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Tuesday, 28 October 2014

RESTRICT TRAVEL TO STOP EBOLA SPREADING !


Is it not common sense to say that if one wants to stop the spread of EBOLA, travel restrictions must be introduced ?  

Several countries have already introduced Health Checks at key arrival points for travellers coming from certain West African countries !  This is what their citizens want and expect.   This cannot be interpreted by West African countries where EBOLA originated, as being an unacceptable policy !

The remarks by Spokesmen representing several World Organisations are disturbing when they do not clearly say that travel should be restricted, but also say that this will not affect the front line efforts to control the spread  of the desease.

AUSTRALIA, EUROPE, AMERICA all want to avoid this epidemic and all have introduced controls but also supplied free medical help !  All this will continue and will be updated daily until the crisis is over !

WEST AFRICA must already know it is not alone !

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PRESIDENT HOLLANDE'S "MAGIC TOOL BOX" WORKS WONDERS !

In France President Hollande is well known for his "Magic Tool Box" and his "Crystal Ball Predictions" about the level of unemployment !  One often sees humorous quips and sketches in the French media !

His 36 Election Promises, and, that he would not increase taxes, put an end to the re-election hopes of President Sarkozy, but all these promises have long been forgotten !

Now Brussels has officially attacked the French Budget for 2015 and this has provoked a detailed review by President Hollande and Michel Sapin, the Minister of Finance.  Like magicians they have discovered 3.6 billion Euros of adjustments required to update the figures submitted !  This may appease the critics and also avoid a Financial penalty !

Thank goodness none of the previous assumptions used needed to be changed !  That could have lead to a fundamental recalculation !

 
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Sunday, 26 October 2014

EU WEALTH TAX OF £ 1.7 BILLION ? BRITAIN MUST AND WILL BARGAIN !

When politicians are hard-up, when they need money, they find a way !  Usually they create a new charge, or they increase taxes !

The EU has sent Britain a "Wealth Tax" bill amounting to £1.7 billion !  The biggest beneficiaries are France and Germany !  The due date for payment is December 1, 2014 ! 

It is to be hoped that Barroso and Juncker have kept the notes of all their calculations, and that independent  external auditors will have certified the charges without any reserves before November 30, 2014 ! 

When politicians do not want to do something, they find excuses and become stubborn.  They persuade "friends" to collaborate (scratch my back and I'll scratch your's) ! In this way the "EUROZONE Club" can remain staunchly opposed to any changes in its basic principles and those in EU Treaties !

This must change !  The "Club" is not the EU !  The EUROZONE should now define the club "rules" and create legislation solely for club members, to avoid confusion ! 

Britain wants EU frontiers to be closed to permit "Selective Immigration only" and to encourage Migration in the EU which would reduce unemployment !  This is the key EU issue which was voted for in the recent EU Parliamentary elections !  There are also other major issues which have not yet been addressed, but now is the time !

Britain will find support coming from many other countries, even in the EUROZONE, if it refuses to pay the £ 1.7 billion, until treaties are changed !  

If nothing changes, electors will revolt and this would be heard even in the cosy corridors of Brussels !

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Friday, 24 October 2014

WHO - ANTI-EBOLA VACCINS ARE COMING, but... NO CURE YET !


WHO (the World Health Organisation) today stated that Vaccins which can act as a protection against EBOLA will become available for front line workers in December 2014. 

The production of the vaccins will be in "hundreds of thousands" in the first half of 2015, and in millions later.

However, Dr Marie Paule Kieny, a WHO assistant Director, said there was not yet a "cure" available.

This in fact partially answers the question in our article yesterday, "when will there be a cure for EBOLA ?".  To discover a cure, test and produce it and then distribute it, will take at least six months (so it would seem).

Perhaps a cure will be available in JUNE 2015 !  Without a vaccination the risk of getting EBOLA remains !  Even in the USA as well as in Europe, cases of EBOLA have already been detected !

