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Posts Tagged ‘Nicolas Sarkozy’

French police raid home of former president Nicolas Sarkozy

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 4, 2012

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy (AFP Photo/Lionel Bonaventure)

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy (AFP Photo/Lionel Bonaventure)

Police officers have carried out a number of raids in Paris – on the villa Nicolas Sarkozy shares with his wife Carla Bruni, on the law offices of the former president’s attorneys and on the apartment provided to him by the government.

Judge Jean-Michele Gentil and financial police searched the Sarkozys’ villa Montmorency, located in the French capital’s most luxurious district, the offices of Arnaud, Claude and Associates, in which Sarkozy is a shareholder, and an apartment given to the former president by the government.

The raids are reportedly linked to a campaign finance corruption scandal involving billionaire L’Oreal heiress Lilian Bettencourt.

Bettencourt, France’s richest woman, is alleged to have illegally contributed two payments of 400,000 euros each to Mr Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign, despite the fact the legal limit on individual donations being 4,600 Euro.

Both were traced to Swiss accounts, and one was allegedly received by Sarkozy in person in Paris, in return for offering the cosmetics magnate  tax breaks once he came to power.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Left Out of D-Day Events, Queen Elizabeth Is Fuming

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 2, 2012

The queen, who is 83, is the only living head of state who served in uniform during World War II. As Elizabeth Windsor, service number 230873, she volunteered as a subaltern in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, training as a driver and a mechanic. Eventually, she drove military trucks in support roles in England.

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth is not amused.

Indeed, she is decidedly displeased, angry even, that she was not invited to join President Obama and France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, next week at commemorations of the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, according to reports published in Britain’s mass-circulation tabloid newspapers on Wednesday. Pointedly, Buckingham Palace did not deny the reports.

The queen, who is 83, is the only living head of state who served in uniform during World War II. As Elizabeth Windsor, service number 230873, she volunteered as a subaltern in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, training as a driver and a mechanic. Eventually, she drove military trucks in support roles in England.

While serving, she met the supreme Allied commander for the D-Day landings, Gen.Dwight D. Eisenhower, and developed a fondness for him, according to several biographies. This prompted Queen Elizabeth, who was crowned in June 1953, to say in later years that he was the American president with whom she felt most at ease.

But on June 6, when Mr. Obama and Mr. Sarkozy attend commemorations at the iconic locations associated with the American D-Day assault — Utah Beach, the town of Ste.-Mère-Église, where the first United States paratroopers landed, and the American war cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer — the highest-ranking British representative will be Prime Minister Gordon Brown. His main role will be at ceremonies at the town of Arromanches, near the beaches where British troops landed. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Beginning of the End

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 23, 2012

By Anne Sinclair, Editorial Director, Le Huffington Post

The combination of Hollande/Sarkozy in the final round comes as no surprise. But that Nicolas Sarkozy ranked second behind Francois Hollande with just 24.4 percent of the vote (according to Ipsos estimates) is a nightmare for the man who received 31.2 percent in the first round of the 2007 elections. This is also the first time since the beginning of the Fifth Republic that the outgoing president has trailed his challenger in the first round. This is more than a disavowal; it’s a rejection. This is the beginning of the end of a mandate the French people hope to visibly put down.

Little remains for Nicolas Sarkozy to hope to prevail. The voter participation rate was at 80 percent today, which is closer to what it was in 2007 than in 2002. It comes as a surprise to those who had expected it to be much lower. And a speech by Nicolas Sarkozy aiming to mobilize voters would fall flat.

Marine Le Pen, who has tried to stick to social issues, has done a much better job than her father, receiving an unprecedented 20.1 percent of the vote, thanks to her return to the Front National’s basic themes: immigration and the fear of others. Her electorate will be divided at best into three pieces at: one half for Sarkozy, one quarter for Hollande, and one quarter who will stay at home on May 6. And this is where we may end up seeing a surprise. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sarkozy ‘Received £42m From Gaddafi To Fund 2007 Election Campaign’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 12, 2012


Everything possible in politics:

French President Nicolas Sarkozy received £42m to fund his election from former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, it was claimed today.

