A group of major ski operators is set to appeal against a ban, but Crystal has made the decision to work with another ski school called Evolution 2 in 11 resorts this winter. In Chamomix, one of the oldest ski resorts in France, there are mixed feelings among Britons about the ban, the reasons for it and its effects on holidaymakers. Below, Katy Dartford gets the thoughts of mountain residents on the issue… Richard Bromage, lives and works in Alps Richard Bromage Personally I think it is a good idea that the French authorities are clamping down on this. If you come on a ski holiday and cant ski you get lessons from a qualified ski guide. If you want to go off piste in an unfamiliar area you generally hire a professional ski guide. “So surely if you are being shown around an area for skiing by a host, should that host or guide not have some level of qualification? “Most of these ski hosts/guides are barely out of school, doing a ski season taking guests from chalets or hotels into the mountain environment with often very little or no knowledge. It is only a matter of time before something goes horribly wrong. Jen Mason, freelance outdoors instructor At last the authorities in France are taking a stand against this sort of arrangement. Hopefully they’ll be equally proactive in targeting companies that offer snowshoeing and summer walking holidays too. As an International Mountain Leader (IML), I feel strongly that the practice of unqualified guides and leaders being used by companies which won’t pay for professionals should be stopped. It’s bad for clients, it’s bad for the industry, and, in France at least, it’s illegal. Zoe Smalley, trainee snowboard instructor Zoe Smalley At the end of the day the ESF/ENSA (Ecole Nationale de Ski et d’Alpinisme) make it so that thousands of people in mountain towns can make a decent living out of ski instructing during the winter, and I think it’s a good thing that they defend that. It’s not a xenophobic thing, but if you let lots of people who’ve done a one-week course or, worse, nothing, taking people out on the mountain for very little or no money, then that obviously can’t work. “Unfortunately holiday companies, especially English ones, will always take things too far…
France-Mozambique Ship Deal Raises Questions
Credit: Reuters/Christian Hartmann By John Irish and Emmanuel Jarry PARIS | Thu Oct 3, 2013 8:21am EDT PARIS (Reuters) – France’s military will cut about 7,500 jobs next year, a defense ministry source said on Thursday, detailing government belt-tightening plans that the far-right hopes will deliver it votes at municipal elections in 2014. The cuts come as tensions rise within Socialist President Francois Hollande’s 17-month-old coalition, whose poll ratings have fallen to 23 percent due to dissatisfaction about the economy and jobs. The defense ministry said in April that 34,000 jobs would likely be cut over the coming six years, but its overall budget would remain largely static, steering clear of drastic spending cuts after military officials and lawmakers said that would reduce France’s ability to counter global security threats. “Given the six year objectives, (the cut) should be around 7,000 to 7,500 military and civilian personnel in 2014,” the source said on condition of anonymity, ahead of a news conference by Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. A handful of bases will be closed or restructured, including an 800-man regiment in the town of Orange in the Vaucluse department, where support for the anti-immigrant, anti-European Union National Front is strong, the source said. Marion Marechal-Le Pen, a National Front member of parliament for Vaucluse, said the cuts would hurt France’s defenses and local economies in areas like hers. “I can only worry about the immediate economic impact in a region that has already been heavily hit by unemployment and economic difficulties,” she said, reacting to media reports about the cuts. “The governments of the right and the left have preferred to sell off our military know-how and lose our diplomatic independence by making small short-term savings. That will cost France’s sovereignty dearly in the coming years,” she said. France’s military employs some 228,000 personnel today. A further 165,000 individuals are employed by the defence industry, not including sub-contractors.
