France Says Urgent Action Needed to Aid CAR

Photograph by: Georges Charrieres , AP Re: a A Quebec model for tolerance a (Opinion, Sept. 20) In response to the opinion article by Robert Leckey and Robert Wintemute, I would like to add the following reasons why France is not a model for Quebec, with respect to preserving its majority culture and protecting minority rights. French Quebecers are not native to this province but took Quebec by force from Canadaas First Nations. In turn, the British took Quebec by force and then granted independence to Canada through political negotiation. In this respect, the majority of Quebecers are immigrants, French, English and others. By contrast, the French have lived in France since recorded history and can insist that immigrants abide by their majority culture. Certainly, the QuAbAcois are one of Canadaas founding nations and a distinct society, and this is reflected in Canadian law and practice. However, Quebec is not a sovereign nation, but a province in Canada and is still bound by Canadian law and norms. France is a sovereign nation and can pursue its national policy without negotiation with other governments. Anglophones and allophones, especially in Montreal, have contributed significantly to Quebecas economic development and should have corresponding input to Quebec society. By contrast, France was primarily developed by its native people. France is not a paragon of virtue in dealing with minorities and has experienced a number of race riots. As recently as August 2012, the French government put down violent riots in Amiens that injured 17 police officers.

Credit: Reuters/Christian Hartmann By Nicholas Vinocur and Emmanuel Jarry PARIS | Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:22pm BST PARIS (Reuters) – French trade unions and employers began a fresh attempt on Tuesday to make a training system that absorbs billions of euros a year more effective in equipping people to fill hundreds of thousands of vacant jobs. Socialist President Francois Hollande has told the two sides to draw up reform plans by year-end, after the European Commission in May singled out job training as a major factor contributing to joblessness above 10 percent. Hollande, who has pinned his reputation to a promise to reverse the trend of rising joblessness by year-end, wants the system to give the long-term unemployed a better chance of being re-hired. He said in June that partly due to inefficient training, more than 330,000 jobs were vacant in sectors ranging from IT to elderly care to engineering and programming. Still, the talks do not aim to wrest control over job training away from unions, as some economists have suggested, or to remodel it after Germany’s vocational training schemes, which have won praise for keeping youth unemployment low. Instead they will focus on how to allocate more of the 32 billion euros (26 billion pounds) spent annually on job training – more than the defence budget – to low-skilled workers via a newly created “personal training fund”. Hardline unions have already said they will resist increasing their 13 billion euros contribution to the scheme. “Nobody takes into account the jobseeker’s interests because they’re not unionised and firms consider they’re no longer their problem,” Jacques Attali, an economist and policy adviser for two former French presidents, told Reuters. “That’s why unemployment is growing.” Unlike in Germany, where companies recruit heavily from school-based vocational training programmes or apprenticeships, French industrial firms tend to recruit from prestigious engineering schools catering only to top students. As a result, students emerging from vocational training struggle to find jobs, and the low-skilled jobless – who are most in need of retraining – have little chance of gaining new skills through poorly-regarded job centre schemes. Most of 32 billion euros for training goes to workers already in employment due to a law that makes firms spend nearly 1 percent of their payroll costs on job training funds, which they manage jointly with unions. Talks will focus mostly on the personal training fund, and making sure that training conforms better to industry needs. (Reporting by Nicholas Vinocur and Emmanuel Jarry; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

Speaking to reporters at the United Nations, Laurent Fabius warned that a lack of international response risked destabilizing the entire region. Land-locked, mineral-rich Central African Republic has slipped into chaos since northern Seleka rebels seized the capital Bangui and ousted President Francois Bozize in March. U.N. officials and rights groups say both sides may have committed war crimes. It is absolutely urgent to act. We are facing a serious security situation and we don’t want to let this serious situation degenerate and through contagion make the situation extremely complicated in the entire region, Fabius said. Fabius is hosting a summit on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 25 to discuss the crisis, which he said needed to send a clear message. Former colonial power France – which intervened earlier this year to oust Islamist rebels from another one of its former colonies, Mali – has been reluctant to get directly involved in the crisis. It has urged African nations and the African Union to do their utmost to resolve the crisis among themselves.