Archive for the ‘Nicolas Sarkozy’ Category

Food Security: Global Emergency

April 21, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Since last autumn, “food security” has moved from an issue many in the world never or hardly ever thought about to become the number one issue in life.

Food security involves having and sustaining the supply of proper food sources for entire nations and populations.

If there is any doubt that food security is a big issue, here is something of a recap of recent related news:

–The government of the Philippines said on Sunday that food security would be the number one topic in the legislative session starting Monday. The Philippines is a huge rice consumer and almost all of that rice is imported. Unfortunately, almost all of the rice supplies to the Philippines have been restricted or stopped. The result has been unrest in the streets of Manila and throughout the Philippines. Can you imagine arresting people who refuse to stop their protests because they are hungry?

–Vietnam, the world’s second-biggest rice exporter, said it would cut exports by 22% this year, following similar moves by India and Egypt. Vietnam’s inflation hit an estimated 16.4 percent in the first quarter, the highest rate in 13 years, according to government figures. Food prices were a main component of the increase, rising 21.5 percent in the January-March period compared with the same months last year.

A customer weighs rice at a sale-agent at the Voi market, 20 ...
A customer weighs rice at a sale-agent at the Voi market, 20 km (12.5 miles) south of Hanoi April 16, 2008. Fresh rice from Vietnam’s summer crop could start hitting the market a month earlier than usual, a top exporter said on Wednesday, bringing some relief to importers edgy over inflation and food security.REUTERS/Kham (VIETNAM)

–Egypt last week said that an advisor to the Commerce Minister announced a cutback in rice exports. “We have taken this decision to provide for the needs of the local market,” Sayyed Abul Komsan, advisor to Commerce Minister Mohammed Rashid, said. Meanwhile, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered the army to start baking bread after deadly riots broke out in lines of people waiting for food.

–China this week is doubling taxes on fertilizer exports to ensure supplies for domestic farmers. China also announced that it will review land use issues nation wide. China’s government now says too much land has been turned over to industrialization and the nation of 1.3 billion people can no longer adequately feed itself without changes in policy and land use.

–Malaysia’s government said Saturday it would spend four billion ringgit (1.3 billion dollars) to increase food production and tackle price hikes as the country faces spiraling global oil and food costs.

–Last month the cost of food in Cambodia rose 24%. At this rate, the cost of food will almost double every four months. Yet pay is not rising at all: especially among the poor. Cambodia’s rural poor, who make up over 80 percent of the population, are particularly at risk from inflation.

–Cuba warned the World Trade Organization on Friday that the food security of developing countries is endangered for a variety of reasons, among them the rising cost of fuel.–Oil-rich Libya is discussing a deal to essentially rent a chunk of land-rich Ukraine on which it can grow its own wheat.

–Haitian Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis was forced to step down last week because of violence linked to higher food costs, and U.N. and World Bank officials warn that more unrest is likely.

–France, sparked in part by unrest in Haiti, released $100 million (USD) in food aid to poorer nations.

A French farmer at work near Gaillargues. France will double ...
A French farmer at work near Gaillargues. France will double its food aid this year, spending 60 million euros (100 million dollars) as part of its response to the world crisis over soaring food prices, President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced.(AFP/File/Dominique Faget)

–France’s action followed a release of $200 million in food aid by President Bush exactly one week ago today.

“A lot of countries are in trouble right now,” said Lester Brown, veteran environmentalist and president of the Washington-based Earth Policy Institute. “We’re seeing various efforts made by countries to ensure they have the food inputs they need.”

On Sunday United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “The problem of global food prices could mean seven lost years … for the Millennium Development Goals.  We risk being set back to square one.”

While Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton pick at each other without much addressing American issues, in the rest of the world the big issue is quickly becoming: How will we feed ourselves?

France to double aid for food crisis

April 19, 2008

PARIS (AFP) – France will double its emergency food aid this year, spending 60 million euros (100 million dollars), President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday, as he warned the world’s food crisis was breeding unrest.
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“We must act urgently to strengthen food security at a time when 37 countries are going through a very serious food crisis,” Sarkozy told a major meeting on climate change in Paris.

A French farmer at work near Gaillargues. France will double ...
A French farmer at work near Gaillargues. France will double its food aid this year, spending 60 million euros (100 million dollars) as part of its response to the world crisis over soaring food prices, President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced.(AFP/File/Dominique Faget)

“We cannot remain indifferent to the unrest among those people who, in the developing countries, can no longer satisfy their hunger.”

Soaring prices for basic grains — rice, wheat, soybean and corn — have provoked protests and rioting in at least half a dozen developing countries in past months, and has toppled the government of one.

Last weekend, Haiti‘s premier Jacques-Edouard Alexis was ousted in a no-confidence vote after more than a week of violent demonstrations….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080418/bs_afp/francepovertyinflationaid_
080418095730

France Adds Nuclear Sub and Vows to Cut Warheads

March 22, 2008
The New York Times
March 22, 2008
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PARIS — Dedicating France’s fourth nuclear-armed submarine, President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday defended his country’s arsenal as vital to deter a range of new threats, including the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran with intercontinental missiles.
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“The security of Europe is at stake,” he said, conflating the Continent’s interests with those of France.“Countries in Asia and the Middle East are rapidly developing ballistic capacities,” he said. “I am thinking in particular of Iran,” which is “increasing the range of its missiles while serious suspicions weigh on its nuclear program.”

