As U.S., China struggle for power in Asia Pacific, France declares need for a Single Global Order

Rocket Launch
  • As US and China vie to win over Asia-Pacific, France warns of need for ‘single global order’
  • US-China power struggle poses ‘a big challenge’, French President Emmanuel Macron says, as he warns against having to pick sides
  • “America is a strong partner to the economies and the companies of this region because America is and will remain a major engine of global growth,” Harris said.
  • In much the same vein, Chinese President Xi Jinping a day earlier urged greater economic integration and cooperation among countries in the Asia-Pacific.
  • Xi has increased his engagement with regional leaders over the past week, holding talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
  • He also met New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern and Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah separately on Friday, and called for greater collaboration between nations.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron, also delivering a keynote address at the Apec CEO forum on Friday, urged an end to “confrontation,” calling the struggle for supremacy between the two major powers “a big risk and a big challenge”.
  • Stressing the need for a “single global order,” Macron said intensifying confrontation between the US and China had forced some countries to pick a side.

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In France: If you don’t lower the temperature of your home Government Energy Rationing will come

Revelations 18:23 ‘For the merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.’

Important Takeaways:

  • Running Out of Ideas: Macron Pleads with French to Use Less Energy to Avoid Rationing
  • According to a report by Le Figaro, Macron has once again urged “sobriety” from his country’s population, saying that individual efforts to use less energy could translate to rationing being unnecessary over the coming months.
  • “The solution is in our hands,” Macron is reported as telling the public, pleading that individuals reduce their energy consumption by “putting the air conditioning a little less strong” and “the heating a little less strong than usual”.
  • He specifically called on French households to voluntarily limit their home heating to 19 degrees over the coming winter period, something the French President appears to hope will “save about 10 per cent of what we usually consume”

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Wine country in France burning up as 10,000 flee

Revelation 16:9 “They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.”

Important Takeaways:

  • ‘Monster’ wildfire incinerates French wine country: France desperately sends in reinforcement firefighters as ten thousand flee, while record drought helps kill tons of fish in Germany amid summer ‘extremes not seen before’
  • More than 100 communes in France have seen their taps run completely dry amid dangerous water shortage
  • Fleets of vans are ferrying bottled water to desperate communities in the ‘historic’ drought
  • France is also tackling eight active wildfires that have scorched thousands of hectares in the hellish scenes
  • The suffocating heat with no water relief is a story reflected across Europe, with Spain, Italy, Portugal and Germany also under emergency measures.

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Southwest France battles wildfires

Revelation 16:9 “They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Thousands evacuated as wildfires tear through southwest France
  • Wildfires tore through the Gironde region of southwestern France on Wednesday, destroying homes and forcing the evacuation of more than 8,000 residents
  • Some people were forced to clamber onto rooftops as the flames got closer to their properties.
  • More than 6,000 hectares (14,826 acres) were still continuing to burn out of control despite the efforts of firefighters backed by water-bombing aircraft.
  • Sweden and Italy are among countries preparing to send help to France, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said.

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Putin accuses West of ‘complete disregard for our concerns’ hours after Macron talks

Matthew 24:6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

Important Takeaways:

  • Vladimir Putin warns a nuclear war could break out if Ukraine joins NATO and accuses West of ‘complete disregard for our concerns’ hours after Macron talks
  • French officials are touting the talks as a success and claim that they have won concessions from Putin with a promise not to ‘escalate’ his troop buildup.
  • Putin claimed his Moscow talks with President Emmanuel Macron were constructive but said:
    • ‘I want to stress it one more time, I’ve been saying it, but I’d very much want you to finally hear me, and to deliver it to your audience in print, TV and online.
    • ‘Do you understand it or not, that if Ukraine joins NATO and attempts to bring Crimea back by military means, the European countries will be automatically pulled into a war conflict with Russia?’
    • Putin warned: ‘Of course the [military] potential of NATO and Russia are incomparable. We understand it.
    • ‘But we also understand that Russia is one of the leading nuclear states, and by some modern components it even outperforms many.
    • ‘There will be no winners. And you will be pulled into this conflict against your will.
    • ‘You won’t even have time to blink your eye when you execute Article 5 (collective defense of NATO members [means that )…. [an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies]
    • ‘Mr. President Macron, of course, doesn’t want this. And I don’t want it. And I don’t want it….which is why he is here, torturing me for six straight hours.’