Published on investigative website Mediapart, a governmental briefing note refers to several visits to Libya by Sarkozy’s election team.

The documents make specific reference to Ziad Takieddine, a middle man in huge arms and petrol contracts between France and various Middle Eastern countries.

It is claimed Takieddine went to Tripoli 11 times to supervise the transaction in 2005, “the year where a payment of €50m (£42m) would have been concluded between the Libyans and Sarkozy camp.”

It also claims Brice Hortefeux, Sarkozy’s long time friend, advisor, and later interior minister, “intervened personally” in the financial operations. According to Mediapart, Hortefeux has denied any involvement in the events. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sarkozy Unexpectedly Calls Earlier French Troop Exit From Afghanistan

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 29, 2012

By BRUCE CRUMLEY

JOEL SAGET / AFP / GETTY IMAGES French soldiers from the 1st Infantry Regiment return to the Nijrab FOB (Forward Operating Base) military base in Tora, in the Surobi province in Afghanistan, on Dec. 31, 2011.

So it turns out France is indeed leaving Afghanistan earlier than planned, and will seek to bring the last of its current 3,900 troops home by the end of 2013. Despite signs earlier in the week from French government officials indicating no premature pullout was in the works (and stories like mine explaining why that was the case), French President Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday announced he’d draw French troops down a year ahead of the current 2014 NATO departure date—and will moreover urge Alliance partners to replicate France’s stepped-up hand-over of security duties to Afghan forces.

Sarkozy’s decision came after a meeting with visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai. It also occurred one week after Sarkozy threatened to pull French forces from Afghanistan after four unarmed French troopers were gunned down in a fortified base by an allied Afghan army soldier. Infuriated at those killings—which came less than a month after two other French soldiers were killed by presumably friendly Afghan forces—Sarkozy suspended training of and joint patrols with Afghan units. He also said he’d consider withdrawing France’s entire contingent rapidly if the risk from  Afghan allies couldn’t be diminished. In making their comments in Paris Friday, Karzai and Sarkozy sought to allay fears that moves were afoot to bring the NATO operation to an end before its current 2014 deadline. But they also said the ability and numbers of Afghan forces had increased to the point where they could now assume responsibility for the country’s security ahead of the current NATO time table. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iran: Cameron, Merkel And Sarkozy Demand Regime Ends Nuclear Ambitions

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 23, 2012

David Cameron, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy have issued a statement amid EU oil sanctions imposed against Iran today.

The move comes after Britain joined the United States and France in sending a flotilla of warships through the sensitive Strait of Hormuz as tensions escalate of over the regime’s controversial nuclear programme.

The statement said: “Today, the EU agreed an unprecedented package of sanctions on Iran, including a full ban on Iranian oil exports.

“Our message is clear. We have no quarrel with the Iranian people. But the Iranian leadership has failed to restore international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. We will not accept Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon. Iran has so far had no regard for its international obligations and is already exporting and threatening violence around its region.

“We call on Iran’s leadership immediately to suspend its sensitive nuclear activities and abide fully by its international obligations. The door is open to Iran to engage in serious and meaningful negotiations about its nuclear programme. Until Iran comes to the table, we will be united behind strong measures to undermine the regime’s ability to fund its nuclear programme, and to demonstrate the cost of a path that threatens the peace and security of us all.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Salma Hayek Knighted In France

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 4, 2012

Film star Salma Hayek arrives for the Australian premiere of the new animation feature "Puss in Boots" in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

 

Meet France’s newest Chevalier: Salma Hayek. The Mexican actress is one of more than 800 people who were selected by French president Nicolas Sarkozy to be knighted and join the country’s Legion d’Honneur, or Legion of Honor.