Direct Energie Offers Online Discounts as France Raises Tariffs
The company began offering households rebates of as much as 10 percent on the state-set tariffs, it said on its website . France allowed EDF to raise residential electricity rates 5 percent on Aug. 1 and a further 5 percent next year. Last year, the rates were the second-lowest in the European Union, adjusted for average income, according to Eurostat. Frances regulator agreed with companies such as Direct Energie that the low rates meant they couldnt compete against state-controlled utilities. For years EDF was selling below cost of production through regulated rates, Direct Energie Chief Executive Officer Xavier Caitucoli said today on BFM radio. If EDF is allowed to cover its costs, competitors can compete with regulated rates. Its an important change. The opening of the market to competition has been an obstacle course. Direct Energie is gaining about 6,000 new clients a month, he said. The company, which merged with Poweo SA, had 798,000 power and 227,000 gas customers in France last year, compared with the nations 35 million power and 11 million natural-gas buyers. The markets are dominated by former monopolies, according to the latest Commission de Regulation de lEnergie figures. Direct Energie buys about 80 percent of its power from EDF nuclear output and gas from spot markets, its 2012 report shows. GDF Suez, the former gas monopoly, said this week it would push to gain more power customers after tariffs rose.
Crystal stops using France’s official ski school as British ‘ski host’ ban intensifies
And the driving force behind the deal is a Lebanese billionaire with holdings across the Middle East and Africa who once faced investigation for his past financial dealings in France. Shaking hands and smiling, French President Francois Hollande and Mozambique President Armando Guebuza formally launched the ship-building project Monday at a struggling shipyard in Cherbourg, on France’s Atlantic coast. Shipbuilder Constructions mecaniques de Normandie (CMN) says the contract will provide two years of work for around 400 French employees. Mozambique officials say the ships will help fight illegal trafficking and piracy, and protect offshore oil and gas drilling platforms. The patrol ships will need naval guns and other military equipment, and so there are also negotiations under way about buying the needed weaponry from France, Mozambique Deputy Foreign Minister Henrique Banze said. “Yes there will be” weapons purchases, he told The Associated Press by telephone. “It’s important not only to have ships. There will also be a need to make sure that they are protected.” He would not give details, but said the money for the ship deal came “from a loan from another country, but I can’t say which one.” Hollande’s office said the contract with CMN is just part of a larger global deal with the holding company Privinvest, owned by Lebanese magnate Iskandar Safa. Hollande’s office wouldn’t comment on the possible weapons negotiations because the deal is not public. Safa, who played a prominent role in Monday’s events in Cherbourg, declined to give details on the agreements involved. Safa, who helped negotiate the release of French hostages in Lebanon in 1988, faced a French arrest warrant for several years in the 2000s because of suspicions around his financial transactions with senior French officials.
France takes aim at Amazon to protect local bookshops
Coach Didier Deschamps also included Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho and Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye in the 23-man list. The 20-year-old Varane returned to action with Real Madrid in Wednesday’s Champions League 4-0 victory at Copenhagen after months out with a knee injury. His first two international appearances in March, when he started the World Cup qualifiers at home against Georgia and Spain, proved enough to convince Deschamps to recall him. “It’s true that he has not played a lot yet but regarding what he did with us, it was logical to me to call him up,” Deschamps told a news conference. Sakho, who left French champions Paris St Germain because he was the fourth choice there, is also returning after earning four consecutive starts with English Premier League side Liverpool. Remy, who has scored three goals in his last two league games with Newcastle, is also coming back as Deschamps continues to look for the best attacking options. Karim Benzema, who has not scored with Les Bleus since June last year, was benched in Belarus last month but replacement Olivier Giroud did not prove much more effective despite the 4-2 victory. “Loic Remy has the scoring touch and is able to fill in several attacking positions. He also has the pace that gives us different possibilities,” Deschamps said. France host Australia in a friendly on Oct. 11 and take on Finland for their final 2014 World Cup qualifier four days later. They are second in their Group I, tied on 14 points with leaders Spain, and will secure a spot in next month’s playoff if they do not lose to Finland. Squad: Goalkeepers: Mickael Landreau (Bastia), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Steve Mandanda (Olympique Marseille) Defenders: Eric Abidal (Monaco), Gael Clichy (Manchester City), Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle United), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid) Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle), Clement Grenier (Olympique Lyonnais), Blaise Matuidi (Paris St Germain), Samir Nasri (Manchester City), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United) Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Dimitri Payet (Olympique Marseille), Loic Remy (Newcastle), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Mathieu Valbuena (Olympique Marseille).
Soccer-France call up Varane and Remy for World Cup qualifier
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