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France’s COVID-19 cases reach national record while deaths also rise

PARIS (Reuters) -France had its worst-ever day in terms of new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, with more than 91,000 new cases being recorded while the number of deaths also climbed, as the country battles against a fifth wave of the virus.

“Today’s figures are not good,” said Health Minister Olivier Veran.

Veran had earlier told reporters that the case number would stand at around 88,000 for Thursday, but the final official tally from the health ministry showed 91,608 new cases.

Veran had already warned earlier this week that France would soon be at 100,000 new COVID-19 cases per day.

Data from the health ministry also showed that France registered a further 179 COVID-19 deaths in hospitals over the last 24 hours, while the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units reached 3,208, up by 61 from the previous day.

President Emmanuel Macron is hoping France’s COVID-19 vaccine booster campaign will help to contain the fifth wave of the coronavirus to hit the country.

He is aiming to avoid imposing tough, new restrictions, although the French government has said all options will be considered to tackle any rapid deterioration in France’s COVID-19 situation.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Juliette Jabkhiro, editing by Mark Heinrich, Barbara Lewis and Aurora Ellis)

Iran nuclear talks break, Europe dismayed by Tehran demands

By Parisa Hafezi, Francois Murphy and John Irish

VIENNA (Reuters) – Indirect U.S.-Iranian talks on saving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal broke off until next week as European officials voiced dismay on Friday at the demands of Iran’s new, hardline administration.

The seventh round of talks in Vienna is the first with delegates sent by Iran’s anti-Western President Ebrahim Raisi on how to resuscitate the agreement under which Iran limited its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions.

Raisi’s election in June caused a five-month hiatus in the talks, heightening suspicions among U.S. and European officials that Iran is playing for time while advancing its nuclear program.

Diplomats said the Iranian delegation had proposed sweeping changes to a text that was painstakingly negotiated in previous rounds and that European officials had said was 70-80% finished.

“Over five months ago, Iran interrupted negotiations. Since then, Iran has fast-forwarded its nuclear program. This week, it has back-tracked on diplomatic progress made,” senior officials from France, Britain and Germany said in a statement, adding that Iran was demanding “major changes” to the text.

It is “unclear how these new gaps can be closed in a realistic time frame”, they added.

The three European powers expressed “disappointment and concern” at Iran’s demands, some of which they said were incompatible with the deal’s terms or went beyond them.

The 2015 agreement imposed strict limits on Iran’s uranium enrichment activities, extending the time it would need to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb, if it chose to, to at least a year from around two to three months. Most experts say that period is now shorter than before the deal.

Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons, saying it only wants to master nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

In exchange for the nuclear restrictions, the deal lifted U.S., European Union and U.N. sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

After more than two years of Iranian adherence to the core curbs, however, then-President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the deal in 2018, calling it too soft on Tehran, and reimposed painful U.S. economic sanctions on Tehran.

Tehran retaliated from 2019 by breaching many of the deal’s limits on enrichment and other restrictions, and advancing well beyond them. With the deal’s nuclear benefits now badly eroded, some Western officials say there is little time left before the foundation of the deal is damaged beyond repair.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he thought it likely the current round of talks would not succeed and appeared to look beyond them, hinting at involving more nations, such as Gulf Arab states, in a wider discussion if the Vienna talks fail.

“I think it’s very difficult to find an agreement if the Gulf countries, Israel, all those whose security is directly affected, don’t take part,” he told reporters in Dubai.

FIRM STANCE

Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani’s uncompromising stance is that since Washington left the deal, it should make the first move by lifting all sanctions imposed on Tehran since then, even those unrelated to Tehran’s nuclear activities.

Bagheri Kani told Reuters on Monday the United States and its Western allies also should offer guarantees to Iran that no new sanctions would be imposed on it in future.

