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French Reporter French Reporter
by Euro Reporter
2007-12-27 08:22:26
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Sarkozy criticized on use of jet

President Nicolas Sarkozy's use of a jet owned by billionaire entrepreneur Vincent Bollore to fly to Egypt on holiday raises questions of propriety, France's opposition has said. "Mr. Bollore has succeeded in business by making good investments and for Mr. Bollore, Mr. Sarkozy is a good investment," Socialist party spokesman Benoit Hamon told RTL radio.

Bollore is one of France's most powerful businessmen with interests ranging from packaging to transport and media, including free daily Direct Soir and advertising group Havas. Sarkozy was accompanied by Italian singer and former model Carla Bruni. Her relationship with the recently divorced president was revealed when the couple visited Disneyland Paris this month.

Sarkozy attracted criticism just after his election in May when he took a short Mediterranean holiday on a luxury yacht belonging to Bollore. Tourism Minister Luc Chatel defended Sarkozy and said he did not understand the controversy. "The president has demonstrated his commitment in the service of the French people. He demonstrates it every day," he told Europe 1 radio. "He also has the right to a private life, the right to take a few days' break."The Bollore group did not respond to an email from Reuters seeking comment.

Just like the former Italian PM Berlusconi, Sarkozy managed to turn all the interest into his personal life and instead of the real problems in France, unemployment, immigration and most of all an insecure future!


3 are pursued after killing of French tourists in Mauritania

Law enforcement officials in Mauritania, Senegal and Mali are searching for three men who are linked to a North African terrorist group and suspected of killing four French tourists in a Christmas eve attack in rural Mauritania.

Gunmen shot members of a vacationing French family as they picnicked Monday on the side of a road near the town of Aleg in southeastern Mauritania, not far from the border with Senegal. A fifth tourist was wounded in the attack and has been flown back to France, according to the French Foreign Ministry.

Government officials initially said that the attack was an attempted robbery, but on Wednesday they said that two of the suspects had been arrested previously on suspicion of having trained in Algerian terrorist camps run by the terrorist group Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which has sworn allegiance to Al Qaeda and claimed responsibility for the deadly car bombings in Algeria this month. Despite these ties, it was not immediately clear what the objective of the attack in Mauritania was.


Chad court sentences French aid workers to 8 years forced labor

Six French aid workers were sentenced to eight years of hard labor by a court in Chad on Wednesday for trying to take 103 children who they claimed were orphans of the conflict in Darfur to Europe.

The verdict came after four days of closely watched testimony in the Chadian capital, Ndjamena, in a case that enraged many Chadians and embarrassed France just as a European peacekeeping force made up largely of French troops was to begin deploying in the region.

Prosecutors portrayed the aid workers as remorseless kidnappers bent on exploiting Chad's children. But the French workers claimed they were humanitarians acting within the confines of international law, trying to save children from imminent harm.

Diplomats and analysts widely expect that the French workers will be allowed to return to France through a bilateral arrangement. Though French officials called the verdict a sovereign decision, they said they would ask Chad to allow the aid workers to serve out their sentences in France. Three Chadians and one Sudanese working with the aid group, L'Arche de Zoé, or Zoé's Ark, were also found guilty.

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