Posts tagged ‘France’

May 30, 2011

Germany makes no move to halt its imports of nuclear energy from France, but will stop its own nuclear energy production in 2022

[Tim Salinger, Germany Nuclear Power Contributor]

EUOBSERVER: In a politically savvy move made breathtaking by its boldness, in the wake of popular widespread opposition to nuclear energy in the country following the Fukushima disaster, the German government has announced that it will stop all its nuclear energy production by 2022.

However, its bordering neighbour, France, which meets 78% of its own energy needs via nuclear energy production and  is the world’s leader in nuclear energy production is set to export significant amounts of energy to its neighbour, Germany, as a result of the German moratorium on nuclear power.

Germany as the world’s fifth largest energy consumer imported two-thirds of its primary energy needs in 2002 of which around 12% was from France.  As Germany’s nuclear power program has slowed down, its imports of energy have steadily risen and it is expected that in by the time of Germany’s total discontinuation of nuclear energy production, it will be importing more than 25% of its energy needs from a nuclear productive France.

As France with it 59 nuclear power plants borders Germany, any nuclear disaster in France would impact the German people in the same way as any nuclear plant disaster on German soil. Therefore, wouldn’t it be a good idea to get France to stop its nuclear energy production as well?  Hmmmnnnn….

May 25, 2011

G8 Nations warned by powerful action groups – no Internet censorship, or else

[Kuzu Ahmed, Internet Freedom Contributor]

Mail.com: Large Internet information services companies, digital players and Internet activists are warning G8 countries meeting in Paris this week, that if politicians continue to attempt to limit internet access and censor information sharing on the Internet, those restrictions will become increasingly irrelevant as they will be deliberately circumvented.

Recent times have seen increasing resistance from the large Internet information services companies like Google and Twitter as well as Internet activists who together have poured cold water on politicians’ censorships on the Internet, which they claim are in contravention of the human right of freedom of expression.

The message was discussed among the leaders of the Group of Eight  – eight of the world’s most influential countries – which began a meeting in France on Thursday to discuss the impact of the Arab uprising which seem to have been enabled by the Internet.

According to Jean-Francois Julliard of Reporters Without Borders “G-8 governments should say very clearly for once that Internet access is a fundamental human right.”  He says that more than 60 countries have Internet restrictions in activity and many are following suit.

Additionally,  Tony Wang, the general manager of the social networking site Twitter, said that Internet censorship is self-defeating and commented that:  “the response to bad speech should be more speech.”

Read more…

May 19, 2011

Death of an icon – Strauss Kann falls on his sword, announces resignation today

[John Sempertoller, Politics Contributor]

Telegraph.co.uk: A huge sigh of relief was the expected outcome from the IMF and the supporters of Straus-Kahn’s France presidential bid, when the entrenched bureaucrat announced his resignation as IMF head today.

The reasons for his decision, he says, is to enable him to have more time to fight to prove his innocence.  However, the case against Strauss Kahn seems very strong and with others coming forward to claim that he too abused them as well as to reveal lurid details of his sexual past which has included using high-class prostitutes and the services of  the high-class pimp, Kristin Davis (pictured above). Therefore,  it seems that ‘plea bargaining‘ and ‘I ask the court to take all other offences into consideration’ can only be the main strategies for his lawyers at this stage.

In the meantime, an anonymous source at the IMF reports that British ex-Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, who is widely tipped to replace Strauss Kahn, is reported to be making preparations to take up this new post in a matter of days.

May 16, 2011

Bum ride in Cannes for Avatar star Michelle Rodriguez

[Laura Kiminiahkova, Celebrities Contributor]

MailOnline reports that Michelle Rodiguez, the Avatar movie star, was in Cannes yesterday having some relaxing fun while promoting her new film “Underground Comedy”, co-starring LINDSAY LOHAN and ADRIEN BRODY.

She is pictured here in a wardrobe malfunction which the drooling paparazzi soon took advantage of!

Read more……..
April 20, 2011

British and France put soldiers on the ground in Libya

[Katherine Taylor, Libya Conflict Contributor]

BBC News reports that the UK is sending a number of its military advisors to Libya to assist the rebels to overthrow the regime of Col Muammar Gaddafi.  Around 10 British officers will be deployed together with around the same amount from France.

