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France News of the Week by our news partner, Le Figaro in English
Happy New Year from your friends at Le Figaro in English. We wish the best to our readers. With the French election ahead, this year will be an exciting one. Keep on reading.
The “shipwreck” of SeaFrance
Next Monday, a government tribunal will decide on the future of the company SeaFrance, which runs ferries across the English Channel. Earlier this week, French president Nicolas Sarkozy announced its liquidation, then withdrew the announcement. A final decision will be made at the meeting.
On the table is a €50 million project launched by the union of SeaFrance workers, Scop, to take over the ailing ferry service.
In the meantime, France has been debating all week on the futures of the SeaFrance employees if the company is indeed liquidated. The company is a filial of the French transport group SNCF and a French law requires the company to offer workers alternative positions in case of liquidation. The union, Scop, has protested that the positions offered by the SNCF were completely unsuitable for the SeaFrance workers and often required them to move across the country.
Is Sarkozy a “dirty guy”?
Nicolas Sarkozy has not even officially entered his 2012 re-election campaign but already, the political name-calling is beginning.
French newspaper Le Parisien reported that Socialist frontrunner François Hollande called the French president a “dirty guy” during a lunch with journalists.
Though the words were taken out of context, the UMP (Sarkozy’s party) immediately demanded an apology.
Soccer star David Beckham will not play for the Parisian team
Since October, the fans and officials of Paris Saint-Germain Football Club (PSG) have believed that heart throb player David Beckham. Jerseys were printed by the club and the word was spread.
On Wednesday, however, Leonardo, PSG’s director, announced that Becks is not coming. While the impact to team strategy on the field is minor, the loss of this superstar may prove to be a giant blow to the team’s marketing strategy. These days, the “Spice Boy” is practically a brand in his own right.
New measures on foreign students in France
A meeting between government ministers and the presidents of academic institutions will end a debate on a highly contested 2011 bill. The bill, launched by Interior Minister Claude Guéant, controls more strictly the transition from studies to the working world for foreign residents of France but has forced many “high potential” foreign students to leave France.
French President Sarkozy called the meeting, which will be presided over by Laurent Wauquiez, the Minister of Higher Education and Research. As many business organizations protested the bill, Sarkozy’s goal is to appease his supporters from the business world before his upcoming campaign for re-election.
Wauquiez says the bill will not be withdrawn, but it will be amended.
Disgraced French manufacturer sold faulty breast implants worldwide
A French manufacturer Poly Implant Prosthèse has made headlines across the world for selling faulty breast implants containing questionable materials. Up to half a million woman have these implants (including 30,000 in France) and many governments have advised the women to have them removed. The implants have high rupture rates and may cause cancer.
On Thursday, a police transcript from October was released in which the company’s founder admits that he produced a non-approved type of silicon for use in the implants. He also admitted ordering his employees to conceal the truth from the regulation agency.
Le Figaro discovered that the PIP was the primary supplier for numerous cancer clinics in France, meaning that many women who underwent reconstructive surgery now have these faulty implants.
The scandal has also helped to uncover other questionable practices in the world of medical implants and devices. Investigations have proven the industry is remarkably under-regulated. Le Figaro continues these investigations.
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