However, he left the door ajar for more talks by saying European nations could propose their own drafts for discussion, Iranian state media reported.

Western negotiators take a return to the original deal as their base line, meaning if Iran wants sanctions relief beyond it, Tehran should accept more nuclear restrictions.

This week’s talks ended with a meeting of the remaining parties to the deal: Iran, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. Officials said the talks, in which others shuttle between U.S. and Iranian diplomats because Iran refuses to meet directly with U.S. officials, will resume mid-week.

(Reporting by Parisa Hafezi and Francois Murphy in Vienna and John Irish in Dubai; Writing by Francois Murphy, Parisa Hafezi and Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Daniel Wallis)

 

Cementing ties with France, UAE places $19 billion order for warplanes, helicopters

By John Irish

DUBAI (Reuters) -The United Arab Emirates ordered 80 Rafale fighter jets and 12 military helicopters on Friday, deepening economic and political ties with France through an arms contract worth 17 billion euros ($19.20 billion).

The largest ever overseas sale of the French warplane was sealed as French President Emmanuel Macron began a two-day trip to the Gulf, during which he will also visit Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

“These contracts are important for the economy and create jobs in France. What is good for French men and women, I defend ardently,” Macron told reporters, dismissing concerns by activists that French arms sales in the Gulf were fuelling conflicts in the region.

The French presidency said the deal, signed at a ceremony between Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (MBZ) and Macron on the sidelines of the Dubai Expo 2020, is worth $19 billion.

The first French warplanes will be delivered from 2027, officials, and would create some 7,000 jobs.

Macron’s visit comes at a time when Gulf Arab states have voiced uncertainty about the United States’ focus on the region even as they seek more weapons from their key security ally.

The French leader has forged a good relationship with MBZ with investments flowing between the two countries. Paris has a permanent military base in the Emirati capital.

Shares in Dassault Aviation SA , the Rafale’s maker, rose more than 9%.

It is the biggest bulk purchase of the Dassault-made Rafale, other than by the French army, and comes after deals in Greece, Egypt and Croatia this year.

Abu Dhabi also ordered 12 Caracal helicopters. It is the French code name for the H225M, the multirole military version of the Super Puma.

The on-off negotiations for the Rafale fighter jets took more than a decade with Abu Dhabi publicly rebuffing France’s offer to supply 60 Rafale jets in 2011 as “uncompetitive and unworkable”. Abu Dhabi already has French-built Mirage 2000 warplanes.

“This French commitment in the region, this active cooperation in the fight against terrorism, the clear positions we have taken mean that we have increased our proximity to the UAE,” Macron said.

“And at a time when they undoubtedly asked themselves more questions about other historical partners … I think that this strengthens France’s position,” he said referring to the United States.

Defense sources said the Rafale would replace the Mirage 2000 fleet but is unlikely to displace the American-built F-35 as the UAE continues to hedge its security with two major suppliers, France and the United States.

The deal could nonetheless be seen as a signal of impatience as the U.S. Congress hesitates on approving an F-35 deal amid concerns about the UAE’s relationship with China, including the prevalence of Huawei 5G technology in the country.

“That says a lot about the extraordinary aura that Abu Dhabi has acquired over Paris’ ideological and strategic thinking — It is the first time that a close U.S. partner in the Arab world will rely more on French technology than American technology,” said Jalel Harchaoui, a senior fellow at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.

Paris is one of the UAE’s main arms’ suppliers, but it has faced increasing pressure to review its sales because of the conflict between a Saudi-led coalition and the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen, which has become one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

“France is going ahead with these sales despite the UAE playing a leading role in the atrocity-marred military operations led by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement. “The French president should denounce the human rights violations in these three counties.

($1 = 0.8856 euros)

(Additional reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Tim Hepher, Karishma Singh, Simon Cameron-Moore and David Evans)

 

French police evict migrants from camp on Channel coast

By Juliette Jabkhiro

GRANDE-SYNTHE, France (Reuters) – Police on Tuesday tore down a makeshift camp near the northern French port of Dunkirk where scores of migrants who say they are fleeing war, poverty and persecution in the Middle East were hunkered down with hopes of reaching Britain.

