Venezuela arrests three in Air France cocaine case

The cocaine was seized this month at Charles de Gaulle Airport in one of Frances biggest-ever drug busts. Kenyan forces push to dislodge gunmen at mall Sudarsan Raghavan and Greg Miller As the armed attack at an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi enters a third day, sporadic bursts of gunfire and large plumes of smoke rise from the area. Michael Birnbaum Voters cement her status as one of Germanys longest-serving and most influential post-World War II leaders. Ruth Eglash and William Booth Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Jewish families may move into a house near Abrahams tomb. Chinese court convicts Bo Xilai of corruption Simon Denyer Ousted Communist Party official Bo Xilai was found guilty of corruption, embezzlement and abuse of power Sunday and sentenced to life in prison. The Paris prosecutors office said Monday that six people are in custody in the case, which involves police in several countries. Britains government says three Britons have been detained. Venezuelas interior minister said two National Guard sergeants and one lieutenant were also arrested, and that airline workers were suspected of involvement. Air France said in a statement that it is working with police and conducting an internal investigation, and increasing baggage checks at some sensitive locations. Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

2,866 pounds of cocaine worth $270 million found onboard Air France plane

Three members of Venezuela’s security forces have been arrested in connection with the 1.3 tonnes of cocaine French police found aboard an Air France flight that originated in Caracas.AFP/Illustration CARACAS (AFP) Three members of Venezuela’s security forces were arrested in connection with the 1.3 tonnes of cocaine French police found aboard an Air France flight that originated in Caracas, a top cabinet minister said. Intelligence agents “have detained a first lieutenant from the anti-drug unit of the Bolivarian National Guard” along with two National Guard sergeants, Justice and Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez told state network VTV. “These are the first arrests,” Rodriguez said. French police on September 11 seized a record haul of 1.3 tonnes of cocaine found on board a Paris-bound Air France passenger plane. A source close to the French investigation said that the cocaine, which was packed into 30 suitcases, had a street value of some 200 million euros ($270 million). According to Rodriguez, it is “nearly evident” that there were accomplices working with the airline. “How can the cocaine shipment reach France and it gets taken out without going through the normal controls?” he asked. Over the next few days agents will scrutinize footage taken from security cameras at the Simon Bolivar International Airport and interrogate personnel that work in the airport luggage area, he said. Rodriguez, who is also head of the country’s intelligence service, said that he assigned a special team of prosecutors to the probe. French Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who announced the seizure on Saturday, told reporters that “several members of a criminal organization” had been arrested. Cocaine comes from coca leaves grown in countries like Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. Venezuela does not produce cocaine, according to United Nations monitors, but drug traffickers are increasingly using its territory to smuggle drugs into other nations.

Heavy smoke rises from the Westgate Mall in Nairobi Kenya Monday Sept. 23 2013. Multiple large blasts have rocked the mall where a hostage siege is in its third day. Associated Press reporters on the scene heard multiple blasts and a barrage of gunfire. Security forces have been attempting to rescue an unknown number of hostages inside the mall held by al-Qaida-linked terrorists.  (AP Photo/ Jerome Delay)

All change is expensive in the short term even if its beneficial in the long term, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said today in a speech about the environment in Paris. The nuclear levy will be applied to Electricite de France SA s existing atomic reactors, he said. The carbon tax will be introduced progressively on fossil fuels in order to earn 4 billion euros ($5.4 billion) in 2016. President Francois Hollande , who vowed during his election campaign to reduce reliance on nuclear to half of total output by about 2025 while also keeping down consumers bills, hasnt yet said how he will reconcile those aims. The country gets about three-quarters of the power it produces from EDFs 58 nuclear reactors, more than any other nation. The energy transition will cost an estimated 20 billion euros a year, Hollande said yesterday. Our nuclear fleet will be asked to contribute, Ayrault said today at the end of a two-day conference on the environment. The tax would apply over the remaining lifetime of our reactors. Frances Green party, which had said it would withdraw support for the Socialist government over the slow pace of policy initiatives, applauded the carbon tax announcement and new incentives towards home renovations for improved energy use. Ayrault didnt give details of how much EDF, which is 84 percent owned by the government, will have to pay. The utility is compensated for the higher cost of electricity produced by wind turbines and solar panels it buys through a tax on power bills called the CSPE. Carbon Tax The planned carbon tax, to be called a climate energy contribution, will be neutral next year and generate 2.5 billion euros in 2015 and 4 billion euros in 2016, Ayrault said. It will be applied to gasoline, diesel, coal, natural gas as well as heavy and heating fuels. Fishing and transport workers will be exempt from the levy while industrial plants that qualify for carbon quotas will keep their system, according to Ayrault. The governments policy announcements appear to be pragmatic, with very ambitious targets, some would even say hard-to-reach targets, said Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, who is chief executive officer of Solvay SA (SOLB) and was speaking for the business lobby Medef. The state appears to have a vision about what it wants the energy mix to be and is giving itself the means to achieve it. Hollande said yesterday the an energy law would be passed by the end of next year capping nuclear-power capacity and granting the state the legal means to shut down reactors.

France to Tax EDF Nuclear Output for Energy Shift to Renewables

Another 881 pounds was also transported aboard by truck. NEWS WIRE SERVICES Comment KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images French Interior minister Manuel Valls talks to journalists in front of cocaine seized by French police. The haul had a street value of $270 million. Related Stories Children are the silent and small victims of skyrocketing number of home meth labs French police seized 2,866 pounds of pure cocaine carried on an Air France passenger plane from Caracas as well as 881 pounds transported by truck, Journal Du Dimanche reported, citing comments by prosecutors in Nanterre Saturday. Prosecutors held a press conference in the Paris suburb, at which France’s Interior Minister Manuel Valls was present, to discuss the haul, an Interior Ministry spokesman said by phone today. He declined to confirm details reported by the newspaper, referring calls to prosecutors, who couldn’t immediately be reached. “Air France is cooperating closely with the Interior Ministry, which has requested maximum confidentiality in this investigation,” airline spokesman Herve Erschler said by telephone today. An internal investigation is also under way, he said. RELATED: WOMAN BUSTED FOR STASHING COCAINE IN FAKE BABY BUMP The contraband, confiscated on Sept. 11, was stored in 31 suitcases checked in by passengers who didn’t board the plane, Journal Du Dimanche reported. The second seizure was from a truck destined for Luxembourg from the eastern part of France, the newspaper said. The drugs were seized after an investigation by French judicial police collaborating with their Spanish, British and Dutch counterparts that was under way for several weeks, according to the report. Authorities say the cocaine has a street value of $270 million.