John's Feed
May 8, 2013

Chad emerges as African power broker as France steps back

PARIS/DAKAR (Reuters) – Chad’s President Idriss Deby, a survivor of countless rebellions, has stepped into a void left by Africa’s traditional heavyweights and turned his desert nation into a powerbroker as France disengages from its former colonies.

The success of Chad’s 2,000 battle-hardened troops in a French-led mission to hunt down al Qaeda fighters in the deserts of northern Mali has marked it out as the only African nation to quickly deploy an effective fighting force.

May 2, 2013

Niger urges foreign help to rid Libya of armed Islamists

PARIS (Reuters) – Niger’s foreign minister urged major powers on Thursday to act against Islamist militants who had found shelter in Libya’s vast southern desert and, he said, posed a growing threat to neighbouring countries.

Mohamed Bazoum, in Paris to meet his French counterpart Laurent Fabius, said Niger had information that Islamists who had been driven out of northern Mali by a French-led intervention force were setting up bases in Libya’s lawless south.

May 1, 2013

French minister says Yahoo wanted to “devour” website

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s industry minister said he had blocked Yahoo Inc’s (YHOO.O: Quote, Profile, Research) plan to buy a majority stake in online video website Dailymotion because the U.S. group wanted to “devour” its smaller competitor.

Yahoo, which declined to comment, had been in talks to acquire a 75 percent stake in Dailymotion, owned by France Telecom’s Orange (FTE.PA: Quote, Profile, Research), a deal that would have valued Europe’s largest video website at $300 million.

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.