Arrests Made In Air France Flight Cocaine Case

It is also the first time that a France’s head of state will arrive in New Zealand to further strengthen the ties between the two countries and discuss the common interests in the South Pacific. French President Francois Hollande (Reuters) Related Articles New Zealand Celebrities Support Deep Sea Oil Drilling Protests (VIDEO) The president of France will arrive sometime on Nov 2014. The announcement of the planned visit comes after President Hollande said he will be attending the G20 summit in Queensland, Australia . Initial talks are ongoing about his travel to New Zealand. The news of the French leader’s visit indicates that France sees the increasing importance of the South Pacific where it has commercial, territorial and security interests. Reports said that France is growing concerned of the South Pacific’s instability. French Polynesia and New Caledonia are the two big French territories demanding their independence from the mother land. A French diplomatic source has confirmed that the French president welcomed the idea of discussing its interests and to include New Zealand on his agenda after the G-20 summit. Must Read Advertising on Pinterest with Promoted Pins Sponsorship Link France tended to focus only on emerging economies like China , India and Brazil as well as other countries in Europe. His planned visit to New Zealand would show the rest of the world that France has become “multi-polar”. Mr Hollande’s visit would coincide with New Zealand’s commemoration of the beginning of World War I when 18,500 New Zealanders died. Many were killed in the Battle of Somme which took place in North Paris and at Passchendaele in Belgium. France, the world’s fifth-largest economy and the second-biggest market in the European Union , can be a potentially viable ally for New Zealand. France has excellent clout for being a founder member of the 28-nation bloc. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key went to France this week to seek support from the country to begin free trade between New Zealand and the European Union . This was an issue that has been on the backburner for several years. However, Mr Key admitted it the deal is still a long way off but he remains optimistic it will push through soon. He said New Zealand still has a lot of work to do for this to happen. To contact the editor, e-mail:

Alitalia seeks capital hike, Air France-KLM votes against: source

In a prepared statement, the Venezuelan Attorney General’s Office said 17 people have been arrested in the drug trafficking case. The flight originated at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital. An Air France executive in Venezuela, six airline employees, a security guard and a loading platform supervisor are among those arrested. Eight members of the Venezuelan national guard are also in custody and were scheduled to appear in front of a judge Wednesday afternoon for a preliminary hearing. On September 11, French authorities discovered 1.3 tons of pure cocaine stuffed inside 30 suitcases on the flight. The colorful bags did not match any of the passengers on board, CNN affiliate BFMTV reported. Coast Guard makes $20 million cocaine bust Huge drug bust off the coast of Florida Drug busts at sea: 4 tons of cocaine The street value of the stash is about 200 million euros, or $270 million. Woman busted in Spain for cocaine in breast implants Authorities worked with Spanish, British and Dutch police on the investigation, BFMTV said. This case “illustrates the importance of strengthening International cooperation in the fight against traffickers,” French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said. Suspected drug smugglers sail to jail In Venezuela, authorities promised a swift investigation as soon as the confiscation was announced in Paris. All 17 arrests were made in less than three days. Venezuelan Interior and Justice Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres told reporters in Venezuela that authorities think an organized crime group with Italian and British members is responsible for the shipment.

France pushes for U.N. action on Central African Republic

View gallery French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius addresses the press during the UN General Assembly in New York, September 26, 2013. (AFP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand) 5 hours ago New York City (AFP) – Talks are making progress on a UN Security Council resolution on Syria’s chemical weapons including coercive measures to ensure compliance, France said Thursday. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who took part Wednesday in a meeting of the five veto-wielding powers, said that negotiations “have progressed overall” and he hoped for a resolution “soon.” But Fabius also said there remain “some issues to clarify” before adoption of a resolution on ending Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical arsenal. “France’s demands have been satisfied at this point,” Fabius told reporters. France has been seeking a reference to the UN Charter’s Chapter VII which makes the resolution obligatory for a country. But diplomats say that the Security Council resolution will not threaten military force or sanctions but instead will mention the possibility of future action if Syria does not comply. Russia, the main ally of Assad, has resisted references to Chapter VII, calling it a pretext to war. France has also demanded accountability for crimes in Syria and language calling the use of chemical weapons an attack on international security, which would give the Security Council power to act. “On these three points things have moved forward,” Fabius said. The UN Security Council is working on a resolution to accompany a US-Russia agreement under which Assad would give up his chemical stockpile. The deal put on hold threatened military action by the United States and France in response to an August 21 chemical attack which US intelligence says killed more than 1,400 people in suburban Damascus. Politics & Government LONDON (AP) The eagle, red-handed. Associated Press Ruben Studdard didn’t even get one last pig-out session before making his way to “The Biggest Loser” ranch. Associated Press

