France Wants Action On Central Africa ‘sectarian Poison’

The disclosure that Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres had been kidnapped while working in Syria June 22 brings to four the number of French journalists known to be held hostage in Syria. The Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that Henin and Torres’ capture was not disclosed until now out of respect of their families’ wishes. However, in an interview on French radio station Europe 1 Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault named them for the first time while answering a question about two other reporters whose kidnapping was disclosed in June. Henin was working for Le Point magazine and Arte television. Torres was there to photograph municipal elections in the northeast city of Raqqa, the ministry said. Two other French reporters, Didier Francois and Edouard Elias, have been missing since they were kidnapped while working in Syria on June 6. In a post on its website, Le Point said Henin, 37, had worked regularly for the weekly magazine for 10 years. In an interview on French radio France Inter, Henin’s father said the last word the family had received about Henin was in August, when the French government told them he was alive. Press freedom advocate Reporters sans Frontieres calls Syria “the most dangerous country in the world” for journalists, with 25 reporters killed and 32 imprisoned since the start of the country’s civil war in March 2011. Last month Spanish reporter Marc Marginedas, a special correspondent for El Periodico, was kidnapped, with his newspaper saying they had no contact with him since Sept. 4. ___ Follow Greg Keller at Contribute to this Story:

France Identifies 2 More Reporters Held In Syria

Replacing Damiao in the squad is Atletico Minieiro’s Jo, formerly of Manchester City, with the forward called up to the Selecao for the first time since the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. Otherwise, coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is to field largely the same XI that grabbed a 2-2 draw against England in Rio de Janeiro last weekend, though Marcelo is expected to displace Filipe Luis in defence. France coach Didier Deschamps is set to overhaul his stuttering side, with only Blaise Matuidi, Dimitri Payet and Mathieu Valbuena likely to remain from Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to Uruguay in Montevideo. Joshua Guilavogui of Saint-Etienne is in line for a first international start after making his bow earlier this week, with Hugo Lloris to return ahead of Steve Mandanda. DID YOU KNOW? Brazil have won just one of their last six games under Luiz Felipe Scolari (pictured, right), following their 2-2 draw against England in the newly refurbished Maracana last weekend. The five-time world champions and reigning Confederations Cup holders begin the defence of their title against Japan next Saturday. The Selecao have won just one of their last seven games against France, and have failed to score in the last three encounters. Didier Deschamps’ men are searching for a first win in South America since 2001 following their 1-0 defeat to Uruguay in Montevideo on Wednesday. Les Bleus have won five and drawn two of their nine encounters against Brazil, including the 1998 World Cup final and the 2006 quarter-final. France have lost their last two games in a row, and have just one win in four games in 2013. The two sides last met in an international friendly in Saint-Denis in 2011, France prevailing 1-0 against their South American opponents thanks to Karim Benzema’s winner.

Brazil-France Preview: Confederations Cup hosts continue preparations against stuttering Bleus

Janjaweed Arab fighters from Darfur are present. Members of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army, which Uganda accuses Khartoum of backing, have set up in the country. CAR is geographically at the center of what some strategists have called an “arc of insecurity” involving Islamic militants and stretching from Kenya and Somalia in eastern Africa to Mauritania in the west. The power vacuum in CAR is paving the way for al Qaeda-linked Islamists ousted from Mali, while lawlessness in north Cameroon is opening a route to CAR for Nigeria’s Boko Haram. “We are seeing the start of an internal sectarian poison that we never had in the past coupled with an international aspect that we hadn’t seen either,” said the source. POOR RELATIONSHIP Unlike some of its other colonies in Africa, France has had a poor relationship with CAR since independence in 1960, and has been reluctant to get directly involved in the crisis, urging African nations to do their utmost to resolve it. The African Union has responded by deploying about 2,500 troops as part of its 3,600-strong MISCA mission, made up of forces from Chad, Gabon, Congo Republic and Cameroon. But its material, logistic and financial resources are limited, prompting Paris to seek a U.N. Security Council mandate that would address that and turn MISCA into a U.N. peacekeeping force ultimately supported by French troops. “It’s not obvious, because CAR doesn’t interest anybody. People hardly know where it is, and if we don’t do it then nobody will,” said another French diplomat. The immediate objective is to minimize the level of support Paris has to give by ensuring that collectively Africa, the United Nations, EU and France act together. It also wants transitional president and former Seleka leader Michel Djotodia to completely disassociate himself from the rebels and abide by an 18-month timeline to elections. “We’re not looking for new interventions here or there.

Adieu! How France could be losing its elite

But the French economy remains very sluggish compared with, for example, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. While over two-thirds of the 975 students surveyed online believe it would be somewhat easy for them to get a job in France, they list career and wage advancement as one of the main reasons for going abroad, along with quality of life and economic environment. The U.S., U.K. and Germany top the rankings of countries these future graduates would turn to places where the students may have already spent several months for work experience. Emerging markets attract very few candidates, with China and Brazil coming in in 7th and 8th position respectively. France remains crippled by unemployment, with 11 percent of its workforce on the dole and one out of four under-25s seeking work in August. For Laurent Bigorgne, director of the Montaigne Institute and former deputy headmaster at Sciences Po, France’s approach to education shows some serious weakness. Contrary to many other countries whose investment in education is U-shaped, with most of the funding going to primary and higher education, France spends a lot more on its secondary education than it does on the others. Mr Bigorgne sees this enthusiasm for going abroad as a success story for these elite schools who understand that giving their students an international outlook is an asset. But it also reflects the students’ growing confidence in their ability to speak a foreign language. “They remain very classic in their destination”, the former Sciences Po deputy headmaster told CNBC. Expressing his surprise at seeing Germany ranking so high, he added that students go for countries that are “not so different from France” and are, first and foremost, “safe bets”. Out of the 2012 class, 81.5 percent managed to secure a job shortly after graduating compared with 84.9 percent a year earlier. Outside of the Grandes Ecoles, graduates from France’s other universities fared worse, with only 64 percent of them finding work a few months after graduating, a year-on-year drop of 7 percent according to a study from the French Association for Executive Employment (Apec) released on Wednesday.