Should the African Nations Football Cup be staged in Morocco in January/February 2015 ?  The prudent answer would be "Stage the Finals a year later, in 2016" !

Likewise, it would seem to be prudent to cancel all travel, into or out of Africa, for at least six months !  You travel at your own peril !

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Thursday, 23 October 2014

"COMEDIE FRANCAISE", UN RECIT PASSIONNANT DE GEORGES-MARC BENAMOU


Lu avec intérêt et curiosité, le tout dernier livre de Georges-Marc Benamou "Comédie française" paru ce mois-ci chez Fayard.

Pendant dix-huit mois, Georges-Marc Benamou a œuvré avec Nicolas Sarkozy au sein de son équipe de campagne puis comme conseiller à la Culture et à la Communication avant de tomber en disgrâce et de devenir le "mouton noir du Palais".

Ce voyage au cœur du pouvoir, c'est aussi un portrait de Nicolas Sarkozy qui s'ébauche en filigrane et laisse apparaître les "défauts du fauve: l'aventurisme, les approximations, la versatilité, les promesses non tenues". 

On y découvre l'acteur qui "plusieurs fois a joué la scène de la transformation, sans tenir longtemps sa métamorphose", "son désintérêt pour le fond, pourvu qu'il y ait l'ivresse des mots".

Le "j'ai changé" prononcé aujourd'hui en 2014 par Nicolas Sarkozy ne fait-il pas simplement écho au "j'ai changé" déjà exprimé le 14 janvier 2007 dans son meeting d'investiture ?

DML

EBOLA EPIDEMIC : HOW LONG WILL IT REALLY LAST ?


Today, 23 October 2014, there is no medical solution available to limit the spread of the EBOLA epidemic.  It is a pandemic desease.     

There is evidence that scientists are closing in on solutions but this does not stop the epidemic from spreading;  this is the real situation which all the Leaders in our World are facing now !

Before today there have been almost 5 000 official deaths but there are countless infected people who do not yet realise they are spreading the epidemic.

The incubation period, before the desease breaks out, is 2 to 3 weeks.  Death normally follows during the next 3 weeks. This explains the first six weeks.

When a vaccine or another solution is finally discovered it must be tested and then mass produced.  It must be distributed everywhere, not just to African countries, but at airports at least and other key points throughout the World ! 

The time it takes to Produce and Distribute the vaccine to key points where trained personnel await it, can only be estimated.  Let's say it will take only one month ! 

When the date of delivery of the product is known, add six weeks to cover the last cases for whom the innoculation came too late ! 

The conclusion must be that the EBOLA danger today cannot start to be controled effectively before at least   (23/10/2014  +  one month  +  six weeks =)  4 January 2015 !

Should the World Health Organisation not make this clear to the whole world, using better estimates than those used here in this calculation ? 

Not only Sport and Sportsmen need to plan for the future, but the whole Business world must be able to plan ahead with certainty !

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EBOLA RISKS, SPORTS AND SPONSORS


No Laws or Regulations anywhere cover the current problems, provoked by Ebola, of staging major sports events, when risks threaten the health of sportsmen and spectators alike !

There are two basic but major risks :

   1)  Financial,  because Sponsors will withdraw their support, and 
   2)  Health, because participating sportsmen, their "entourage" and the spectators which follow, could bring a health epidemic with them, to any country where the event is staged ! 

Everyone is closely following what may be decided about the staging in Morocco of the African Nations Football Cup Finals in January/February 2015.   

Is this really a question for FIFA or any Football Organisation to decide ?  Should this not be the responsibility of the National Health Ministry of the Country where the event is planned to be staged ?

Or is it not WHO - World Health Organisation, which should lead the way and impose a decision ?

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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

EUROZONE : FRANCE IS IN THE DOGHOUSE ! But ... not alone !


It is quite clear and officially admitted, that France has not attained its Budget Objectives.  The result is that France is in the EUROZONE Doghouse, but not alone !  Other countries like Italy, Greece and Spain keep them company !

What went wrong in France ?

