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Pockets of economic recovery seen increasing global demand for oil in 2014


Special to LONDON — The global demand for oil was expected to increase in 2014. The International Energy Agency revised its forecast for global oil demand this year. The Paris-based agency, citing an economic recovery by several countries, said demand would increase to 92.6 million barrels per day. “Far from drowning in oil, markets [...]

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Western diplomats see Assad stalling on removal of chemical weapons

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.  /Reuters

Special to LONDON — Western nations have concluded that the regime of President Bashar Assad was preventing the transfer of Syria’s weapons of mass destruction. Western diplomats said the Assad regime, despite pledges to the United Nations, has surrendered less than five percent of Syria’s 1,300 ton-chemical weapons stockpile. The diplomats said Damascus was [...]

Posted in Africa / Europe,BB Middle East,Exclusives,France,Mideast,Stateside,Syria,Top Stories,U.S. Intelligence | Read More »

Morocco said to buy Israeli-designed drones from France

Harfang drone

Special to LONDON — Morocco was said to have acquired an Israeli-designed unmanned aerial vehicle. French sources said the Royal Moroccan Air Force has signed a contract for the purchase of at least three Israeli UAVs. The sources identified the unmanned platform as the Harfang, a French variant of Israel’s Heron medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV. [...]

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EU drones double surveillance area for illegal migration through the Mediterranean

Schiebel's drone helicopter, the S-100 Camcopter, is 10-feet long and weighs a little over 200 pounds when empty.  /Schiebel

Special to LONDON — The European Union plans to increase surveillance over illegal migration through a new unmanned aerial vehicle. The EU’s Frontex frontier surveillance force has demonstrated the S-100 UAV for operations in the Mediterranean Sea. The French Navy deployed the S-100, also produced in the United Arab Emirates, on the L’Adroit offshore [...]

Posted in Africa / Europe,Austria,BB Africa,Exclusives,France,Mideast,Top Stories,UAE | Read More »

Behind France’s intervention in CAR: Uranium supply security

Anti-Balaka Christian militiamen outside Central African Republic’s capital Bangui, on Dec. 15. /Jerome Delay/AP

Special to By Yossef Bodansky, Senior Editor, Global Information System/Defense & Foreign Affairs Operation Sangaris (a local exotic butterfly) — the French and MISCA (the French acronym for the International Support Mission to the Central African Republic) military intervention in the Central African Republic (CAR) — is escalating. The French contingent will now be [...]

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Mali’s ‘success story’ threatened by security vacuum, militant Islam

Islamic insurgents in Mali.

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — An arc of political and social instability exists on the soft underbelly of the Sahara Desert, as Islamic militants and ethnic separatists chip away at the fragile political geography of five states on the southern fringe of the Sahara desert. The West African country of Mali, wracked by a [...]

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Assad’s exiled uncle faces financial corruption probe in France

Rifat Assad.

Special to LONDON — The exiled uncle of Syrian President Bashar Assad has been under investigation in France. French prosecutors have been investigating Rifat Assad on charges of stealing millions of dollars from Syria. The investigation was prompted by an official complaint by two groups on Sept. 13 that questioned Rifat’s assets in France, [...]

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Out of Lebanon: UN faces imminent pullout of EU peacekeepers

UNIFIL forces in Lebanon.

Special to NICOSIA — The United Nations is bracing for a withdrawal by European Union peacekeepers from Lebanon. The UN Interim Force in Lebanon has been consulting with EU states on the prospect of an imminent withdrawal from Lebanon. EU contingents from France and Italy, which have an ordered an evacuation of its diplomatic [...]

Posted in Africa / Europe,BB Middle East,Exclusives,France,Italy,Lebanon,Mideast,Top Stories,United Nations | Read More »

Bullish on Hollywood: Why American films do so well in socialist France


John J. Metzler PARIS — The Lone Ranger has galloped down the Champs d’ Elysees on his trusty horse Silver. The little blue Smurfs are at the palatial Opera Garnier. As has long been the case in recent memory, the French remain enchanted and enthralled with American movies ranging from Wolverine, Pacific Rim and World [...]

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Morocco’s advanced frigate, Mohammed VI, finishes sea trials

French shipbuilding company DCNS is to launch the FREMM (Frégate Européenne Multi-Mission) multi-mission frigate procured by Morocco.

Special to LONDON — Morocco has been preparing for the delivery of an advanced French-origin naval frigate. The Royal Moroccan Navy has been overseeing sea trials of the FREMM multi-mission frigate from France’s DCNS. Last month, DCNS completed a third series of trials to test the ships’s combat system. “This third series of sea [...]

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