In the government’s official journal, Hayek was lauded as a “director and producer (and) active member of charitable foundations for 23 years,” The Telegraphreports. Yet many are up in arms about the honor.

The French president holds the final word on who will join the ranks of the prestigious order. The legion was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, but the selection process has raised eyebrows recently.

Henri Torre, former French minister and also on the list of recipients this year, refused his award. He told the French television station TFI that the distinction is too often used for political goals.

Others have questioned the long list of Hollywood celebrities who have won the award that was initially created to honor services to the French state. When Liza Minnelli received the award in 2011, the New York Times wrote that “the French government tends to hand out Legion of Honor medals like bonbons.” Famous names who have also been bestowed with the award include Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford, David Cronenberg and Steven Spielberg.

Salma Hayek will receive her medal in a ceremony in the French presidential palace, according toThe Telegraph. Her father-in-law, Francois Pinault, will be honored in the same ceremony

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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UK-EU Conflict

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 28, 2011

Did Nicolas Sarkozy snub David Cameron’s handshake?

David Cameron: ‘why I’m sticking to my guns’ over Europe

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Why Qatari Owners of Paris’ Soccer Team Hanker For Aging Englishman Beckham

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 22, 2011

By BRUCE CRUMLEY

Los Angeles Galaxy's David Beckham fights for the ball against Emelio "Chieffy" Caligdong of the Philippines national football team Azkals during their friendly match at the Rizal Memorial football stadium in Manila December 3, 2011.

Why does perennially under-performing Paris Saint-Germain of France’s anemic professional soccer league see hiring a fading star at over $1 million per month as vital to assuring its future? Because the aging player in question is David Beckham, whose marketing and financial allure is considered as important as his footballing skill by PSG’s Qatari owners. And even if Beckham’s representatives are denying reports that the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder has come to an unofficial agreement with PSG, there are reasons to suspect the resurgent rumors may yet come to fruition. After all, the Paris club is only one part of a mix with which Qatari VIPs are looking to boost the Emirate’s prestige through the world’s most popular sport. And despite his advancing age and slowing gait, Beckham remains not only one of the biggest global draws in the game—but just the kind of meta-star capable of mesmerizing celebrity-crazed, sports-fickle inhabitants of Paris.

French media was again abuzz Wednesday with reports that the 36-year-old Beckham has agreed to sign an 18-month contract with PSG once his Galaxy deal expires Dec. 31. According to dailies le Parisien and l’Equipe, Beckham has accepted a league-topping $1.05 million monthly salary whose total value could be nearly doubled by $22.3 million in performance bonuses—most of those based on Beckham’s merchandizing potential, rather than footballing potency. Indeed, in addition to Beckham’s iconic and hunk status that’s expected to broaden PSG’s appeal to a far wider base of Parisians (a population infamous as fair weather fans who demand big matches, lots of glitz, and the likelihood of victory to even start caring much about sports), the association with the former England hero might well allow Paris Saint-German to finally establish a true brand identity abroad. And that, it’s hoped, could mean millions in new income from PSG jerseys selling alongside the likes of Liverpool, Bayern Munich, and Barcelona merchandize in foreign markets–particularly in Beckham-mad Asia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Euro Veto: Nicolas Sarkozy Attacks ‘Obstinate Kid With A Single Obsession’ Cameron

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 15, 2011


Are they really laughing ?

David Cameron has attempted to rally support among European leaders believed to have deep concerns about last week’s summit deal amid reports French President Nicolas Sarkozy made a savage personal attack on his leadership.

The Prime Minister told Tory MPs he was in close contact with counterparts in other member states and insisted it was “not one against 26”, party sources said.

But tensions between the UK and France were heightened further on Wednesday night after an unconfirmed report in French satirical magazine Le Canard Enchaine suggested President Sarkozy had accused Mr Cameron of behaving “like an obstinate kid”.