   -  France generally overspent,
   -  Administrative costs were not streamlined,
   -  The Government did not directly invest to kick-start its economy,
   -  President Hollande dithered in front of his crystal ball, while...
   -  Unemployment kept rising !

Everyone sees the French errors, but what is less evident are the blunders and weaknesses in the EUROZONE which people in Brussels choose not to admit or address !

The original "big blunder" was to create a large EUROZONE too quickly.  Greece is an example.  It presented acounts which were quickly adopted by Brussels.  Later Greece had to ask for "Financial help" !  

In next to no time, the EUROZONE became a collection of 17 ill-assorted countries under the same roof, all  governed by the same Treaties containing the "Principles of the EU" ! 

The EUROZONE is defined by the fact that all members have the EURO as their currency !   To control the parity of the EURO there are "Golden Rules" (which France has transgressed). 

What is incoherent in the EUROZONE is that every country has its own policies.  Health care objectives vary, tax rates vary, social benefits, pensions, hours of the working week, they are all differently defined !  

Because of its size the EUROZONE dominates debates in the EU, particularly when it comes to "controlling" immigration and migration and defending the borders of the EU !  Is it normal that cheap Asian products, mass produced with child labour, are allowed to be dumped in the EU ?  Does this not create more unemployment, even in the EUROZONE ? 

Britain wants a revision of the EU Treaties and France of the EUROZONE as well !  In the recent EU Elections voters were quite clear that they expect Juncker to act ! 

Will the EUROZONE permit this ?

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Sunday, 19 October 2014

JIHADISTS RECRUIT CANNON FODDER FOR THEIR CAUSE !


The constant flow of volunteers to fight for the cause of the "Islamic State" shocks and astounds families and friends everywhere.  Hundreds flee many Western countries to advance the cause and ideals of Islamic Extremists !  And everyone wonders "Why ?" ! 

They are recruited by agents and are then sent to join "training camps" in the Middle East where they are "brainwashed".   They are promised eternal life after death as "Martyrs" of Islam !  

The stark and naked truth is that the short training period is not to make them "missionaries" for their new faith of "Islam" !  It is to make them "front-line warriors" to combat experienced soldiers from other countries ! 

Volunteers for the cause of "Islam" do not realise that they are being misled.  That they are being trained to become "cannon fodder" ! 

They cannot imagine that when they are killed, there is no "heroic" ceremony, there is no marked grave and probably there is not even a list of "faithful martyrs" killed for the cause !  They are simply "forgotten", by "Islam" and by everyone, except their families.... perhaps ! 

THAT is the message which Leaders in the West must   disseminate, not only to the youth of their countries but also, particularly, to the parents of adolescents !

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Saturday, 18 October 2014

MODULATION DES ALLOCATIONS FAMILIALES : LA FIN D'UN TABOU !


François Hollande l'avait promis: il ne touchera pas aux allocations familiales et leur montant ne sera pas soumis à des conditions de ressources... Mais comme chacun sait, les promesses n'engagent que ceux qui les écoutent. 

François Hollande est donc revenu sur son engagement et a donné son accord pour une modulation des allocations familiales en fonction des revenus des familles bénéficiaires en 2015.

La mesure annoncée a déjà soulevé un vaste tollé : "une rupture du pacte républicain conclu entre l'Etat et les familles depuis 1945", selon Valérie Pécresse.

Cela augure-t-il de nouvelles brèches pour faire tomber d'autres tabous, pour mettre fin par exemple à  certains avantages financiers et fiscaux corporatistes souvent dénoncés par la Cour des comptes ?

Pas sûr !  "S'attaquer" aux familles est quasiment sans risque alors que la remise en cause de certains avantages exigerait un réel courage politique !

DML

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FRENCH BUDGET 2015 : WHAT COULD CHANGE ?


For half his mandate as President of France, François Hollande has dithered, closely examining the monthly level of Unemployment and blaming the worldwide economic depression, but, without making any changes to avoid "rocking the boat" !

