News from France: DSK, Lagarde, TDF, France arming Libyan rebels
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Dominique Strauss-Kahn freed from house arrest
News of the possible collapse of sexual assault charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn stunned France on Friday. And it’s not only DSK’s lawyers who are claiming their client’s innocence.
According to the New York Times, New York City prosecutors have reportedly found serious discrepancies and repeated lies in the 32-year-old housekeeper’s allegations. It’s also been reported she has possible links to people involved in criminal activities, including drug dealing and money laundering.
On Friday, DSK was released on his own recognizance and his bail was lifted.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. didn’t drop the case as some legal experts expected. Another court hearing is scheduled for July 18.
France Socialist Party presidential nominee candidates must file by July 13 in advance of the October primaries. As the July deadline approaches, some have started lobbying for a suspension of the process to give Strauss-Kahn a chance to re-enter the race.
According to The First Post, with the possibility of DSK returning to France before too long, some are saying he should be given a chance to apply for the presidency of the Socialist Party, a position he was expected to win before the claim of attempted rape was made. This in turn would allow him to run against current President Nicolas Sarkozy in France’s national elections next year.
Christine Lagarde will head IMF
Christine Lagarde was named chair of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), vacating the post of France’s minister of finance. When she assumes the IMF post on July 5, she will be the IMF’s first female leader [see France 24 video]. As a result, President Sarkozy named a replacement for Mme. Lagarde on Wednesday.
François Baroin named new France finance minister
François Baroin will take over as French finance minister. French President Nicolas Sarkozy Wednesday named Baroin finance minister, installing him at a pivotal time in the Greek crisis and giving him responsibility for sustaining the French economic recovery while significantly reducing France’s budget deficit.
France supplying Libyan rebels with weapons
France 24 reported that the French government admitted on Friday that it has supplied Libyan rebels with weapons and ammunition, a move some claim violates UN Resolutions. Initially the French government didn’t confirm the claim.
On Friday, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said his country’s NATO partners and the U.N. Security Council were told about France’s decision to supply weapons to the Libyan opposition.
“We believe that within the frameworks of [UN Security Council] Resolutions 1970 and 1973—and 1970 as a whole—it is clear that all means are legitimate for protecting peaceful civilians,” Juppé said on Friday in France’s defense.
French journalists freed by Taliban
Two television journalists, who were held in captivity by the Taliban in Afghanistan for nearly 18 months, were released and returned to France Thursday. Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier were kidnapped in December 2009 while reporting east of Kabul. On Friday France 24 and other major media reported large ransoms were paid to the Taliban for the release, a claim the French government denies.
Tour de France is rolling
The 98th Tour de France began Saturday and will end in Paris on Sunday, July 24th. It promises to be an exciting race with 21 stages that take racers on a scenic but grueling race through France.
Saxo Bank A/S, a Copenhagen-based online trader and asset manager, increased its backing of three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador, who was jeered by TDF fans at a Thursday public event held in Le Puy du Fou in the western region of Vendée.
Contador, who has won all the Grand Tours including the Giro d’Italia for the second time in May, tested positive for clenbuterol at last year’s race.
He has been cleared by the Spanish authorities, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will decide in August whether his claim that the positive test was due to contaminated meat is valid.
There’s an increase in riders from the US and Canada who grew up with Lance Armstrong as their idol. Ten Americans and a Canadian will be in the competition. Lance Armstrong will be at the Tour de France as a spectator.
The news from France seems to be filled with surprises these days and we’ll be on the watch.
© Paris New Media, LLC
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La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life [Hardcover]
“[Sciolino] begins by describing what went through her head the first time a president of France kissed her hand. She also writes about Dominique Strauss-Kahn, whose behavior prompted one French comic to suggest that women better wear burqas in his presence. This is much better to read about than why French women don’t get fat.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
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