Flamboyant France Heads To Playoffs On A High Note

Air France decision on Alitalia rescue evenly balanced: source

But Alitalia still needs to find about 100 million euros more from its shareholders, who have 30 days to decide whether to sign up. That gives Air France considerable leverage. The Franco-Dutch carrier was barred from a full takeover of Alitalia in late 2008 by then prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. Alitalia has lost 700,000 euros a day since then and Italy’s current government and Alitalia shareholders hope to persuade Air France to join the capital increase. So far the parties have failed to agree financial commitments and business strategy. Alitalia wants to reposition itself in the higher-margin long-haul market after losing out on regional and domestic routes to competition from low-cost carriers and high-speed trains. That plan appears to clash with Air France’s demands for much tougher restructuring and debt-cutting measures. Analysts have said the logical way to save the Italian carrier would be for Air France-KLM to take over the operating core of the airline and get rid of the entire Alitalia back-office structure, However, that would mean severe cost cuts and job losses, which Rome and unions are likely to oppose. If Air France-KLM does not participate in the share issue, it could be overtaken by the Italian post office as the top investor and its own stake could drop to below 15 percent. This would effectively cost the company its veto power on any new shareholders coming in. If Alitalia were to fail, Air France-KLM would lose access to Europe’s fourth-largest travel market.

But on this form, no team will want to face France, especially with the way Franck Ribery is playing and now that strikers Karim Benzema and Olivier Giroud are both scoring. “We used the ball well, we used the width well with our fullbacks and we controlled possession,” Deschamps said. “In terms of our attacking play, our presence in front of goal, we had an enormous amount of possession. We could have scored more as we created a lot of chances.” After five matches without scoring, major doubts were raised about Deschamps’ team, but the turnaround has been spectacular since the dire first half against Belarus last month. France woke up in that game and went on to win 4-2, then thrashed Australia 6-0 on Friday night. “We are much more in control than we were before,” Deschamps said. “The players are in really good shape at the moment, as well. I hope nothing happens to any of them and that they’ll all be here next month.” In the past two games, Giroud and Benzema have scored twice – with Giroud also contributing to France’s second goal on Tuesday night when his header led to an own goal – while Ribery has been simply unstoppable. “All of the forwards showed good movement,” Deschamps said. “They have a lot of freedom in attack and their understanding was generally very good.” Having won the treble with Bayern Munich last season, Ribery says he wants to win the Golden Ball and is clearly on a mission. He scored twice against Belarus, netted one and set up three against Australia, and almost tore the back of the net out with a fantastic early strike against Finland. He then set up Benzema’s goal late on after some sublime trickery and a perfectly weighted cross from the left.

Roma girl expulsion sparks new row in France

The incident, which happened earlier this month but made public on Wednesday byan NGO that campaigns against the expulsion of school-age children,has sparked outrage from immigrant groups who say police went too far in publicly shaming the teenager. The circumstances surrounding the arrest remained unclear, but both the interior ministry’s version and the account of a teacher agree that her arrest did not take place in view of other pupils. However, the teacher who gave her account via the Network for Education without Borders (RESF) claimed that the other children were fully aware of what was happening and were deeply distressed by the incident. “All my friends and my teacher were crying, some of them asked me if I had killed someone or stolen something as the police were looking for me. When the police reached the bus they told me to get out and that I had to go back to Kosovo,” said Diprani. Diprani’s father, Reshat, who wasexpelled to Kosovo a day before his daughter was arrestedsaid that the family had been victimised because of their ethnicity. “There are bad refugees in France who get papers easily we didn’t do anything bad. They did it to us because we are Roma. We would be treated differently if our skin was a different colour,” he said. Now, Diprani says she just wants to go back to France. “I’m frightened, I don’t speak Albanian.