The magazine reported that Mr Sarkozy told his party’s MPs in a private meeting that he had achieved a “good coup” by securing an agreement covering most of the EU while resisting the UK’s demands.

“It’s the first time that we have said ‘No’ to the English,” Mr Sarkozy is reported to have said. “Cameron behaved like an obstinate kid, with a single obsession: protecting the City, which wants to carry on behaving like an off-shore centre. No country supported him. That is the mark of a political defeat.

“Objectively, it was a good coup. I manoeuvred well. The whole world recognised that my proposal was the only possible course. The accord will perhaps not put an end to the crisis, but it is a tool for facing up to it. The dynamism of the Franco-German axis enabled us to rally 26 countries.”

No 10 confirmed Mr Cameron made calls to leaders in the Czech Republic and Sweden – two non-eurozone nations that could waver when it comes to signing up to the summit deal – as well as Irish prime minister Enda Kenny, who has warned a referendum may be needed on the deal.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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David Cameron Blocks Eurozone Deal Putting UK At Risk Of Isolation

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 9, 2011

Prime Minister David Cameron has been criticised for “isolating” the UK from the EU after he vetoed a crucial treaty designed to deal with the eurozone crisis because it was “not in Britain’s national interest”.

The treaty governing all 27 EU members is now likely to be abandoned, but the 17 eurozone countries will continue to negotiate a separate stability pact, and nine of the 10 EU members not in the single currency have chosen to endorse that process.

The UK will be the only EU member left outside the deal, the Council of Europe has indicated, despite earlier suggestions that Sweden, Hungary and the Czech Republic would not take part.

The move was criticised by Labour leader Ed Milliband, who said that Cameron had “spectacularly mishandled” the negotiations. Some Lib Dems also attacked the decision, with LibDem MEP chief whip Chris Davies saying that it had left the UK “isolated”.

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Click Here To Read The Full Statement On The Deal By The EU’s Leaders

Countries who sign up to the stability agreement are likely to be forced to have balanced budgets, and a structural deficit of not more than 0.5% of gross domestic product.

The deal also includes sanctions for nations if their deficit is larger than 3% of GPD.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the EU had “learned from the mistakes of the past”.

In a press conference on Friday she said: “The British were never part of the euro, they had an opt out from the beginning so we are familiar with the situation.

 

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Eurozone Crisis: Merkel And Sarkozy Call For New Treaty To Save Euro

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 5, 2011

France and Germany have declared they want a new European treaty, either with the entire EU or just the eurozone to solve the financial crisis.

Following crisis talks in Paris, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that eurozone states should face sanctions for running up large deficits.

The pair called for the 27 countries of the EU to move towards greater fiscal integration to ensure the current financial crisis is not repeated. If that was not possible, just the 17 states that have adopted the euro should move forward, they said.

“Whatever has happened must never happen again, and it’s for this reason we want a new treaty,” said Sarkozy. “This is what Germany and France want.”

Sarkozy said that the two countries were “in full and total agreement that eurobonds are no solution to the crisis at all”.

“We are going through a very difficult situation,” said Merkel. “We should recover the trust in the market and our trust in the eurozone. And during the next Thursday and Friday summit we should recover this trust and consolidate our commitments.”

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Benetton Unhate Campaign: World Leaders ‘Kiss’ In New Clothing Adverts

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 16, 2011

President Obama snogging Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez? Unlikely.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu smooching with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas? Never.

President Sarkozy cuddling up to German chancellor Angela Merkel… Actually, that one we could see. Somewhat disturbingly.

These images and more are all part of a new advertising campaign by clothing brand Benetton, who in an attempt to spark sales conversation have released six highly controversial images of world leaders engaging in some very close diplomatic discussions.

The ‘Unhate’ campaign is intended to promote a new way of looking at hatred, the brand says.

“It means not hating,” Alessandro Benetton, deputy chairman of Benetton Group SpA, told the Wall Street Journal. “In a moment of darkness, with the financial crisis, what’s going on in North African countries, in Athens, this is an attitude we can all embrace that can have positive energy.”