The time has come when measures must be decided to reduce costs and to increase revenues.  Brussels will want to know the effect of these radical changes on the 2015 Budget.

No changes have as yet been officially decided in France, but no stone has been left unturned in case something important has been missed !  This simply means that only drastic measures can now make a sizeable impact ! 

The following "drastic" long term measures could have the desired effect now needed, but, alas they have already been discarded as possible solutions.  

1)  To increase "Revenue" the basic rate of Turnover Tax could be raised, but not on food.

2)  To reduce "costs", the retirement age could be increased in line with the anticipated longevity of beneficiaries !

3)  To encourage business the law concerning the 35 hour working week could be redefined to unshackle companies facing economic difficulties or bankruptcy !


France can only expect difficult negotiations in Brussels.   However, the EU and the EUROZONE are not entirely blameless for the predicament in which several countries find themselves at present !

The EU must revise some of the fundamental principles concerning Immigration and Migration by closing the Frontiers of the EU !  Could the EBOLA crisis alone not justify this ?

France would have the support of many other countries on these issues and could therefore plead in Brussels that these changes are necessary NOW to protect not only France but the long term future of the EU !  

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Friday, 17 October 2014

EBOLA : ARE FIFA AND BLATTER TAKING ACTION ?


The African Nations Cup finals are scheduled to take place in Morocco as from 17 January 2015, but the Ebola epidemic in West Africa has raised  serious doubts about whether the venue should not be changed !

At present FIFA organisational rules do not provide "reserve venues" when a Host Nation is chosen to organise the finals of an international competition.  Has FIFA or its President Sepp Blatter given its "best advice" on the Ebola risks ?

The risks are really much larger than just the African Nations Cup.  This the World Health Organisation (WHO) has made clear by publishing the names of 15 countries which should be avoided.

Many footballers participating in the African Nations Cup are attached to (the property of !) clubs in Europe or other parts of the World.  Who will reimburse the clubs if a player is infected by the Ebola germ ?

To be really realistic, all Sportsmen worldwide should be protected against the Ebola risk being spread by African competitors !  If Sportsmen transgress common sense "instructions" just for fame or money, they should be placed in quarantine !

Will FIFA lead the way ?  Will WHO or UNO be the first to act ?  Debates are not necessary, just a little bit of common sense is required !

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WHY IS THERE A EUROZONE CRISIS ?


A crisis has arisen because at least France and Italy of the 17 countries which have the EURO as their national currency, expect bigger losses for 2014 than the 3% limit of the  "Golden Rule" for the EUROZONE "family of countries".   Greece, for the second time, and Spain are also in difficulty.  

One can liken this crisis to that of a normal family which suddenly faces difficulties because its income is lower, or expenses are higher, than expected in the family budget initially.

It is true that worldwide there has been an economic depression in 2014 and this has provoked higher unemployent in the EU and in many countries everywhere. 

However, there are special reasons which explain the  EUROZONE Crisis;

a)  Some countries are orientated towards Industry,  Finance or Tourism.  
b)  Some countries, like France, have a system of high Social Benefits.  Costs soar when there is high unemployment !
c)  The legal working week in France is 35 hours.  Longer hours can be worked at overtime rates, but this increases the cost of production which then reduces competivity.           
d)  Germany needs immigrants for its factories but other countries would prefer limited immigration !
e)  The political and social options before the EURO was created, vary in all member countries but since then nothing has been done to standardise practices.

All these reasons and others mean that none of the country accounts are comparable.  In spite of this the Golden Rule applies and the overrun of expenses is limited to 3% to protect the value of the EURO !

The 11 EU countries, like Britain and its Pound Sterling, each have the right to devalue or let their currency float up or down, because they all have their own central Bank.

When EUROZONE countries face hard times they yearn  to recover their former currency. They could then use the flexibility by letting the currency float and in this way recover their competitivity ! 

