Friday, October 29, 2010

Osama bin Laden threatens France - Sarkozy says France will not be intimidated


Paris, France (CNN) -- The French government will not be swayed by a threatening message apparently recorded by Osama Bin Laden, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday.

"It goes without saying that France does not let its politics be dictated by anyone, and certainly not by terrorists," Sarkozy said while attending the European Union summit in Brussels Friday.

Bin Laden warned France to get its troops out of Afghanistan and not to oppress Muslims at home in a tape broadcast by the Al-Jazeera network Wednesday and authenticated by the French Foreign Ministry on Thursday.

"If you want to tyrannize and think that it is your right to ban the free women from wearing the burqa, isn't it our right to expel your occupying forces, your men from our lands by striking them by the neck?" the speaker demands, in reference to recently passed French legislation barring women from covering their faces in public.

"This message only confirms the reality of the terrorist threat against which the French authorities have taken and continue to take appropriate measures," the ministry said in a statement Thursday.

Sarkozy wins Pension Reform - saves French economy

PARIS (Dow Jones)--Anti-government industrial action and protests continued to diminish Friday after President Nicolas Sarkozy's contentious pension reform was voted into law.

"We have the satisfaction of having accomplished our duty" on pension reform, Dominique Paille, a spokesman for Sarkozy's conservative UMP party told French television.

The pension reform cleared parliamentary hurdles Wednesday but will be delayed a week or two as the opposition Socialist party, as expected, appeals to the country's constitutional court which for its part is expected to dismiss the appeal.

Sarkozy has "by and large won the pensions battle," Douglas Webber, a political science professor at the Fontainebleau-based international business school INSEAD said. "Despite a few concessions, he's got pretty much what he wanted, keeping his political majority intact and united at the same time," Webber added.

Publicly, Sarkozy was modest. "There is only one winner in this affair and that's the social security system and the French people," Sarkozy told reporters on Friday. "French people's pensions will be funded," he added.

After a union-led national day of protest and strikes Thursday fizzled out, striking refinery workers were heading back to work Friday and a crippling strike at the key Fos-Lavera oil port came to an end.

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