[CLICK HERE TO SEE THE PICTURES]

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Whither the European (Dis)Union?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 14, 2011

by 

Is significantly greater integration the surest way to prevent both the euro and even the entire European Union from

A droplet of water falls from a tap in front of the euro sculpture at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, Friday, Nov.11, 2011. (Photo: Michael Probst / AP)

blowing apart? Or is EU federation–and the basic powers national governments now wield being weakened in the process–exactly the kind of radical fusion certain to send countries jealous of their sovereignty fleeing for the exits? As euro zone members now consider drastic, big-bang solutions to overcoming their currency’s crisis, leaders of all 27 EU member states find themselves grappling with the question of whether more or less Europe is necessary to safeguard the bloc’s future.

The spread of the single currency’s existential crisis–which began as a debt problem initially believed to imperil only a few small nations before expanding to shake Europe’s biggest economies to their foundations–mirrors the rising pressure posed by a similarly essential dilemma over the wider European Union project, and evoking similar denial from leaders. While most officials agree that deep and dramatic measures must be undertaken to finally contain the debt-driven euro emergency, their concord evaporates over the different options for action—especially centralization of budget and debt rules, and giving real intervention power to the European Central Bank. Central to that disagreement are clashing views over just how bound together EU members should be—a long-standing confrontation between Euroenthusiasts and Euroskeptics that has resurged in crisis anew. As such, moves to save the euro will probably shape the direction—or even future—of the entire EU as it seek a collective horizon to look toward.

News reports Nov. 10 stated France and Germany were consulting partners on potentially radical harmonization measures between euro zone members—or at least those capable of and willing to accept far stricter budgetary and fiscal rules that greater convergence would involve. If true, it suggests the euro zone’s two biggest economies are contemplating tossing unsustainably indebted currency partners out of what would become a smaller, tighter euro ship. German Chancellor Angela Merkel denied those reports, insisting scission of the euro 17 wasn’t an option. Yet her comments elsewhere indicated the status quo could not endure, either. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Would China Want to Help Bail Out the Euro Zone?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 2, 2011

By LEO CENDROWICZ / BRUSSELS

A Chinese paramilitary officer stands in front of the European Union flag outside the office of the E.U. delegation to China in Beijing on Oct. 28, 2011 Ng Han Guan / AP

In years to come, economists and historians might hark back to this week as the moment the balance of world power tipped toward China. The signs have been there for while, but the symbolism is especially potent now, in the few days between yet another euro-zone crisis summit, held in Brussels on Oct. 26, and the Nov. 3-4 G-20 summit in Cannes, France. The reason for choosing this as the watershed is crudely financial: at the Brussels summit, European leaders made a previously unthinkable appeal for China to use its $3.2 trillion currency reserves to help dig the euro out of its debt hole. And while the euro zone is anxiously awaiting an answer, China — inscrutable about its intentions — is milking the moment.

China is being targeted as a potential investor as part of a complicated scheme agreed to at the summit to leverage Europe’s bailout fund up to €1 trillion ($1.4 trillion), along with other potential outsiders like Russia, Brazil, Middle Eastern countries and the International Monetary Fund. On Oct. 27, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is hosting the Cannes G-20 gathering, phoned Chinese President Hu Jintao to seek backing. “If the Chinese, who have 60% of global reserves, decide to invest in the euro instead of the dollar, why refuse?” Sarkozy said after his call. “Why would we not accept that the Chinese have confidence in the euro zone and deposit a part of their surpluses in our funds or in our banks?”(See “Europe’s Debt Crisis Agreement: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.”)

China can certainly spare the €100 billion ($140 billion) reportedly being discussed among officials. The real question is why China would want to plant it in a low-growth region like the euro zone. The bond-leverage scheme has already  Read the rest of this entry »

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