In Mali, Africa, French forces confirmed the killing of Abdelhamid Abou Zeid in the French offensive in Mali last Saturday. Abou Zeid is one of the most feared commanders of the terrorist group al-Qaida that resides in Africa.
Abou Zeid raised millions of dollars by kidnapping western hostages. His death deals a fatal blow to al-Qaida’s North African forces and the Islamist rebels fighting against the French in Northern Mali. It was, however, a great victory to the French forces. However, the location of Abou Zeid’s other French hostages are still in question.
France’s recent DNA tests confirms the identity of Abou Zeid and had made an official statement to different world news groups.
France first launched an offensive against Mali through an air and ground campaign from January 11 because the terrorists presented a threat to international security. The Islamists have backed a Tuareg rebellion in Mali that had demoralized Mali’s army, which easily led to the invasion of the terrorist group.
The French Mali Offensive had been hit back with several Islamist militant suicide bombings and the al-Qaida Northern Forces confirmed through their spokesman that they had beheaded a French hostage because of Paris’ attacks. The French government continues to worry and work on the 14 hostages the Northern Forces still hold.
The Ministry of Justice’s Secretary Justice Chris Grayling had consulted with independent medical boards about having an independent medical board to scrutinize whiplash compensation claims. The board’s focus would be to reduce the number of fraud claims by thoroughly investigating claims and letting the genuine claims pass.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) investigated and found that some medical boards profit from allowing some fraudulent and exaggerated whiplash injury claims coming from claims management companies and personal injury lawyer groups. The MOJ intends to put a lid on the situation by introducing a new medical board and new guidelines for whiplash claiming.
Today, whiplash victims need to submit the medical opinions of two medical professionals to verify the existence of their injuries. Medical professionals can describe the pain and suffering felt by the victim, the future losses the victims can possibly get and the extent of injuries. The two reports must coincide and confirm the facts.
The MOJ may also implement a speed threshold similar to Germany’s whiplash threshold of 10km/h. Traffic laws and regulations may require all vehicles to have in-car monitoring to serve as evidence in the evident of any accident. Traffic authorities also plan to have highway monitor cameras run for 24 hours and get extra maintenance.
Fraudulent whiplash compensation claims are increasing car insurance premiums by £90 yearly. The insurance industry loses £2 billion annually having to settle claims out of court and to avoid high costs of legally investigating seemingly fraudulent claims.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio made history today by being the first non-European Pope in 1000 years. An enthusiastic crowd in St. Peter’s Square greeted him after white smoke rose from the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel that indicates the College of Cardinals have elected the world’s new Pope to replace the resigned Pope Benedict XVI.
The Cardinal, who the world will now call Pope Francis, is the first Jesuit Pope and the first Pope to come from Latin America. The crowds shouted “Viva iL Papa” upon the recognition of the new pope.
Many analysts expected to have Italian Cardinal Angelo Scola to be the next Pope, given his close connection to the Vatican and his duties to its activities.
Pope Francis spent most of his entire holy career in his home in Buenos Aires. He preferred to live simply and tried to avoid the extravagant life of some Archbishops and Cardinals. He lived in an apartment and headed to the Archbishop’s palace for work through the bus, not the private chauffeur provided to most holy leaders. He is described as a man of humble origins and rare humility.
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was named after St. Francis of Assisi, who had lived a spiritual life and rid himself of his material possessions. For his faith, he made a Church to which Jesus appeared to him three times, saying to him to “Fix my Church” each time. During St. Assisi’s era, the Church climate was corrupt and politics got in the way of true faith, and this is where he stepped in.
Recently, disgraced former Lloyds TSB boss Eric Daniels lashed out on consumers and claims management companies for attempting to increase the banks’ PPI compensation package through bogus PPI complaints. Daniels said that half of Lloyds’ PPI complaints were illegitimate, stressing out that most consumers “knew what the product was” and that “PPI was good value for money”.
However, the Financial Ombudsman Service called on the public to treat Daniel’s statements with ‘Cynicism’. The FOS disproves Eric Daniels’ statements as they uphold 3 out of 4 PPI claims rejected by the bank.
Lloyds has over 6,000 representatives handling mis sold PPI complaints and personnel often report confusion about claimants’ PPI claim letters and the lack of evidences the reasons why the claims are often rejected. Consumer groups and claims management companies advice claimants to find a good PPI template letter in news and media websites and even claims management company websites.
Today, Lloyd’s total PPI compensation provision goes up to £6.3 billion, recently earmarking a £1 billion addition to the PPI package. Lloyd’ compensation total puts it on top of all UK banks’ total for PPI compensation. The bank faces other charges for their other scandals. It recently set aside a £90 million compensation package for mis selling interest rate swap products.
The Euro Zone Crisis, Europe’s biggest problem since 2009 may or may not have been resolved as of yet. According to experts, the countries have only averted a single problem the euro zone crisis imposed. While the currency is finally stabilised and markets are slowly regaining speed, the risks are still present and countries still need to avert them.
Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg says that there is a clear divide between financial markets that believe the crisis is over. The governments and the real economy people are divided as to understanding if the euro zone crisis has finally been averted. He said that it would be dangerous to underestimate the crisis and it is important that all risks be averted as well.
Borg has been very critical about the euro zone’s handling of the single currency debt crisis since 2009.
Analysts said that the mood of the crisis for 2013 was more “relaxed”. A sense of urgency from countries emerged during 2012 when the crisis first emerged with everyone wanting to make a plan to save the euro.
IMF Chief Managing Director Christine Lagarde said that it was imperative that the United States, Japan and Europe continue to keep up their reform for economic reform at a steady pace. If the reforms and growth happen too fast it could easily cause a new financial disaster.
However, an anonymous senior European commercial banker said that the notion of the tail risk the euro zone crisis has is gone is a very dangerous notion.
The French troops advancing to Mali’s Timbuktu had captured a string of other towns from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), an al-Qaeda linked group that captured the town April last year. French Air Strikes attacked the home of the Al-Qaeda town overnight and have seized the city of Gao in their ongoing campaign against the Mali terrorists.
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that the troops continued to advance to Timbuktu and Gao is the biggest of six towns seized by the French troops since January 11. On Sunday, along with the capture of Gao, the French troops also destroyed the home of Ansar Dine Chief Iyad Ag Ghaly during the air raids in the Islamist bases of Kidal.
The capture of Mali’s towns by the rebels were a result of a previous coup attempt in April last year in Bamako. Tuareg rebels who wanted to have an independent homeland seized the towns, Kidal first then Gao and Timbuktu. The Islamists joined their cause, and imposed a harsh version of Sharia law comparable to the Taliban’s laws, including banning smoking and music, and having women wear veils.
Citizens of Mali were confident in the French and Mali troop efforts to free the remaining towns. In anguish, they recalled the rebels looting and destroying the mausoleums of saints and amputated people who committed petty crimes such as stealing.
Source: Pakistan Today
The French government recently outlawed many English words that could easily be absorbed into the French native language. The Acadeie Francaise Authority in France has called for the suppression of English words currently used in France’s culture, wherein the list runs for 65 pages of such words.
The language lockdown targets online terms in the social media service Twitter, where authorities say the nation should address as mot-diese, not Twitter. Other words that would be blacklisted are blog, email, spermodel, take-away, parking, weekend and low-cost airline.
Science communities are urged to stop using science terminologies such as “Serial Analysis of Gene Expression” and “Suppression Subtractive Hybridization”. Television sports commentators will now refer to “coach” and “corner” as entraineur and coup de pied de coin.
The government has made it compulsory for educators and the French media to make use of the native word as much as possible in their programmes. The government fears that if the language cannot be preserved, the language may become “shattered” or evolve “in an undesirable way”. Experts agree and support the move.
However, citizens, especially those interacting with people across the globe and doing business and activities with them, say that it would particularly be difficult not to use the English language especially if one uses search engines or reads English references in articles.
Israel commended France’s campaign in Mali to stop “terrorism” in Mali as it is potentially at the “doorstep of France and Europe”, but it saw the world support given to the campaign as a form of hypocrisy. In the point of view of Israel the ruling government of Palestine Hamas is a terrorist group, though the UN made their negotiations with them and most of the world approved of this. Most nations practically condemned Israel’s attacks against Hamas, saying that it is unjust.
France recently increased its military presence and campaigns in Mali over the last weeks at the request of Mali’s government. The west African nation is currently held by terrorists who are imposing a harsh form of Sharia muslim law on citizens. Observers report civilian casualties, including women and children, under the rule of the terrorists.
Israel’s Ambassador to UN Ron Prosor talked to the UN Security Council last Wednesday and pointed out that he thinks it is a double-standard that France gets world support for fighting terrorists “at their doorstep” while Israel “cannot fight a terrorist just inside their living room”. Prosor pointed out the lack of world support for their actions against Gaza and he only intends that the world would support Israel’s campaign against terrorism on their borders as well (Source: Israel Today). The analogy fails to appeal to the minds of most people – the French are considered as doing the right thing internationally. Israel cannot be said to do be doing the same.
Interior minister Manuel Valls, the “number one cop” of France, denies ordering the local police to clear the homeless and tramps of the district near the Right Bank Place de la Bastille so that his wife can shop in peace. Tramps and homeless people have frequented the Rue De la Roquette area near the Bastille opera for years. The place is a magnet for tourists and young people who dine at its cheap restaurants and bars.
Police surrounded the area, cleared the tramps and homeless from the district, and the police placed them in the precinct. One tramp said that they were promised to stay in the precinct for only 4pm and 8pm. When asked by locals and other citizens, the police responded that it was by the orders of the Interior Minister.
However, Valls says that the police responded to the requests of high politicians and other local citizens who have petitioned to have the area cleared of the tramps three months past. The overdue promise was taken action only at a time that he and his wife were shopping. However, critics do not believe the Interior Minister’s statement.
Critics say that it is not the first case of politicians using the police to please one’s wife. Charles de Gaulle had the Plae de la Madelaine cleared of prostitutes for his wife, who would be shopping in the food stores of Fauchon or Hediart.