France Pressures Alcatel-lucent On Lay-off Plans

France charges Qaeda suspect expelled by Pakistan

“We want a negotiation that saves as many jobs as possible, as many sites as possible,” he said, calling on Alcatel-Lucent to review a plan which at present foresees the closure of sites in Rennes and Toulouse and the possible sale of others. France has a long history of intervention in the corporate sector. The case follows an abortive attempt by Hollande earlier this year to rescue activities earmarked for closure at ArcelorMittal’s steelworks in northeastern France. The French state owns a 3.6 percent stake in Alcatel-Lucent, making it the second-biggest shareholder behind investment fund Capital Research & Management. Alcatel-Lucent shares were down about 7.5 percent to 2.56 euros at 1523 GMT. Alcatel was once one of France’s biggest conglomerates with activities from trains to electronics, but it no longer earns major revenues there following its 2006 merger with Lucent. France accounted for a mere 5.7 percent of its 2012 revenues of 14.44 billion euros. Likewise, the French component of the overall restructuring of its 72,000-head workforce is relatively minor. Even before Tuesday’s announcement, its French workforce was 8,300 – less than half its total in 2006 after previous job-cutting. Ayrault’s call for talks will be the first big test of rules introduced in June giving trade unions more say in corporate decisions, a move intended to emulate Germany’s cooperative labor model and avert the risk of strike action. GRANDSTANDING? Under those rules, firms must win backing of trade unions representing a majority of unionized staff and then submit the plans for government approval. Previously, they had only to consult a works council whose opinion was non-binding. “Our goal is to weigh on the number of lay-offs,” Herve Lassalle, a CFDT union delegate at Alcatel-Lucent, told Reuters. The CFDT aims in talks starting next month to rescue some sites from closure and oblige the company to fund job re-training.

Employees of Alcatel-Lucent demonstrate in front of the company site in Orvault near Nantes, western France, October 8, 2013. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The arrest sparked hopes that more details of the jihadist trail from Europe to Pakistan will be revealed. (text) France on Saturday place Naamen Meziche , the French national accused of links to al Qaeda , under formal investigation for “associating with wrongdoers with a view to committing terrorist acts” — a step short of pressing formal charges. Meziche was deported from Pakistan on Tuesday, and was arrested upon arrival on French soil. A Frenchman of Algerian origin who also holds an Algerian passport, Meziche was arrested in southwestern Pakistan in May 2012 along with three other suspected French jihadists, who were expelled to France separately in April. France’s jihadists French jihadists captured in Mali, defence minister says Those three other French nationals face similar charges under the same section of French law that gives authorities broad powers to detain and prosecute a suspect for intending to carry out terrorist acts or contacting organisations suspected of terrorism. At the time of his arrest, French intelligence sources described Meziche as an important al Qaeda leader linked to the so-called Hamburg cell that planned the 9/11 attacks. Pakistani sources said the Frenchman, aged around 43, had links to Younis al-Mauritani, a suspected al Qaeda chief who is believed to have been personally charged by Osama bin Laden to plan attacks in Europe and the US. Meziches deportation and arrest after more than 16 months in detention in Pakistan has sparked hopes that more details of the jihadist trail from Europe to the Afghanistan-Pakistan region will be revealed. Meziche is probably the terrorist who is most familiar with the recruitment channels used by al Qaeda to bring young jihadists to its training camps and thats why the French were so keen to get hold of him, Roland Jacquard, head of the Paris-based International Terrorism Observatory, told FRANCE 24. (FRANCE24 with wires)

France charges Al-Qaeda suspect deported from Pakistan

View gallery French President Francois Hollande (C) waves to members of the public as he leaves after a visit, the headquarters of Ennesys in Nanterre, near Paris, on October 11, 2013 (AFP Photo/Ian Langsdon ) Paris (AFP) – France will remain “tough” with Iran on its controversial nuclear programme, President Francois Hollande reassured Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday after the Israeli premier warned Paris against succumbing to Tehran’s charms. The French leader told Netanyahu in a telephone call that France would wait to see if the more moderate politics of Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani, who replaced hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June, would translate in his “actions,” the Elysee palace said. An Israeli diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity said that Netanyahu and his French counterpart had discussed next week’s meeting in Geneva of the so-called P5+1. The group holding talks with Iran on its nuclear programme includes the five permanent members of the United Nations — the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia — as well as Germany. The Israeli diplomat also said Hollande “is planning to visit Israel next month.” In an interview with the television channel France24 on Thursday, Netanyahu urged France to be tough on Iran “with or without Rouhani’s smiles.” His comments came after a historic handshake between the French and Iranian leaders on the fringes of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last month. “If they really wanted to dismantle their nuclear weapons programme, they’d come out with it,” Netanyahu told France24. Iran will meet with six world powers next week over its nuclear programme, which the West believes is being used to develop a nuclear bomb, a claim Tehran denies. Rouhani wants the lifting of US-led international sanctions and has indicated he favours a quick deal to end a stalemate in talks on the nuclear programme that have dragged on for eight years. Politics & Government Seoul (AFP) – North Korea on Saturday issued a fresh warning of an “all-out war”, urging the United States to stop military drills and what it described as “nuclear blackmail”. AFP BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) A North Dakota farmer who discovered an oil spill the size of seven football fields while out harvesting wheat says that when he found it, crude was bubbling up out of the ground. Associated Press Shanghai (AFP) – Defending champion Novak Djokovic swept aside Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2, 7-5 on Saturday, as a mouthwatering Shanghai Masters title showdown loomed against world number one Rafael Nadal. AFP

France will stay ‘tough’ on Iran, Hollande soothes Netanyahu

View gallery French commandoes stand guard outside the National Police College in Saint-Cyr-au-Mont-d’Or, on October 15, 2012 (AFP Photo/Philippe Desmazes) Paris (AFP) – A French-Algerian man suspected of Al-Qaeda ties and deported from Pakistan this week has been charged with terror offences, French judicial officials said on Saturday. Intelligence officials believe Naamen Meziche was once connected to Al-Qaeda’s so-called “Hamburg cell”, which planned the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Deported on Tuesday, he was charged and remanded in custody in Paris on Friday for criminal conspiracy in relation with a terrorist enterprise, with a view to carrying out criminal acts, the source said. Meziche had been in Pakistani custody since being arrested in May 2012 in the southwest of the country along with three other suspected French jihadis, who were sent back to France in April and charged on the same count. Born in Paris in 1970, Meziche left France in the early 1990s for Afghanistan, then Germany where he is alleged to have come into close contact with the “Hamburg Cell”. He has been known to intelligence officials for more than a decade, though he has no criminal record in Europe. French law gives authorities broad powers to detain and prosecute a suspect for intending to carry out terrorist acts or contacting organisations suspected of terrorism. Though Meziche is suspected of being a long-time Al-Qaeda member, no proof has yet emerged of his involvement in any specific act of terror, and security officials are divided about how big a player he is. One French anti-terror officer told AFP this week Meziche was “a big fish — right in the… heart of Al-Qaeda”. But another source close to the case said it was “hard to say if he is an active player or a bit of a has-been”. Crime & Justice Seoul (AFP) – North Korea on Saturday issued a fresh warning of an “all-out war”, urging the United States to stop military drills and what it described as “nuclear blackmail”. AFP BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) A North Dakota farmer who discovered an oil spill the size of seven football fields while out harvesting wheat says that when he found it, crude was bubbling up out of the ground. Associated Press Shanghai (AFP) – Defending champion Novak Djokovic swept aside Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2, 7-5 on Saturday, as a mouthwatering Shanghai Masters title showdown loomed against world number one Rafael Nadal.