It should be pointed out that recently the ECB (European Central Bank), or should one say Mario Draghi its President did just that and the EURO depreciated by 10% against the US Dollar !  Alas, this was in September. The effect was too small and too late to help France and Italy !

It will be interesting to see what solution the EUROZONE finally adopts to cover the 2014 Crisis !
 
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Sunday, 12 October 2014

AFRICA NATIONS CUP AND THE EBOLA RISK !


The African Nations Football Cup finals are scheduled to be played in Morocco from 17 January to 8 February 2015. 

The Moroccan Health Ministry has quite rightly raised the question whether it would not be wise to postpone these finals in view of the outbreak of EBOLA in Western Africa.  

This Blog recently raised the problem that FIFA never chooses reserve venues when World Cup Hosts are elected ! (1)  This is a flaw in the FIFA procedures which should be an example for all Football Federations.

The EBOLA epidemic and the warfares in the Middle East and Ukraine are unexpected problems which should nonetheless be covered by reserve venues !

The health of players and spectators is paramount and takes precedence over any financial considerations when deciding whether an event should take place.

(1) Read the article in this Blog entitled "FIFA World Cup Finals in danger ?"

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Thursday, 9 October 2014

CLOSING THE FRONTIERS : WHAT THIS IMPLIES !

FRONTEX was created by the EU in 2005 with the aim of co-ordinating the efforts of all EU countries to control their external borders.  This involves a great deal of work because  every one of the 28 countries has an airport, train link or direct frontier with a non-EU country.

The Head Office of Frontex is located in an imposing building in Warsaw !  Its costs are paid by Brussels but the budget limits the amount of work which Frontex can undertake.  Likewise some countries in the EU are reluctant to spend more than what they think is enough  to control their own borders.

It is quite clear from the above summary that the control of EU frontiers is totally inadequate.  The result is that almost anyone can illegally enter the EU and this is an inacceptable danger !   The proof is that long term illegal immigrants are regularly discovered. 

There is only one system which can effectively limit unwanted immigrants for whatever reason.  Official EU Identity Cards !  Permanent ID Cards for EU residents and Temporary ID Cards for every Visitor for a specified short period of time.   The country which issues an Identity Card remains responsible for that person !

This system is onerous and costly but necessary !  It should have been installed long ago !  Everyone knows that the USA has for a long time protected itself against unwanted visitors. 

It is the duty of the EU Council of Ministers and the EU Commission to impose a suitable system for the benefit and security of Member Countries and their taxpayers !   The previous article in this Blog (1) reminds readers how electors recently voted.

(1) "Mr Juncker : Close the Frontiers Quickly !".    

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Mr JUNCKER : CLOSE THE EU FRONTIERS QUICKLY !


The Schengen Treaty introduced the "Free circulation of goods and people".  It is normal that EU citizens should have the right to "migrate" freely but the Treaty did not specify that "immigrants" must be controled at entry by border  guards and obtain temporary documentation to stay, even when they are tourists !

It is now a matter of urgency that these controles are introduced as soon as possible !   The reasons are now very evident;

   1)  Economically EU countries cannot afford the cost of "uninvited, unselected immigrants" because of high the  unemployment.
   2)  There is currently a serious threat of "terrorist activities" by Islamic State partizans in the EU and other countries ! 
   3)  The EBOLA virus is spreading from Africa because of insufficient knowledge of the illness and the lack of controls at entry points to the EU ! 

The EU has never introduced watertight controls over "immigrants" !   This is unacceptable, dangerous and a complete failure, even a dereliction, of their duties by EU politicians ! 

It has now become urgent to act !  Jean-Claude Juncker must take into account the mandate he has been given in the recent EU Parliamentary Elections by the many Voters who clearly want less immigration !

Jean-Claude Juncker was clearly backed by Merkel and the EUROZONE to become the President of the EU Commission but on this issue must be seen to act in the interests of the whole EU !

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Tuesday, 7 October 2014

VALLS SAYS FRANCE IS "PRO BUSINESS" !


