France’s Hollande: Central African Republic troubles could spill over
World and European champions Spain are three points ahead in Group I and host Georgia in their final qualifier on Tuesday when second-placed France, who look certain to go through to the playoffs, entertain Finland. The playoff seeds will be determined by FIFA rankings and 25th-placed France face a likely clash with another big footballing nation. Les Bleus believe the system is flawed because fewer ranking points were available in five-nation Group I while the other sections all contained six teams. “We’re going to contact (FIFA),” French Federation president Noel Le Graet told the radio station RMC. “There is a little injustice between the group of five and the groups of six. “Our rivals from other groups have been able to score more points … that’s a fact.” Asked if he had discussed the issue with Le Great, coach Didier Deschamps said he was not aware of a potential appeal. “I don’t know if my president will bring the case,” he told a news conference at Stade de France. “I wouldn’t go that far in saying there’s an injustice but the fact is that we are sanctioned,” he added. “I see it from my position, from an ethical point of view. It’s already complicated to be in a group of five and we also lack some points.” Captain Hugo Lloris also found it hard for a team who won the 1998 World Cup and reached the final in 2006 not to be seeded although he recognised it was up to the players to improve the rankings.
Soccer-World Cup playoff seeding unfair, say France
There have already been sectarian clashes in the conflict that has driven more than 400,000 people from their homes, fleeing violence including murder and rape. France has about 400 troops in the capital, Bangui, and sources have told Reuters their numbers could be increased to around 750. However, Paris is reluctant to be left to deal with another African hotspot after it felt allies such as the United States were hesitant to help it halt a rebel advance by al Qaeda-linked insurgents in Mali earlier this year. The Central African Republic is geographically at the center of what some strategists have called an “arc of insecurity” of Islamist fighters that cuts from Kenya and Somalia in east Africa across to Mauritania in the west. Hollande said there was need for African governments to develop a standby force to deal with conflicts as they arise. The African Union has deployed about 2,500 troops. But its resources are limited, prompting Paris to seek a U.N. Security Council mandate that would turn the operation into a U.N. peacekeeping force ultimately supported by French troops. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who visited Bangui on Sunday, said the U.N. resolution was expected around December. While South Africa’s Zuma said he agreed intervention was needed, he stopped short of saying Pretoria would send more troops.
A link has been sent to your friend’s email address. 3 To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs France’s retirement reform: Too little, too late? USATODAY 3:22 p.m. EDT October 14, 2013 French President Francois Hollande French President Hollande managed to changed the pension system by working with unions Still, they plan protests Tuesday And critics says he succeeded by making small changes that won’t achieve what’s necessary SHARE 5 CONNECT 26 TWEET 3 COMMENTEMAILMORE PARIS (AP) President Francois Hollande has managed to do what was once thought impossible: Make changes to France’s cherished and generous retirement system with little resistance from unions. His secret? The changes are so small and put off so far into the future that economists say they aren’t worthy of the name “reform.” Labor unions were calling for protests across France on Tuesday. But the demonstrations are not expected to turn into the massive protests that brought cities to a standstill in 2010, when Hollande’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, raised the retirement age. Partially that is because Hollande, a Socialist, consulted with union leaders when drawing up the reform. Also, the changes, which the lower house of parliament votes on this week, will fix only a part of what needs changing, analysts say. “It’s the salami strategy,” said Elie Cohen, an economist at Sciences Po university. “We have a big problem, we don’t know how to fix it, so we cut it into pieces, like a nice sausage.” Hollande’s reform would lengthen the number of years people must work to receive a full pension, from 41 years today to 43 years by 2035.