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May 1, 2013

France wanted Yahoo as equal partner in Dailymotion

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s industry minister said on Wednesday that Yahoo Inc’s plan to buy a majority stake in online video website Dailymotion from France Telecom would not have benefited the two companies.

“The minister expressed his desire that a partnership between Yahoo and Orange (France Telecom) be built on an equal basis that would be beneficial to both sides,” Arnaud Montebourg’s office said in a statement.

Apr 29, 2013

France, keen to boost military strength, avoids defence cuts

PARIS, April 29 (Reuters) – France will keep its defence
budget at the same level for the next six years after the
government decided that proposed cuts would hamper its ability
to mount military operations such as its intervention in Mali.

The freeze will still lead to the loss of 34,000 jobs in the
defence ministry at a time of growing unemployment in France,
according to a strategic review announced on Monday.

Apr 24, 2013

Mali’s Tuareg rebels reject elections, disarming before talks

PARIS (Reuters) – Mali’s Tuareg separatist rebels dismissed French calls to disarm ahead of July elections on Wednesday saying they would fight to the death if Malian troops entered areas under its control, underscoring the challenge of unifying the West African state.

Mahamadou Djeri Maiga, the group’s vice-president and chief negotiator, said Paris had a moral obligation to force the interim Malian government to the negotiating table to flesh out a deal that would create a framework for autonomy in the north and provide international guarantees.

Apr 23, 2013

Compromise seen on Western Sahara allowing U.N. mission extension

PARIS (Reuters) – The United States has dropped demands for human rights observers in Western Sahara, diplomats said on Tuesday, paving the way for a compromise that would allow the U.N. mission in the disputed territory to be extended for another year.

Western Sahara, a tract of desert the size of Britain that has lucrative phosphate reserves and potentially offshore oil, is the focus of Africa’s longest-running territorial dispute, between Morocco and pro-independence Polisario guerrillas.

Apr 22, 2013

U.N. failure boosts Western Sahara conflict risk: Polisario

PARIS (Reuters) – Failure by the United Nations to let peacekeepers monitor human rights in the disputed Western Sahara risks pushing the region toward armed conflict, a senior official from the Polisario Front independence movement said on Monday.

The dispute over Western Sahara dates back to 1975 and pits Morocco, which claims the region is part of its territory, against the Algeria-backed Polisario.

Apr 19, 2013

France says to negotiate U.N. text on Western Sahara

PARIS (Reuters) – France signaled on Friday it would push to modify a U.S. proposal to the United Nations to allow U.N. peacekeepers to monitor human rights in the disputed Western Sahara before deciding which way it would vote.

The dispute, dating back to 1975, pits Morocco, which says the Western Sahara is its territory, against the Algeria-backed Polisario Front, which says it is an independent state.

Apr 15, 2013

Wealth inventory exposes millionaires in French government

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s Socialist government contains eight millionaires, a list of ministers’ personal assets showed on Monday, dealing a blow to the image built by President Francois Hollande of a team enduring frugal salaries and no-frills travel.

The inventory, part of a scramble by Hollande to quieten an outcry over an ex-budget minister’s undeclared Swiss bank account, exposed Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius as having a 6.5 million euro ($8.50 million) fortune, excluding his art collection.

Apr 9, 2013

French chief rabbi says will not quit over plagiarism scandal

PARIS (Reuters) – Gilles Bernheim, the grand rabbi of France, refused to quit on Tuesday despite admitting to several counts of plagiarism and to deception about his academic credentials.

The revelations have shocked France’s 600,000-strong Jewish community and he has come under pressure to quit, but Bernheim said that resigning would be a “desertion” as he came clean on one of the faithful’s main radio stations in the country.

Apr 5, 2013

France wants to keep 1,000 soldiers in Mali permanently

BAMAKO/PARIS (Reuters) – France has proposed keeping a permanent force of 1,000 French troops in Mali to fight armed Islamist militants, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Friday.

Fabius, on a visit to Bamako, said France was pushing ahead with plans to reduce its 4,000-strong military presence from the end of this month but planned to keep a combat force in Mali to support a future U.N. peacekeeping mission.

Apr 3, 2013

Mali insurgency endangers French pull-out plan

PARIS (Reuters) – France wants to cut its forces in Mali sharply by the year-end and is urging its ex-colony to hold elections in July, but an Islamist insurgency is threatening that timetable.

Many people in northern Mali who lived under the rebels’ brutal form of Islamic law last year are apprehensive about French plans to leave just 1,000 of the current 4,000 troops in the country by December, with U.N. peacekeepers filling the gap.