The British are saying that the move complies with the UN resolution on Libya which prevents the depl0yment of foreign occupation troops. Col. Gaddafi’s foreign minister, is reported to have said that the move would not be helpful to Col Gaddafi and the rebels as it would only serve to prolong the conflict. However, he did not mention what else Britain could do to assist with the rebel’s demands being met.

Military analysts commenting on the move are saying that it is undoubtedly the first step towards a full-scale deployment of British and French troops to Libya to spearhead the following invasion of Nato forces.  They are also saying that Nato’s resolve not to arm the rebels means that Col Gaddafi’s forces have distinct firepower advantages over them as they are able to rely on weaponry (including tanks, rockets and anti-personnel munitions) supplied to Col Gaddafi by US and European governments in the past 2 years.

April 15, 2011

Why France’s stance on the Burka is to be applauded

[Selena Hills, Women’s Rights Contributor]

This week, France became the first country in the world to outlaw the Burka.  As from now, it is illegal to wear a full-face veil in public in the country.

Whilst the law has provoked much controversy in the country, many western nations are considering making similar laws and are being urged by human rights groups to do so.  The main reason for that is because the burka is widely accepted in the Muslim world and outside it, to be a symbol of a man’s domination over a woman. As such the practice which is not supported by any religious norms, is considered to be repulsive and concerning to women in western societies who cherish their equality with men.

Female Genital Mutilation

Another powerful symbol of men’s domination over women, female genital cutting (FGC) is practised in most of Northeast Africa, the far east and southeast Asia  (includes: Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Cambodia, Laos, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, East Malaysia, East Timor, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore).

In these countries most of the victim’s genitals are cut away to make her more attractive to her future husband. The procedure is savage and causes much distress to the women, most of whom never recover psychologically as well as physically from the ordeal.

Guardian.co.uk reports that Lancashire midwife Cath Holland  had first went to Kenya back in 1998 as a midwifery tutor at a nursing school in Pokot.  Soon upon her arrival, she discovered that Pokot practised the most extreme form of female genital mutilation (FGM) whereby the entire outer genitalia, including the clitoris, are literally hacked off whilst the woman is still conscious.

Later on, in her professional duties, she witnessed the effects of the brutal practice when women suffered horribly when giving birth as their vaginal openings, due to the mutilations, were too narrow to let their babies out.

She comments: “In that area, they say there are three sorrows of womanhood. The first is when a girl has her genitalia removed, usually in her teens. The second is when she gets married, and has to have her vagina opened so she can have penetrative sex, which is usually done using an animal’s horn. And the third is when she gives birth, and has to be cut again so the baby can be born”.

After witnessing a FGM procedure for herself, she was so traumatized by the event that she became a committed advocate against the practice.

Women’s rights groups worldwide consider France’s move on the burka to be the right one for women and want it to go even further so that FGM/ FGC too can also be criminalised as they have no place in any civilised society based on equal rights for all.

April 11, 2011

France enforces burka law – women arrested

[Alise Benoit, in Paris -France News Contributor]

BBC News: Since France’s law against the wearing of the Burka came into force this week, two women have been arrested for non-compliance. The new law prohibits any woman in France to wear a face-hiding item of apparel, like the niqab, or burka in public places.  Those who do may be arrested and fined by police.

France is the first country to ban the burka which a substantial number of Muslims consider to be religious apparel. The fine for breaking the law is 150 Euros and a citizenship course.  Whilst the ban does not specifically list burkas, it does exempt other forms of face-hiding apparel and because of this, Muslims are feeling victimized.

The exceptions include:-

  • motobike helmets
  • health face-masks
  • sports, or professional masks (eg., those worn by the French secret police it may be assumed)
  • Sunglasses and hats which do not totally conceal the face
  • Sportive, or religious occasions masks.

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April 6, 2011

What the ‘Fukushima’ is going on, the Irish are saying, as fallout reaches Ireland, Scotland, France and Greece

[Patrick O’Connell, Health and Safety Contributor]

[The Journal.ie]: “Fukushima” is now officially a swear word for the Irish today as radioactive iodine was discovered in three milk samples as reported by the Irish Food Safety Authority of Ireland. This follows the discovery of radioactive fallout from Fukushima which was recently detected in the air, rainwater (and milk samples) in Scotland, France, Greece as well as Ireland.