Armed officers entered the camp, which runs along a disused railway line, before workers in protective suits pulled down tents and plastic shelters.

Charity workers say the 27 migrants who drowned in the Channel last Wednesday had stayed in the same area before they attempted the perilous sea crossing from France to Britain last Wednesday. Their dinghy deflated in the open sea.

The number of migrants crossing the Channel has surged to 25,776 in 2021, up from 8,461 in 2020 and 1,835 in 2019, according to tallies compiled by the BBC using Home Office data.

The spike in numbers has angered Britain, which accuses France of doing too little to stem the flow. Paris says that once migrants reach the shores of the channel, it is too late to prevent them crossing.

French police routinely tear up the camps that spring up between Calais and Dunkirk. Evictions at the Grande-Synthe site had been taking place on a weekly basis for the past few weeks, one charity worker said.

The migrants are typically transported to holding centers scattered across the country where they are encouraged to file for asylum, though many quickly make their way back to the Channel coast.

Hussein Hamid, 25, an Iranian Kurd, said it was the second time he had been evicted. On the first occasion, he was bussed to Lyon 760km to the south.

Hamid tried to leave the camp swiftly by foot, carrying a backpack, but said the police had blocked any way out.

An Iraqi Kurd told Reuters by text message that he was hiding nearby while the police conducted their operation.

“I’ll come back if they don’t find me,” he said, requesting anonymity to avoid police reprisals.

President Emmanuel Macron on Friday told Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “get serious” in the effort to curb migrant flows, as post-Brexit relations between their governments deteriorate.

(Reporting by Judith Jabkhiro; Writing by Richard Lough, Editing by Alex Richardson and Ed Osmond)

At least 31 migrants perish trying to cross Channel to UK, French mayor says

By Geert De Clercq and Ingrid Melander

PARIS (Reuters) -At least 31 people died on Wednesday after their dinghy capsized while crossing the Channel from France to Britain, in the worst disaster on record involving migrants in the waters separating the countries.

The Channel is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and currents are strong. Overloaded dinghies often barely stay afloat and are at the mercy of waves as they try to reach British shores.

More migrants left France’s northern shores than usual to take advantage of calm sea conditions on Wednesday, according to fishermen, although the water was bitterly cold.

One fisherman called the rescue services after seeing an empty dinghy and people floating motionless nearby.

Franck Dhersin, deputy head of regional transport and mayor of Teteghem on the northern French coast told Reuters that the death toll had reached 31 and that two people were still missing.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said he was heading for the coast. “Strong emotion in the face of the tragedy of numerous deaths due to the capsizing of a migrant boat in the English Channel,” he wrote in a tweet.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair an emergency meeting on Wednesday, his spokesperson said.

Three helicopters and police and rescue boats were still at the scene, looking for people missing from the capsized vessel, said Maritime Minister Annick Girardin.

The local coast guard said they could not yet confirm the total number of deaths.

One fisherman, Nicolas Margolle, told Reuters he had seen two small dinghies earlier on Wednesday, one with people on board and another empty.

He said another fisherman had called rescue services after seeing an empty dinghy and 15 people floating motionless nearby, either unconscious or dead.

He confirmed there were more dinghies on Wednesday because the weather was good. “But it’s cold,” Margolle added.

Early on Wednesday, Reuters reporters saw a group of over 40 migrants head towards Britain on a dinghy.

While French police have prevented more crossings than in previous years, they have only partially stemmed the flow of migrants wanting to reach Britain – one of many sources of tensions between Paris and London.

Some rights groups said that tighter monitoring was pushing migrants to take greater risks as they sought a better life in the West.

“To accuse only the smugglers is to hide the responsibility of the French and British authorities,” l’Auberge des Migrants NGO said.

Before Wednesday’s disaster, 14 people had drowned this year trying to make it to Britain, a local maritime prefecture official said. In 2020, a total of seven people died and two disappeared, while in 2019 four died.

(Reporting by Geert De Clercq, Tassilo Hummel, Ingrid Melander, Pascal Rossignol; Writing by Ingrid Melander; editing by Richard Lough and Mike Collett-White)