To Aid Their Finally, Barely Positive Economic Growth, France Decides To… Raise Taxes. Again.

Unions, trying to defend the 35-hour work week, are pitted against some retailers and even some employees who want to increase business at a time of record unemployment and stagnant economic growth. Retailers Leroy Merlin and Kingfisher-owned (KGF.L) Castorama were open Paris and its suburbs this Sunday, defying a court ruling on Thursday. “The (Sunday-trading) law is a kind of machine that churns out lawsuits,” Budget Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told Europe 1 radio. “Given that there are some employees who want to work and shoppers who today want to shop, could we not try to find some kind of path to an appropriate response?” His comments echoed those made by a junior minister for trade, Sylvia Pinel. “We have inherited a kind of regulatory ‘millefeuille’,” she told Sunday newspaper Journal du Dimanche, referring to a layered French cake and the different trading regulations that apply in various districts. “We will now work with sector professionals to address the question of Sunday trading,” she said. Apparently referring to a separate legal ruling on Monday that ordered LVMH-owned (LVMH.PA) cosmetics store Sephora to close its Champs Elysees outlet at 9 p.m. (2000 GMT) instead of midnight, she said, “Late-night labor must remain the exception in order to preserve the health and free time of employees.” “Flexibility is possible via employee-management talks but reforming this law is unnecessary… It is always possible to wait till tomorrow to make a purchase,” she said. No one at Leroy Merlin, Castorama, the prime minister’s office or the Elysee Palace of President Francois Hollande was immediately available to comment. (Reporting by Lionel Laurent and Yann Le Guernigou; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Most of the fighting was done by 4,000 French and 3,000 Chadian troops (who suffered 38 dead). France and the United States were initially at odds over the value of African peacekeepers in Mali. The U.S. believed that the African troops headed for peacekeeping duty there were too poorly trained, equipped, and led to be of much use. France believed they could work around the deficiencies and make the African troops useful (for local security, like manning roadblocks and guard duty). The U.S. believes that you have to be careful with that approach as the African troops are often led by corrupt officers who will demand bribes from the locals. This causes popular resentment of the peacekeepers and helps the Islamic terrorists to remain hidden. The French eventually only used Chadian troops (who had a lot of combat experience from their recent civil war and skirmishes with Sudan) for actual fighting and used the others (and Malian soldiers) for security. This worked. While the Americans have been training a growing number of African troops in the last decade, the French have been in Africa for over a century and have a long track record of getting things done despite all the problems the Americans fret about. The Tuaregs of northern Mali quickly offered to work with the French after the French invasion got started in January.

France sanctions Google for European privacy law violations

Oh, wait that was only a short time ago. As in, last month . Which doesnt quite help to adequately explain what the thought process was here. Via the WSJ : The French government unveiled a 2014 budget Wednesday that continues to rely on higher taxes, threatening to further dent household spending power and economic growth, as well as President Francois Hollandes record low popularity. Faced with growing discontent over high taxation, Mr. Hollandes government emphasized efforts in the budget to improve Frances public finances by curbing spending. But net new taxes are still set to increase by 3 billion, with households shouldering the greatest burden, including an increase in the sales tax. The measures add to a tax burden that is already among the highest in Europe and are likely to weigh on the modest recovery in France, the eurozones second-largest economy, where households account for the largest component of gross domestic product. French companies and households have been hit hard by a steady increase in taxation since Mr. Hollande was elected 16 months ago. He introduced more than 7 billion ($9.3 billion) of fresh taxes after coming to power and another 20 billion in the 2013 budget, in a bid to restore Frances public finances and rein in its budget deficit.

France Seeks Permanent Victory In Mali

The enforcement follows an analysis led by European data protection authorities of a new privacy policy that Google enacted in 2012, France’s privacy watchdog, the Commission Nationale de L’Informatique et des Libertes , said Friday on its website. Google was ordered in June by the CNIL to comply with French data protection laws within three months. But Google had not changed its policies to comply with French laws by a deadline on Friday, because the company said that France’s data protection laws did not apply to users of certain Google services in France, the CNIL said. The company “has not implemented the requested changes,” the CNIL said. As a result, “the chair of the CNIL will now designate a rapporteur for the purpose of initiating a formal procedure for imposing sanctions, according to the provisions laid down in the French data protection law,” the watchdog said. Google could be fined a maximum of 150,000 ($202,562), or 300,000 for a second offense, and could in some circumstances be ordered to refrain from processing personal data in certain ways for three months. What bothers France The CNIL took issue with several areas of Google’s data policies, in particular how the company stores and uses people’s data. How Google informs users about data that it processes and obtains consent from users before storing tracking cookies were cited as areas of concern by the CNIL. In a statement, Google said that its privacy policy respects European law. “We have engaged fully with the CNIL throughout this process, and we’ll continue to do so going forward,” a spokeswoman said. Google is also embroiled with European authorities in an antitrust case for allegedly breaking competition rules. The company recently submitted proposals to avoid fines in that case.