France President to Visit New Zealand for the First Time, PM John Key Seeks EU Free Trade Agreement

But its top shareholder Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA), which holds a 25 percent stake, voted against the capital hike proposal, a source close to the matter said. The Franco-Dutch group declined to comment. Alitalia, which has struggled to make a profit throughout its life and was bailed out repeatedly by the Italian state before being privatized in 2009, again faces a cash crunch. Its net loss for the first six months was 294 million euros, on top of losses of more than 840 million euros the group had already accumulated since its privatization in 2009. Analysts said it needed a sizeable cash injection and a strong foreign partner. “The shareholders will be called to approve a capital increase of no less than 100 million euros,” the company said. It did not specify the terms of the capital increase, which usually includes a share issue. “With this capital hike they are just buying time, but it doesn’t really solve the problem,” said Andrea Giuricin, a transport analyst at Milan’s Bicocca University. “First they need to find the money to recapitalize.” A shareholder meeting to debate the capital increase was called for October 14, and the board will meet again next Thursday. The airline said net debt at the end of June stood at 946 million euros, while liquidity was equal to 128 million euros. DEVELOPING ROME HUB Alitalia’s once ambitious plan to become a strong regional player has failed in the face of tough competition from low-cost carriers, high-speed trains and lower demand for air travel. Recently appointed CEO Gabriele Del Torchio, a turnaround specialist, has already outlined a new plan to focus on the more lucrative long-haul market, but he desperately needs cash to buy the larger aircraft needed for inter-continental flights. The company says the new strategy will help it to break even in 2015 and return to profit in 2016. Italy was betting on Air France-KLM raising its stake, possibly even taking control of the company, but any such commitment may clash with Italy’s own ambition to make Rome a transport hub for intercontinental flights. Industry Minister Flavio Zanonato on Thursday said Italy was working with banks to find a temporary solution to put the company in a stronger financial position first rather than leaving it at the mercy of an Air France-KLM bid that would ultimately hurt Rome’s own transport priorities.

France sees advances on UN Syria resolution

U.N. officials and rights groups say both sides may have committed war crimes. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius co-hosted a meeting with the European Union and U.N. humanitarian affairs officials on Wednesday in an effort to raise awareness for a crisis that has struggled to galvanize international interest, shadowed by other conflicts such as the Syrian civil war. “CAR has become a lawless state and in a lawless state, the exactions increase and without any action it can become the refuge of all terrorists,” Fabius told reporters, having earlier told delegates that radical Islamist groups were already operating in the country. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told the meeting on the Central African Republic that the United States was “deeply alarmed” by the prospect of the country becoming a safe haven for violent extremists. “The devastating events in Kenya the last few days only underscore how terrorist groups and other extremists take advantage of lawless or ungoverned spaces,” said Power, referring to the deadly attack on a Nairobi shopping mall on Saturday claimed by Somali Islamist militants. She said the situation in the Central African Republic “constitutes a terrible human tragedy and a threat to international peace and security, and that merits the full and immediate prioritization and attention of the international community at the highest levels.” The country’s former colonial power, France – which intervened earlier this year to oust Islamist rebels from another one of its former colonies, Mali – has been reluctant to get directly involved in the crisis. It has urged African nations and the African Union to do their utmost to resolve the crisis among themselves. But while the African Union plans to deploy a 3,600-strong peacekeeping mission – known as MISCA – in the country, incorporating a regional force of 1,100 soldiers already on the ground, it is unlikely to be operational before 2014. The African Union has asked financial, logistical and technical support from the United Nations, and senior U.N. officials recommended last month that the U.N. Security Council approve this request. ‘TOMORROW WILL BE TOO LATE’ France plans to draft a resolution to put to the Security Council in October to increase support for the U.N.