France News of the Week by our news partner, Le Figaro in English
Socialist candidate François Hollande announces his campaign platform… and gets really embarrassed
On Thursday, Socialist presidential candidate and front runner François Hollande announced his presidential program, with a cost of roughly €20 billion over the next five years. He plans to finance it by eliminating tax exemptions.
Some of his measures include an increase in taxes on large corporations, creation of separate savings and investment banks, creation of a new tax bracket for France’s richest citizens, creation of 60,000 jobs in the education sector and the elimination of €29 billion in tax exemptions.
A few days earlier, on Sunday, Hollande gathered party faithfuls in the first big meeting of his presidential campaign. At that meeting, in front of an estimated 25,000 PS (Parti Socialiste) members, he declared his true adversary to be “the world of finance” and unveiled some of his measures…and made more than one gaffe.
Hollande cited an inspiring quote: “They failed because they didn’t have a dream.” The candidate attributed it to the infamous British poet and playwright William Shakespeare. A few days later, British newspaper The Telegraph revealed that the Shakespeare quoted by Hollande was not William…but Nicholas Shakespeare, a British journalist and author born several hundred years after the Bard.
It is not the only mistake the Hollande made during his speech. He has also been in hot water for neglecting to mention Ségolène Royal, the last Socialist presidential candidate and the first female candidate to ever make it to the second round of French primaries. She is behind many of the ideas that make up the Socialist party platform and, thus, Hollande’s presidential program. Royal is also, ahem, Hollande’s ex and the mother of his children.
French film The Artist earns 10 Oscar nominations and French sweep the Oscar roll call
On Tuesday, the long-awaited Oscar announcements were made…and The Artist earned 10 nominations, including best actor (for Jean Dujardin), best director (for Michel Hazanavicius), best supporting actress for Bérénice Bejo) and best film. Only Martin Scorsese’s film Hugo Cabret earned more (11 nominations.)
The Artist wasn’t the only winner. A record 17 French speakers—15 from France, a Belgian and a French Canadian—earned Oscar nominations.
On Friday, The Artist earned 10 more nominations…this time for the Césars (the French equivalent to the Oscars.) The highest number of nominations, however, went to Polisse (which earned 13) and L’exercice de l’état (11 nominations.) Polisse tells the story of the police working in the child protection unit in Paris, while L’exercice de l’état is about the political machine seen through the eyes of a disillusioned government minister. The popular comedy Intouchables won 9 nominations.
Manufacturer of faulty breast implants arrested
The French breast implant manufacturer Jean-Claude Mas was taken in for questioning on Thursday morning on accusations of manslaughter and unintentional injury. His house was also searched and several objects were seized by police. On Friday, he was released on a €100,000 bail.
Mas, the owner of Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP), is accused of having used a non-standard industrial silicone gel in the implants. The implants run a high rupture risk and have caused irritation and inflammation in patients.
There are between 400,000 and 500,000 women who wear PIP implants in the world, which has made this case into an international health scandal. Mas was also the subject of an Interpol search after he hit a bus while driving under the influence in Costa Rica. The trial will likely drag on over the next few years.
What will the year of the dragon bring us?
This week begins the Chinese New Year and we are all wondering what the year of the dragon might bring us. This past week Le Figaro in English broke down some of the hottest subjects in the news into understandable infographics. Glance into the future and see what might happen with Europe or the wreckage of the Costa Concordia in 2012.
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