Manuel Valls, the Prime Minister of the Socialist Government of France visited the British Prime Minister David Cameron in London and then addressed a selection of Businessmen from the City.

One can summarise the message he brought by saying that Monsieur Valls regretted that British Businessmen did not invest more in France !  He said France is "pro- business".   What he really regretted was that  Andy Street the Managing Director of John Lewis had the affront to say "France is finished..."  This really hurt the Prime Minister of the second most important Member Country of the EU !

France today has a number serious problems and these must be solved rapidly in 2015, not in 2016 and following years !  Brussels will point this out officially when the French Budget is submitted shortly.  What needs to be done to correct previous errors ?

   1)  Direct long term Investments by the Government to reverse the monthly increase of the Unemployed. 
   2)  Contain the power of Trade Unions who legally over-protect employee rights and in this way strangle employers !  (A modern day Margaret Thatcher is required !)
   3)  Redefine the application of the 35 hour Working Week so that French Companies become more competitive !
   4)  Revise the conditions of the Social Security benefits.
   5)  Streamline French Government Departments.
   6)  Encourage the revision of the Schengen Agreement to limit Immigrants and their rights !

France has applauded the 10% devaluation of the Euro against the US dollar, but this alone will not cure its Balance of Trade deficit and the  mounting National Debt.

Finally, Manuel Valls should not ignore the fact that the British do love France and the French way of life ! Tourists visit and explore France every year.  History also has noted that in times of need Britain has been a loyal ally on several occasions !

 Vive L'entente Cordiale !

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Sunday, 5 October 2014

FRANCE WELCOMES DEVALUED EURO !


Between the end of May and end of September 2014 the Euro lost 10% of its value against the US Dollar on the exchange markets. This de facto devaluation delights France and its industrialists as it will help to revive exports which will be cheaper for foreign buyers.  The Tourist Industry could also benefit as the cost of visiting France will be cheaper.

However France has an Economic Crisis to solve in order to attain the standards set out in the Golden Rules of the EUROZONE.  In the 2015 Budget which is being prepared, Growth in 2014 is expected to be zero and the overrun of costs for the current year will be 4.3%.  France could in fact be sanctioned if serious measures are not implemented to avoid the same problems next year.

What are the major problems needing attention ?

   1) More flexibility concerning the 35 hour week.
   2) Government departments must be streamlined.
   3) More direct investment by the Government.
   4) Age of Retirement should rise in line with longevity expectations.
   5) Social benefits should be scrutinised and updated.

Not only France but Europe as a whole has suffered from high unemployment.  Nonetheless, this is a major factor  which explains the dismal stagnation of the French economy.
     
There is unrest in France already by the performance of President Hollande and his Governments.  Taxes have increased but 7 million of the lowest earners have recently been exempted from paying any income tax.  Still there is unrest because the unemployed want jobs. 

Hollande is now half way through his five year term as President.  Having dithered up to now he has little time left to inspire the Captains of Industry who have been waiting for a long time for action on at least the points referred to above. 

The political opposition is waiting but no one can be sure of anything at this moment in time !
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Friday, 3 October 2014

BEIJING WANTS TO REWRITE HONG KONG TREATY ?


The Hong Kong Independence Treaty by which Britain gave Hong Kong (HK) back to China stated that HK would have a high degree of autonomy for the next 50 years.

That was the "spirit of the agreement" before and at the time of the signing of the Treaty in 1997.  Now China seems to want to rewrite the Treaty by making interpretations and assumptions which would override the spirit and intentions of the signataries at the time !

Not only the signatories understood this but all the residents in HK at that time also !   To be quite blunt, no one in HK in 1997 wanted the Chinese to forcibly impose "totalitarian" principles in this former British colony so soon after the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989 !  Is Beijing "proud" of what happened then ?

China must realise that another massacre will result in Sanctions by the International community.  Trade embargos by the EU and by many other countries in the British Commonwealth could cripple Chinese exports.

Hong Kong would no longer be a window on the outside world and the banking and commercial operations would flee with all the key residents !

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