The milk samples taken today by the country’s Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) which is the agency in Ireland responsible for monitoring radiation in the atmosphere, showed particles of iodine-131, a radioactive isotope, in three separate tests.   However, it seems that the contamination amounts to a very small part of what is legally permitted under EU law and the authority’s chief executive Professor Alan Reilly said:  “Consumers should have absolutely no concerns in relation to this finding.  A person would have to drink some 96,000 litres of milk with Iodine-131 at current levels to exceed the annual safe limit set to protect consumers”.

The three tests recorded 0.13, 0.19 and 0.18 becquerels (Bq) per litre of milk which is considerably below the maximum of 500 Bq per kilogram of dairy produce as allowed by EU law. Prof. Reilly added: “We had expected that such traces could occur given recent weather conditions, as it was already detected in the air…. similar findings had been found in milk samples from France and Greece”.

The RPII said that the radioactive elements were entirely consistent with the type of radioactive elements being emitted from Fukushima and a test of rainwater in Dublin between March 22 and April 4 had shown radioactive contamination at 2.6 Bq per litre which was of “no concern from a public health perspective”.

Legal analysts are saying that whilst the world is sympathetic to the Japanese and their plight caused by their recent earthquake, they should be made to pay compensation to countries that are being affected by radioactive fallout from Fukushima. That is because, the plants had been negligently maintained and should never have been placed in a area like Fukushima which is an earthquake zone.

April 3, 2011

Horror in Ivory Coast as hundreds of bodies litter streets

[Ivan Makabe, Ivory Coast Contributor]

BBC News: Ivory Coast‘s new president is in trouble as the UN secretary general has instructed him to look into hundreds of deaths in the country which have been attributed to his followers.

Reports from the town of Duekoue say that hundreds of dead bodies have been found by UN workers who are complaining that they are down to the president and his supporters.  In the meantime, in Abidjan, fighting is continuing between the sides loyal to the incoming and outgoing presidents with Mr. Ouattrara’s forces reported to be in the ascendency. French forces have seized the country’s main airport.

Andrew Harding of BBC News reports on the massacre in Duekoue:-

I’m walking down the street here in Duekoue and there are bodies all around me. They’re being brought out by Red Cross workers, pulling them out of the bushes, they’re being wrapped in plastic.  I’ve seen 30-40 already, and that’s just a fraction of what they’ve collected over the past few days. They’re taking the bodies to a mass grave that they’re just digging now nearby. The situation in the town remains very unstable. It’s held now by Alassane Ouattara’s forces – we’ve been talking to a lot of them. They deny any role in these atrocities.  We understand that at a church where thousands of civilians are taking shelter there has been more friction, more instability. The UN is rushing there now to see if they can prevent more trouble.

The fighting in Duekoue took place over the past few days between supporters of the vying presidents. According the UN’s report on Saturday, more than 330 people had  perished under the hands of  Mr Ouattara’s forces when they took Duekoue and around 100 by Mr. Gbagbo‘s (ex-president) fighters.

The UN secretary general has said that:  “The secretary general said those responsible should be held accountable”. UN officials investigating the killings say that probably more than 1000 were killed.

France‘s military force in Ivory Coast has been upped with 1,400 of its military personnel assigned to the country.

March 28, 2011

NATO takes over in Libya

[Jens Alamasian, Middle East & Africa Contributor]

Sify News: On Sunday, NATO formally took over all UN-articulated military interventions in Libya. This means that the current predominantly US-led coalition forces will cede command to NATO.

The organisation proposes to enforce the no-fly zone in Libya and has pledged to take:  ‘all necessary action’ to stop civilian attacks by the incumbent regime and: “.. to implement all aspects of the UN resolution. Nothing more, nothing less,” according to the organisation’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

NATO members, according the the rules of the organisation, need to decide now whether they will participate in the military operations and if so, their level of involvement. Only Germany so far has chosen to opt out of any military operations.

What is NATO

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO, is an international governmental military group which came into being as a result of the North Atlantic Treaty of 4 April 1949. It is headquartered in Brussels.

The essence of NATO is that all member states agree to a system of collective defence which means that if an external party attacks any member, then all members will join in its defence. In that regard, it would seem that its role in Libya presents a somewhat exaggerated extension of its remit especially as the Libyan regime did not attack any of of its members.

NATO has 28 members: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.