France Says Urgent Action Needed To Aid Car

Thieves steal £1m of gold bars from Air France flight weeks after airline was used to smuggle £170m worth of pure cocaine

The news will be embarrassing for Air France whose staff is already facing investigation over a record-breaking £170million haul of cocaine discovered on a flight from Venezuela on September 11th

“It’s not normal that you can carry more than a ton of cocaine on an Air France plane,” he said Monday on Europe-1 radio. “The fight against drugs requires all the players, notably transport companies, to participate in this cooperation.” Valls said police knew where and to whom the drugs were heading but wouldn’t divulge the information or provide details on who was arrested. His Venezuelan counterpart, Miguel Rodriguez, told reporters that “mafias comprised of Italian and English citizens” were involved and that French police had been tracking them since July. The Paris prosecutor’s office said the six people in custody were to appear before a judge Tuesday to determine whether they would be charged. A spokeswoman said none were French but would not discuss their nationality. Britain’s Foreign Office said three Britons were among those arrested. Rodriquez said authorities had interviewed more than 15 people and “in the coming hours we will surely be announcing more arrests.” On Sunday, police arrested two National Guard sergeants and the lieutenant assigned to counterdrug duties the airport when the incident occurred and Rodriguez said authorities “presume complicity at the airline.” He noted that each of the 31 suitcases would have been far over the usual maximum baggage weight allowed at an average of more than 40 kilograms (88 pounds) each. The Colombian cocaine was placed on Flight 368, which departed on Sept. 10, and seized the following morning at Charles de Gaulle Airport, he said. Air France said it was working with police and conducting an internal investigation. The baggage tickets had fake names, said Alejandro Keleris, director of Venezuela’s counterdrug agency. There was no explanation given for why authorities waited nearly two weeks to announce the seizure. Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue think tank in Washington, said the case supports U.S. accusations of high-level support for drug trafficking in Venezuela’s military as it was unlikely two sergeants and a lieutenant acted alone. “The quick arrests were not surprising – (President Nicolas) Maduro understands this is a real problem for him,” Shifter said.

France steadies NASCAR during credibility crisis

Detectives said that 44 kilos of gold ingots were taken from a plane travelling from the French capital to Zurich last Thursday. They were being handled by the American Brink’s secure transportation company, which regularly transfers valuables on the same route. The nine cases set off from Charles de Gaulle airport but only seven cases reached the tarmac on the other side, police said. ‘We are investigating the matter, and especially the possibility that this was an inside job,’ said an investigating source. The news comes just two weeks after 170million worth of pure cocaine was found being shipped from South America to Paris on board another Air France aircraft. The record-breaking 1.3 tonne haul was packed into 30 separate suitcases and all originated in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. All had been registered to passengers who did not exist and were not registered on the flight. Six members of an international drug gang, including three Britons, were arrested following the discovery on September 11th. Snakes on a plane! Flight from Sydney to Tokyo grounded after a reptile is found on board in passenger compartment The other three are Italian and are thought to have connections to the country’s infamous Mafia. Three Venezuelan soldiers, a first sergeant, a second sergeant and a first lieutenant, were arrested on Sunday and will be charged, the country’s prosecutor’s office said.

France saw it as way to add excitement when NASCAR goes head-to-head with the NFL, and he’s tinkered with the format since its debut, expanding the field, adding wild card berths and bonus points for “regular season” wins, in an effort to create what he calls “Game 7 moments.” For France, it’s part of the evolution of keeping NASCAR relevant in relation to the NFL and other sports, particularly as NASCAR’s televisions ratings and attendance have slid since the 2008 economic collapse. “We’ve always been trying to get television dollars or exposure or sponsor participation, stuff that you only get by having the size audience that will put you in line with the other professional sports leagues,” he said. “The nuances of what we do is very different than any sport. We’ve also taken an unabashed view to creating the closest competition that we can. We’re competing for the casual fan. It may not be the biggest motorsports fan, but they certainly appreciate big moments in sports. We have to compete with other sports, so that’s natural for us to want to emulate some of the things to set up big moments to attract some of the casual fans.” But both the Chase itself and France’s push to move NASCAR away from some of its traditional regional tracks and into larger urban markets has irritated its longtime fan base. In the wake of the Richmond scandal, there’s been a groundswell on social media noting that this never could have happened pre-Chase, when the champion was crowned over the 36-race schedule. Instead, the pressure to get a driver into one of the 12 Chase spots to race for the championship over the final 10 races created this mess. France, in an interview before Richmond, said drivers have praised the Chase format because it gives them the opportunity to elevate their performance. He cited Tony Stewart’s 2011 championship run, Brad Keselowski’s title last season and Jimmie Johnson’s five championships as examples of drivers turning it up a notch. “Drivers love the format and appreciate what it does,” France said.

It has urged African nations and the African Union to do their utmost to resolve the crisis among themselves. But while the African Union plans to deploy a 3,600-strong peacekeeping mission – known as MISCA – in the country, incorporating a regional force of 1,100 soldiers already on the ground, it is unlikely to be operational before 2014. The African Union has asked financial, logistical and technical support from the United Nations and senior U.N. officials recommended last month that the U.N. Security Council approve this request. The African Union and United Nations planned to send experts to the Central African Republic to assess exactly what was needed and U.N. diplomats said that on the basis of those reports the Security Council would respond with a resolution. U.N. envoy to Central African Republic, retired Lieutenant General Babacar Gaye, and U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic both last month signaled to the Security Council that the AU force would not be enough to combat the crisis in the country, which borders six other states. We want to pass the message that it is imperative to strengthen the MISCA, Fabius said. France has a small force in Bangui securing the airport and its local interests. French diplomatic sources said earlier this week Paris would be ready to provide logistical support and increase its troop numbers to 700-750 men if needed. Michel Djotodia, who swept to power at the head of the rebellion, was officially sworn in as the country’s president last month but he has failed to contain waves of looting and killing by gunmen.

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