Mr. Sarkozy, stung by defeats in local elections in some large French cities, stuck to traditional presidential themes of national security and defense. His sudden divorce and remarriage, and his tendency to flit from one scheme to another, have made him seem slightly unserious, contributing to his party’s losses.

His mood on Friday was somber, as he inaugurated a new generation of nuclear submarine of the “Triomphant” class, this one named Le Terrible, which could be best translated as The Fearsome. It will be equipped with a new, nuclear-tipped missile, the M-51, whose range is secret but is understood, according to Le Monde, to be some 4,970 miles, able to reach Asia.

Clearly trying to balance nuclear modernization with gestures toward a European population more interested in eliminating nuclear weapons than improving them, Mr. Sarkozy said France would continue to reduce the number of warheads on airplanes, bringing its total nuclear force to fewer than 300 warheads, half the number during the cold war.

The actual number of warheads France possesses is secret. This year, the Federation of American Scientists, which tracks nuclear arsenals, said France had 348 warheads — 288 on submarines, 50 on air-launched cruise missiles and 10 bombs.

Mr. Sarkozy also called for all nuclear powers to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, as France had done, and he proposed talks on a treaty banning nuclear-armed short- and medium-range ground-to-ground missiles, a category that includes Scud-type missiles, and an idea likely to go nowhere in a world of Hezbollah, Hamas and the like. He also called for an immediate moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and a treaty banning its production, similar to an American proposal of 2006.

Mr. Sarkozy has been criticized, especially by Germany, for leaping ahead without consultation with European allies on major initiatives, like the “Mediterranean Union,” a looser grouping than the European Union and modified after Berlin’s protests. On Friday, he offered a “dialogue” on the role of French nuclear weapons in Europe’s collective defense.

“Regarding Europe, it is a fact that France’s nuclear forces by their very existence are a key element in its security,” he said. “Let’s together draw the logical conclusions: I propose to begin, with those of our European partners who wish to, an open dialogue on the role of deterrence and its contribution to our common security.”

Britain also has nuclear weapons, the main reason that Britain and France remain permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Neither country has been willing to cede its seat to the European Union. The United States provides most of Europe’s nuclear deterrence through NATO and its doctrine of collective defense.

At the same time, Mr. Sarkozy described the French “force de frappe” as a weapon of self-defense. He was vaguer about France’s national interests than his predecessor, Jacques Chirac, who made a similar speech in January 2006, in which he appeared to broaden the list.

Then, Mr. Chirac delivered an unexpected and controversial warning to “rogue” states sponsoring terrorism by threatening to use nuclear weapons against any state that supported attacks on his country or considered using unconventional weapons.

“The leaders of states who use terrorist means against us, as well as those who would consider using, in one way or another, weapons of mass destruction, must understand that they would lay themselves open to a firm and adapted response on our part,” Mr. Chirac said. “This response could be a conventional one. It could also be of a different kind.”

Mr. Sarkozy, an aide told Le Monde, wanted to “return to the ‘fundamentals’ ” of deterrence.

Calls mount for Olympic ceremony boycott

March 18, 2008
By JOHN LEICESTER, Associated Press Writer 

PARIS – Moves to punish China over its handling of violence in Tibet gained momentum Tuesday, with a novel suggestion for a mini-boycott of the Beijing Olympics by VIPs at the opening ceremony.
Hollywood actor and Tibet activist Richard Gere, seen here in ... 
Hollywood actor and Tibet activist Richard Gere Saturday called for a boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games if China “does not act in the proper way” in handling protests in the Himalayan region.
(AFP/Getty Images/File/Jim McIsaac)

Protesters demonstrate against the Olympic Games in Beijing ...
Protesters demonstrate against the Olympic Games in Beijing in front of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, Tuesday, March 18, 2008. Tibetans called on IOC President Jacques Rogge to speak up about the Tibet crackdown and ask for the withdrawal of the torch relay in Tibet.
(AP Photo/Keystone, Dominic Favre)

Such a protest by world leaders would be a huge slap in the face for China’s Communist leadership.

France‘s outspoken foreign minister, former humanitarian campaigner Bernard Kouchner, said the idea “is interesting.”

Kouchner said he wants to discuss it with other foreign ministers from the 27-nation European Union next week. His comments opened a crack in what until now had been solid opposition to a full boycott, a stance that Kouchner said remains the official government position.

The idea of skipping the Aug. 8 opening ceremony “is less negative than a general boycott,” Kouchner said. “We are considering it.”

Asked about Kouchner’s statement, China’s U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya said: “Certainly I think what he said is not shared by most of the people in the world.”

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said last month that he expects many heads of state — including President Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy — to attend the opening ceremony.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080318/ap_on_re_
eu/beijing_boycott;_ylt=AvvNW18F6E5KqIU
oGmo_MlCs0NUE

France Says “NO!” To Iran Nukes

September 25, 2007

by Paola Messana

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy piled pressure on Iran at the United Nations Tuesday, saying it would be unacceptable for the Islamic republic to get hold of nuclear weapons.

Sarkozy’s comments came just hours before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was due to address the world body, in a speech expected to attempt to play down fears of Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

“Iran has the right to nuclear energy,” Sarkozy told world leaders at the General Assembly’s 62nd session here. “But allowing Iran to have nuclear weapons would mean an unacceptable risk for regional and world stability.”

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070925/wl_
mideast_afp/undiplomacyiran_070925200301

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