Air France in spotlight as nine held over record cocaine bust
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.
$270 million worth of cocaine found on Air France flight
The colorful bags weren’t registered to any of the passengers on the plane. When French officials opened them up, they discovered why — 1.3 tons of pure cocaine were stuffed inside the anonymous bags. The street value of the stash? About 200 million euros, or $270 million. Coast Guard makes $20 million cocaine bust Huge drug bust off the coast of Florida Drug busts at sea: 4 tons of cocaine The catch was made on September 11, but French authorities didn’t publicize the find until Saturday. On Sunday, Venezuela’s Public Ministry said that authorities had detained three members of the National Guard in connection with the incident. It wasn’t immediately clear exactly what they are accused of doing. The suitcases came from Caracas aboard an Air France flight to Paris, but did not match any of the passengers on board, CNN affiliate BFMTV reported. “Several” people have been taken in custody, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls told reporters Saturday. Authorities worked with Spanish, British and Dutch police on the investigation, BFMTV said. This case “illustrates the importance of strengthening International cooperation in the fight against traffickers,” Valls said. Venezuelan authorities are also investigating. The Public Ministry said prosecutors will investigate, along with the Counterdrug Command of the National Guard in Simon Bolivar International Airport, to see if any criminal activity took place.
In no way will there be a tax either on the company or its customers, Environment Minister Philippe Martin said in an interview on RTL radio yesterday. The state, an EDF shareholder, will benefit from the amortization of nuclear reactors. Martin was speaking a day after Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault unveiled a plan for nuclear energy to contribute to what the government says will be a shift to more renewables and greater energy efficiency. The prime minister didnt provide details about the levy or how much it would raise. EDFs 58 nuclear reactors generate three-quarters of France s power. It wont be a tax on the company or its clients, Martin said. The nuclear activity of EDF though amortizations that are already over long periods will provide sums that could be used by the state as shareholder that could be used to finance the energy transition. Carole Trivi, an EDF spokeswoman, declined to comment. Hollande vowed during his election campaign to reduce reliance on nuclear to half of total electricity output by about 2025. So far, he has announced plans to shut down EDFs Fessenheim plant in eastern France by the end of 2016. We could do this through more renewables, Martin said yesterday, pushing the question of whether more reactors will be closed to a planned energy law next year. In any case, nuclear will remain at an important level. The energy law will cap nuclear-power capacity and provide the legal means to close reactors, the government has said. Carbon Emissions Ayrault, and Hollande on Sept. 20, also discussed a tax on carbon emissions from fossil fuels such as gasoline, diesel, coal and natural gas that will be neutral next year and generate 2.5 billion euros in 2015 and 4 billion euros in 2016. The tax is one way to raise funds for incentives for home renovations to increase energy efficiency as well as boosting renewables. The country will seek to cut energy use in half by 2050 and fossil fuel use 30 percent by 2030, Hollande said.
Rodriguez said it was highly likely the smugglers had accomplices within Air France working with them. The airline has ordered an internal investigation and says it is working closely with the police over an incident that has, at the very least, exposed serious lapses in its security procedures in Caracas. Police sources said none of the six people detained in France was a French national or employee of Air France. The six suspects come from two European countries, one of which is Italy, they said, adding that the smuggling was most likely organised by the ‘Ndrangheta, the Calabrian mafia said to be behind 80 percent of the cocaine trade in Europe. Under special powers used for investigations involving organised crime, the suspects can be held for up to 96 hours without charge. French Interior minister Manuel Valls looks at cocaine seized by French police in Nanterre near Pari The record seizure followed an investigation lasting several weeks which also involved British, Dutch and Spanish police. According to police sources, the drugs arrived in France on September 11 but were not seized until the 20th, the investigators apparently having allowed time to see who was picking them up. Part of the haul was seized at the airport and some on a truck headed towards Luxembourg — a route which suggests the end destination could have been the Netherlands or Britain. Aviation security expert Christophe Naudin said the smuggling had to be an Air France inside job to some extent, given how the suitcases appear to have been loaded onto the plane without going through the normal check-in procedures. “By definition there must have been help from people inside Air France’s operation in Caracas to get the bags labelled,” Naudin said. “Then there must have been others involved in Paris to ensure they did come out on the conveyer belt and then get them out through the freight area.” Cocaine comes from coca leaves grown in countries like Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. Venezuela does not produce cocaine, according to United Nations monitors, but traffickers do use its ports and airports to smuggle drugs to consumer countries. Experts say the European market has been targetted increasingly by traffickers because the North American market is saturated with over supply. Society & Culture CHICAGO (AP) Freddie Freeman stood at the front of the cramped visiting clubhouse at Wrigley Field.