France Calls On Alcatel-lucent To Review Plan For Mass Job Cuts

France Identifies 2 More Reporters Held In Syria

(Watch: Howto Counteract European ‘Brain Drain’ ) He explained that as economies pick up, job demand will pick up too, prompting people to seek greener pastures abroad. But the French economy remains very sluggish compared with, for example, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. While over two-thirds of the 975 students surveyed online believe it would be somewhat easy for them to get a job in France, they list career and wage advancement as one of the main reasons for going abroad, along with quality of life and economic environment. The U.S., U.K. and Germany top the rankings of countries these future graduates would turn to places where the students may have already spent several months for work experience. Emerging markets attract very few candidates, with China and Brazil coming in in 7th and 8th position respectively. France remains crippled by unemployment, with 11 percent of its workforce on the dole and one out of four under-25s seeking work in August. For Laurent Bigorgne, director of the Montaigne Institute and former deputy headmaster at Sciences Po, France’s approach to education shows some serious weakness. Contrary to many other countries whose investment in education is U-shaped, with most of the funding going to primary and higher education, France spends a lot more on its secondary education than it does on the others. Mr Bigorgne sees this enthusiasm for going abroad as a success story for these elite schools who understand that giving their students an international outlook is an asset.

Confidence returning to improving France team

“In the framework of the decisions to be taken, the restructuring plan, it should be examined how the job cuts can be limited as much as possible,” Hollande told reporters in the central town of Saint-Etienne, where he was promoting government efforts to cut unemployment. Other government officials acknowledged measures were needed to save the group in which France has a 3 percent stake. Alcatel-Lucent said the job cuts represented its last chance to turn itself around and stem losses. The product of a 2006 transatlantic merger aimed at creating a global giant, Alcatel-Lucent told a European works council meeting it intends to axe nearly one in seven of its employees. “Everyone knows this plan is the last chance. The company is in a very serious situation,” Chief Executive Michel Combes, the latest of three CEOs since the merger, told Le Monde newspaper. The group plans to focus on high-growth areas ranging from 4G mobile to high-speed broadband, and to lower fixed costs by more than 15 percent, saving a total of 1 billion euros ($1.36 billion). Including past measures, the total cost of the “shift plan” is 1.2 billion euros, an amount the company expects to fund through asset sales. Alcatel’s share price rose 2 percent after the news but closed down 4 percent at 2.71 euros as the government’s opposition to its plans intensified. The stock has almost tripled in value this year on buyers’ hopes that Combes, a former chief executive of Vodafone Europe, can rescue the business. “The group is eating up a lot of cash and is unable to enhance its profitability, so some kind of change was needed to make sure it has a long-term future,” said one Paris-based financial analyst who declined to be named. The group, which employs 72,000 staff worldwide and competes with larger rivals Ericsson of Sweden, China’s Huawei and Finland’s Nokia, has posted five straight quarters of net losses. Altogether, 4,100 posts will go in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, 3,800 in Asia Pacific, and 2,100 in the Americas. France’s CFDT union said it would fight a plan that entailed cuts to about 15,000 posts, although 5,000 new jobs will be created, giving the overall loss of 10,000.

The disclosure that Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres had been kidnapped while working in Syria June 22 brings to four the number of French journalists known to be held hostage in Syria. The Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that Henin and Torres’ capture was not disclosed until now out of respect of their families’ wishes. However, in an interview on French radio station Europe 1 Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault named them for the first time while answering a question about two other reporters whose kidnapping was disclosed in June. Henin was working for Le Point magazine and Arte television. Torres was there to photograph municipal elections in the northeast city of Raqqa, the ministry said. Two other French reporters, Didier Francois and Edouard Elias, have been missing since they were kidnapped while working in Syria on June 6. In a post on its website, Le Point said Henin, 37, had worked regularly for the weekly magazine for 10 years. In an interview on French radio France Inter, Henin’s father said the last word the family had received about Henin was in August, when the French government told them he was alive. Press freedom advocate Reporters sans Frontieres calls Syria “the most dangerous country in the world” for journalists, with 25 reporters killed and 32 imprisoned since the start of the country’s civil war in March 2011. Last month Spanish reporter Marc Marginedas, a special correspondent for El Periodico, was kidnapped, with his newspaper saying they had no contact with him since Sept. 4. ___ Follow Greg Keller at www.twitter.com/Greg_Keller Contribute to this Story:

France won 4-2 away to Belarus in a World Cup qualifier last month and thrashed Australia 6-0 in a friendly on Friday, a result that led to Australia coach Holger Osieck getting sacked, but also boosted French confidence ahead of Tuesday’s final qualifier against Finland. Although Australia defended poorly, offering France too much space, the speed of thought and the fluidity of the passing gave Deschamps plenty of reason for optimism heading into next month’s World Cup playoffs. France is destined to finish second in Group I behind World Cup winner Spain, which needs only a point against Georgia in its final qualifier Tuesday to send France into the playoffs. “Whoever plays us won’t be smiling, either,” Deschamps said Saturday. “The goals came about thanks to some good build-up play, movement and speed – everything clicked. It’s satisfying to see them playing like this.” It was a far cry from the insipid performance during last month’s 0-0 draw away to Georgia and the woeful first half against Belarus, where France was in total disarray and trailed 1-0 before responding with four second-half goals. In recent years, France has often been jeered by its home fans at matches. But on Friday night, the hard-to-please crowd rose to their feet at Parc des Princes to applaud them off the pitch after a feast of attacking football. “People want to be thrilled and to feel sensations,” Deschamps said. There was another welcome sight: Karim Benzema scoring again for the first time since June last year. After ending his 15-match run without a France goal, Benzema was quick to play it down. “I knew it wouldn’t last 10 years. But once again, the most important thing is the team, not me,” the Real Madrid striker said.