News from France: Economics, Google-Hachette Libre Settlement, DSK, Baguettes

By Karen Fawcett

The majority of this week’s news from France has to do with the economy, as the world markets ricochet, causing traders and investors to tremble.

Standard & Poor downgraded the U.S.'s triple-A credit rating to AA-plus. Now France’s AAA rating is under fire and President Sarkozy returned to Paris to preside over a small cabinet meeting on Wednesday. According to the New York Times, he instructed his budget and finance ministers to come back this week with new measures to ensure that France meets its targets of a deficit of 5.7 percent of gross domestic product this year, 4.6 percent next year and 3 percent in 2013.

Because 2012 is an election year, the French president is especially eager to improve his popularity rating which according to Bloomberg News is holding steady at 36%.

Sarkozy and Merkel will meet in Paris on Tuesday

German Chancellor Merkel.  Photo credit: AFP-France 24On August 16th, German Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy will meet in Paris to discuss economic governance of the 17-nation euro region.

In the interim, France, Italy, Spain and Belgium have banned “shorting” of banking stocks for two weeks in the wake of this past week’s market chaos, according to the London Telegraph.

Google and Hachette Libre reach online publishing agreement

Google has reached an agreement with France's largest publishing company, Hachette Libre. The agreement will allow Google to digitize and scan books from Hachette's library of copyrighted but out-of-print books.

DSK update

What would a week be without news of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, whose legal problems are by no means disappearing? Even though it appears as if the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office may drop the criminal case against the former head of the International Monetary FundKenneth Thompson, the lawyer who represents Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel maid from Guinea, who accused Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault, is proceeding with the civil case.

Thompson, the son of one of the city’s first policewomen to be assigned to be a street beat cop, was an assistant with the U.S. Attorney's office in Brooklyn. His work prosecuting and convicting a New York policeman for beating and sodomizing a Haitian immigrant was an essential part of the case. Fifteen years later, he’s at the center of another high-profile case with racial overtones. To read more, access this article by Reuters.

Dalai Lama in Toulouse

Spiritual Leader Dalai Lama arrived in Toulouse on Friday for a three-day visit.  He was greeted at the airport by Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen and spiritual directors and members of the Organizing Committee of Toulouse 2011.  He addressed  numerous  members of the press during his first private visit to France. The Dalai Lama stated the reason for his trip is to promote human values and religious harmony, adding he is satisfied over turning over his political and administrative powers to Lobsang Sangay, the newly elected leader of Tibet.

According to the Associated Press, "Now, today I'm just a spiritual person" without political responsibilities, the Dalai Lama said in Toulouse during a talk on meditation that drew thousands of Buddhist followers and others. He also addressed politics in the brief remarks shown on BFM TV. "If the Chinese government gives us meaningful autonomy, genuinely implements the rights mentioned in the constitution or ... papers regarding the rights of minorities, sincerely fully implements, then it's in our interest to remain within the People's Republic of China."


Dalai Lama in Toulouse. Photo credit: AP-Manuel Blondeau

Bread glorious Bread: What is happening in France? Is it progress or not?

Jean-Louis Hecht & automated baguette machine. Photo credit: Metro-AFP.According to BonjourParis News, Paris baker Jean-Louis Hecht may have introduced the bakery of tomorrow with his new automated hot baguette vending machine available round-the-clock outside of his boulangerie in the Paris 19th.

According to TIME , 1,600 baguettes were sold in January when the machine was installed and 4,500 were sold in July. Only you can decide whether or not this is good or bad news.

© Paris New Media, LLC

Karen@BonjourParis.com

 

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