

Assistance Mission to the UN in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has listed 368 deaths last month "related to the conflict."

According to his count, 301 people were killed by insurgent forces and 56 by pro-government forces.The 22 remaining deaths can be attributed to either one or the other party. These are mostly civilians caught in crossfire.

"More civilians were killed in May this year than during any other month since 2007, when the Manua began tallying civilian casualties," said Georgette Gagnon, responsible for human rights within the mission, in a statement.

"We fear that a further increase civilian suffering during the summer that provide historically the heaviest losses. Warring parties must immediately redouble efforts to protect civilians," she adds.

BRAZIL: The Supreme Court must rule on the extradition of Cesare Battisti

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

AFP - Thirty years after fleeing Italy, the former left-wing activist Cesare Battisti whether it should be extradited to his country of origin who claims for murders committed during the "leaden years" or allowed to live in freedom in Brazil, following a further review Wednesday of his case by the Supreme Court of Brazil.

The nine judges of the highest court in Brazil have begun discussions to 2:40 p.m. local time (5:40 p.m. GMT).

They must decide on a request from Italy, which calls into question the decision of the Court, in 2009, leaving the then president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the ultimate decision on the extradition of Battisti.

On the last day in office, December 31, 2010, Lula had rejected the extradition of Battisti to Italy, believing that there might be a victim of political persecution.

Now aged 56, Battisti was convicted in absentia in 1993 by Italy to life imprisonment for four murders and attempted murders in the late 1970s, crimes he says he is innocent.

"He is very anxious waiting for his trial" and he continues to take anti-depressants, told the daily O Globo, one of his lawyers, Renata Saraiva, who often visited him in prison.

On the run for thirty years, Battisti was arrested in Rio de Janeiro in 2007 and jailed shortly afterwards in a maximum security prison near Brasilia pending a decision on his extradition.

Should the Supreme Court held that although the last word to the Head of State, Battisti "will not be extradited and could get out of jail tonight," he told AFP, lawyer Antonio Carlos Almeida Castro Former defender of a member of the Italian Red Brigades.

Battisti's lawyers have already filed an application for immediate release to be considered by the Court.

Otherwise, "unlikely" according to this lawyer, Cesare Battisti "will soon be extradited."

Lula's refusal to extradite Battisti had caused a diplomatic crisis between Brasilia and Rome to which the former president's decision "violated the sovereignty of Italy."

At that time, Rome had recalled its ambassador for consultations, a move reflecting the anger of the government and all politicians."I pledge to continue the battle for Battisti is delivered to the Italian justice", had then said the Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The former activist turned author of detective fiction in France, where he found refuge from 1990 to 2004, has protested his innocence and claims to be "sure" he would présécuté and killed if returned to Italy.

To justify his position, President Lula had relied on an article of the extradition treaty saying it did not apply in cases of "reasonable suspicions that the person sought will suffer persecution and discrimination" .

Arrested in his country in 1979 when he campaigned in the small group of "armed Proletarians for Communism (PAC), Cesare Battisti was sentenced to twelve years in prison. He escaped in 1981 and then began a long lam in Mexico, France and Brazil.

ISRAEL - FRANCE: The parents of soldier Shalit complain for Kidnapping

Monday, June 6th, 2011

AFP - The parents of Gilad Shalit, a young Israeli soldier with French nationality detained in the Gaza Strip, will file a complaint against X in Paris on Monday for kidnapping, said his family told AFP.

Gilad Shalit was captured at the edge of the Gaza Strip June 25, 2006 by a group of three armed Palestinian groups in Gaza, including one under Hamas, which recently sealed a pact of reconciliation with Fatah President Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas.

Nearly five years after the start of his detention, Noam and Aviva Shalit, the parents of the young soldier decided to lodge a complaint with a civil action, for "kidnapping" in Paris, with the aggravating circumstances that it is "held hostage" and that he could "suffer acts of torture or barbarism."

"As well as the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit kidnapping have been made without an order from the constituted authorities, and except as provided by law", which characterizes its "illegality," say the parents of the captive, in support of their complaint.

"We hoped for years through negotiations bring Gilad home," Noam Shalit said on Europe 1.

"It does not happen.We are therefore trying all means to achieve this in Israel and France, "he added.

"He has no human right, which is in contradiction with international law," he said Mr Shalit.

Noam Shalit must file the complaint with the dean at 10:00 of the investigating judge of the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris.Such a procedure should lead to the appointment of a judge.

The complaint is not made explicitly against Hamas but clearly identifies the Islamist movement as abducting the young soldier.

The Foreign Minister, Alain Juppe, said Thursday in Jerusalem that the French government was "mobilized" for Gilad Shalit and "determined to do everything possible to work towards the release" of the young Israeli soldier.

Since his abduction, he was held incommunicado and the Red Cross was never allowed to visit him.

His release appeared to close in fall 2009, after indirect negotiations conducted via Egypt and a German mediator on the exchange of a thousand soldiers against Palestinian detainees.

FRANCE: Opening an investigation after accusations of pedophilia launched by Luc Ferry

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

AFP - A preliminary investigation was opened Wednesday by the Paris prosecutor's office after accusations of pedophilia by Luc Ferry launched against a former minister unidentified, so the philosopher precise statements which caused a stir in the entire political class.

The investigation should proceed to hear the former Minister of National Education (2002-2004), according to prosecutors. No indication was given on the date of the hearing.

Monday evening on Canal +, M.Ferry had said, without giving a name, a "former minister" had "done Poissant (catch, ed) in Marrakech in an orgy with young boys" into ensuring that the "highest state authorities "including a Prime Minister.

Wednesday on LCI, he reiterated to have "heard by the highest authorities of the State" by people "credible" but he was more measured, claiming not to have "witnessed the affair" and "have no proof."

When asked if the "prime minister at the time", that is to say, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, had reported the matter, MrFerry said: "Ask him." He said the facts involved "a time long before the year 2002."

Mr. Raffarin said in this case on his blog "completely ignore what happened to his" former minister "fai (known) reference".

Meanwhile, two Moroccan NGOs, associations "Do not touch my children" and "Do not touch my child" decided to file a complaint against X.Both seek clarification from the court.

The remarks by the former Minister of Education have created a stir in the entire political class, which was pressed to name and clarify his statements.

At left, Catherine Tasca, VP (PS) of the Senate, described his comments as "unacceptable", noting that they do drop the public debate in a "low-level controversy."

The PCF has been criticized for having Luc Ferry "said too much or not enough" and "feed a poisonous atmosphere."

The Special Adviser to the Head of State Henry Guaino denounced the climate "detestable" caused by business or DSK about Tron and Luc Ferry, fearing a "great unpacking" that eventually "sink into the moral order."

"Either he is the holder of information that promoted based on facts, and in this case it is his duty to justice, or reports of what it heard in the corridors and in this case It is no longer the philosopher of the rumor but it becomes a key player ", said a bit pleased early critic of the government Baroin after the Council of Ministers.

"If I leave the name now, it's me who'll be indicted and convicted for sure, although I know that the story is true," Mr. Ferry said Monday. Contacted by AFP, Mr. Ferry did not respond.

"If he has information, I think it must immediately notify the justice," shouted the leader of UMP deputies Christian Jacob.

Former Justice Minister, Rachida Dati (UMP), held that such statements fell "legally" from "non-reporting of crime."

"If we are convinced that there was a crime or a crime, to justice and we will not simply bavasser in the press," said Foreign Minister Alain Juppe. Dominique Paille (Radical Party) ruled that the former minister would have "the courage to say that" it was.