Pupil’s Anger After 15-year-old Roma Schoolgirl Deported From France
The Interior Ministry said the family’s application for asylum had been rejected and it no longer had the right to stay in France. It said they repeatedly refused to leave, so police detained the father and deported him to Kosovo on October 8. They also detained the mother and five of their children, but Leonarda was away on a school field trip. Police met her bus when it returned. The teenager ‘was crying, she was upset… she was discouraged’ when she got off the bus, Mr Boy said, and teachers and other children were shaken by the incident. Removed: French policemen stand guard as members of the Roma community leave a camp in Roubaix last week Leonarda, her siblings and mother were sent to Kosovo on October 9. She later described being escorted from the bus. A teacher ‘told me to say goodbye to my classmates. I told her it wasn’t fair,’ she said. Leonarda said her life was now ‘a nightmare’ and that all she wants is ‘to come back to France with my family’. Prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault ordered an investigation into how she was taken into custody and said that if any errors were found, the family will be allowed back to France for further examination. The Education Without Frontiers Network said the expulsion was a setback for their efforts to keep illegal immigrants in school and to protect them from police intervention. It is also an embarrassment for Socialist president Francois Hollande’s government, which has portrayed France as a haven for the world’s oppressed and distanced itself from his conservative predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy’s tough policies toward Roma and other immigrants.
France to keep 2,000 troops in Mali until end of year
Protestors express the same outside the Church of Scientology in France. Though recognized as a formal religion in the United States and elsewhere, the practice of Scientology has just been branded as a scam and a racket in France, despite cries of religious discrimination, reports the AFP via Yahoo! News on Oct. 16. There are approximately 45,000 Scientologists in France. The obtuse religion, founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, came under fire in the European country when five former members charged the organization with coercing them into spending thousands of dollars on required reading material, questionable services and Church merchandise. The Church was initially found guilty of commercial harassment, and on appeal the charge has stood. Church officials are not happy that their easily misunderstood religion has been declared fraudulent. Scientology is a worldwide religious movement practiced in 184 nations. Its bona fide rights of its members to practice their faith unimpeded by government interference have been acknowledged by the high courts of many nations, including unanimous decisions by the European Court of Human Rights, a statement from the French Church of Scientology after the verdict reads. The conviction carried a fine of 600,000 Euros ($820,000 dollars), in addition to the Church losing any foothold as it attempts to become a recognized religion in France.
France’s Retirement Reform: Too Little, Too Late?
(AP Photo/Michel Euler) | AP Get World Newsletters: Subscribe Follow: France , France Retirement Reform , France Retirement , France Pension Age , France Pension Age Reform , France Pension Reform , France Reform , World News PARIS — 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; the first increases begin in 2020. Economists say there are three problems with the proposal: It takes effect after most baby boomers will have retired, meaning it doesn’t address the cost of paying for their pensions; it still isn’t asking people to work long enough, especially since life expectancy is rising; and it ignores the special deals that allow some workers to retire early and account for two-thirds of the retirement system’s 20 billion-euro ($27 billion) deficit. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, and others have raised concerns about how the pensions system will be paid for without further burdening French employers, which already pay the highest payroll taxes in the EU. The problem with the “salami strategy” is that the reforms are always behind the curve. Jacob Kirkegaard, an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, says the reform might have worked if it had been done 20 years ago. Now France needs much more. Among the world’s most developed countries, only Luxembourg has a lower effective retirement age, according to the OECD, an economic policy group. The issue of pensions is so sensitive that no one political party wants to make the painful changes that are needed.
France Scientology: Fraud leveled against Church of Scientology by high court
View gallery Troops of the French-led Serval Operation in Mali patrol an area on the outskirts of Gao on October 16, 2013 (AFP Photo/Sebastien Rieussec) Paris (AFP) – France will maintain around 2,000 troops in Mali to help secure the December legislative polls before further scaling down its military presence, the defence minister said Thursday. “We’re going keep a little more than 2,000 men until the end of the year,” Jean-Yves Le Drian said. The former colonial power deployed its airforce and sent combat units in January this year to help Mali’s government wrest back the north of the country from Islamist groups linked to Al-Qaeda. It currently has 3,000 troops left on the ground and aims to scale back its presence to only 1,000 by the end of January 2014. Mali’s first parliamentary polls since a coup in March last year are due to begin on November 24 and a second round is scheduled for December 15. Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was sworn in as president last month after an August election. French forces have helped the authorities reclaim control of the main cities but Al-Qaeda and its offshoots have remained a threat, launching sporadic attacks from their desert and mountain hideouts. “There no longer is a war, what we’re doing now is counter-terrorism,” Le Drian told reporters in Paris. “We must continue to battle terrorism and remain vigilant.” At the peak of Operation Serval, France had 4,500 troops in Mali. A UN stabilisation force meant to eventually reach 12,640 troops and police is gradually taking over. Politics & Government