The French-American Foundation Weekly Brief

The French-American Foundation Weekly Brief


French Budget Minister Eric Woerth has obtained information for the first time on about 3,000 French citizens with offshore bank accounts and estimates that the government is owed between 50 and 100 billion euros in undeclared taxes. The Connexion reported that Woerth will bring justice to those who have not come clean by the end of the year.

The Times of London described the continuing investigation to determine fault in the crash of Air France flight 447, with Air France and Airbus both asserting the weakness of the other party. The chief investigator, Louis Arslanian, said the pitot failure was a “factor but not the cause” of the crash.

TF1 reported that explosives were set off at a Jewish middle school in Marseille. No students were injured.

Le Monde said that 67% of people polled by the CSA favor shortening the school day for primary school children and adding Wednesday morning to the school week to replace the previous elimination of Saturday morning.

The Financial Times described how the above normal temperatures caused by climate change are causing worries among French wine growers, sommeliers, and chefs that “French wines, jewels of our shared, cultural heritage, elegant and refined, are in danger,” as they wrote in a letter to President Sarkozy.


According to Deutsche Welle, to the dismay of the European Union, U.S. lawmakers are considering posing a $10 fee for those entering the U.S. from the EU, coming after an initiative last year that forces all those entering the country to register online three days before their travel.

The BBC reported that Van Jones, Obama’s advisor on green jobs, resigned after his involvement in a 9/11 petition that questions whether the Bush Administration allowed the terrorist attacks to occur fell under sharp criticism by opponents and distracted the Administration from pursuing its green mission. Melissa Harris-Lacewell, writing in The Nation, outlined the negative impact of his resignation on the White House.

L’Express reported that Irish-born New York Times reporter Stephen Farrell was freed from the Taliban in Afghanistan in a raid conducted by British Special Forces and Afghan soldiers, although his Afghan interpreter, Sultain Munadi was killed during the rescue fire. Although he was well fed and never harmed, Mr. Farrell stated that Mr. Munadi was threatened by the Taliban, and expected he would face worse treatment than his American counterpart.

Le Figaro outlined Obama’s main priorities for health care in a speech in front of Congress and pointed out that the bill would cost $900 billion over 10 years, but would not add to the deficit. Professor Laurent Bouvet discussed Obama’s speech in an interview in Liberation and outlined Obama’s three major points of clarification. The Economist described Obama’s “passionate” speech, stating that it “positioned [sic] Obama as a moderate in style and substance.” The New York Times reported that a Republican Representative from South Carolina, Joe Wilson interrupted the speech, shouting “You Lie” at Obama for stating that illegal immigrants would not be covered under his proposals.

Robert Reich, writing in, described the history of healthcare reform in the United States and the lessons that should be learned from past attempts to affect change.


Air France-KLM introduced a voluntary departure plan for 2010 with the goal of eliminating 1500 employees, with reductions to come mostly from the freight division.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde stated that the French economy is “slowly in the process of stabilizing” and that it has “started to climb” like the economies of Japan and Germany. Les Echos reported that the Euro has reached its highest point in nine months.

In the Washington Post, Harold Meyerson explored the reasons why Labor Day 2009 was a sad day for American workers and put the nation’s unemployment rates in a historical context.

Publishers and booksellers spoke at a hearing at the European Commission to air concerns of Google’s expansion of its online library to include European books, voicing fears that the media giant is gaining a monopoly over the region’s cultural heritage. A member of the Writers Guild of America board, James Gleick, writing in Le Figaro, defended and encouraged Google’s expansion in the European arena.


CNN reported that 28 people died in Istanbul province and the neighboring province of Tekirdag as torrential rains caused mass floods, trapping people in their cars and washing over 200 cars into the Marmara Sea.

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso laid out a “transformational agenda,” with hopes of being elected soon for a second term. Le Monde reported that an anonymous French minister stated that if Jose Manuel Barroso is not selected to stay on as the European Commission’s president, then Prime Minister Francois Fillon would be ready to take his place.

Le Parisien reported on the German-mandated NATO bombings in Afghanistan that killed, according to one estimate, between 60 and 70 civilians. Speaking out against the bombings, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said that to stabilize the region we need “to work with the Afghan people and not to bomb them.” The Washington Post reported that the German public is outraged over the bombings, while lawmakers are investigating why the bombings took place. published email exchanges between three men who were convicted in Britain of attempting to detonate bombs by using liquid explosives on seven transatlantic flights three years ago.

The Electoral Complaints Commission supported by the UN has found “clear and convincing evidence of fraud” in Afghanistan’s presidential elections. Votes will be recounted in all polling stations where more than 600 ballots were cast and where any one candidate received 95% of the votes if more than 100 ballots were cast. Le Parisien published an interview with Abdullah Abdullah, in which he discusses his concerns for continued fraud in the election, his priorities for Afghanistan, and his opinion on troops in the country.

Tony Barber, writing in the Financial Times‘ Brussels Blog, pondered what role China will play in the United Nations summit in Copenhagen later this year, pointing out that although the nation views the other more developed countries as responsible for cutting omissions, they have their own green agenda.


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