Red Faces At Air France After Gold Theft And Cocaine Haul

France, UG relations receive boost

The two discussed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the French Embassy and the University of Ghana as well as the possibilities of partnership which could lead to development in the future. In the MoU signed by both parties in 2008, France is to provide teaching staff to the university, in accordance with job descriptions agreed by both parties. France is also supposed to provide academic resources for student exchange programs between the two countries. UG, according to the MoU, is to provide office infrastructure for the French teaching staff. The university among other things is also to safeguard to the best of its ability, the rights, interest, safety and security of the France teaching personnel. Mr. Clavier said France had decided to speed up the ties between them. He also insisted on enhancing capacity and mobility of both France and UG students. I want to see a future where there are more students from France in the University of Ghana and more University of Ghana students in universities in France, he said. The Ambassador entreated the VC to promote French in the university to an extent that other courses would, in the future, be run in French. This, he said, would attract more French students into the university. He congratulated Prof. Aryeetey for the quality of directive in the various departments and thanked him and his team for hosting them.

The airline admitted Tuesday that gold worth around $2 million — the equivalent of about four bars of the precious metal at Wednesday’s prices — went missing between being loaded on to one of its flights and landing at Zurich airport. And recently, more than a ton of cocaine stashed in 30 suitcases was found on board an Air France flight. Both incidents have raised concerns about Air France’s security procedures. French police announced the theft of the gold bars on Tuesday. Brink’s, the U.S. security firm which delivered the 73 kilo shipment of gold to Charles de Gaulle airport, said in a statement that the parcels “weren’t under its responsibility” at the time on the short flight to Zurich. Air France said that they had been a victim of the theft and that they have launched an investigation into the crime. The inquiry follows on from the one launched for the cocaine find. The airline has begun an investigation into how the suitcases were smuggled on board and Venezuela’s justice and interior minister, Miguel Rodriguez, said that it was likely there were accomplices to the crime at Air France. – By CNBC’s Catherine Boyle. Twitter: @cboylecnbc .

France’s Hollande firm on Syria, hopeful on Iran

(text) French President Francois Hollande strongly defended his countrys hardline stance against the Syrian regime Tuesday in a speech to the United Nations that criticised the international community for being indecisive. The Syrian conflict, he said, was the deadliest this century and the Damascus regimes use of chemical weapons which France believes is beyond doubt constitutes a crime that should and could have been dealt with more assertively. In a thinly veiled criticism of UN Security Council members who vetoed military intervention against Syria, he said the international bodys strength and ability to respond to such a crisis had been undermined by international indecision. Failure to find consensus, he said, shows that we are without power and it is peace that is the principal victim. Coercive measures Hollande added that if Syria does not abide by a Russian-brokered deal to hand over its chemical weapons to the international community for dismantlement, it should face coercive measures under Chapter VII of the UN charter. Those responsible for chemical weapons attacks, he said, must be “held accountable in the justice system.” Hollande also warned that continuing inaction in Syria was likely to breed terrorism, citing Frances military intervention in Mali as justification for foreign military intervention. Mali has regained territorial integrity and has been able to organise an incontestable presidential election, he said. It is evidence of a great victory in Africa over the forces of terrorism. Olive branch to Iran Turning to Iran, Hollande praised a thawing of relations with Tehran as a glimmer of hope for future peace, but he warned that Irans promises not to pursue a nuclear weapons programme must be translated into concrete gestures. “France expects concrete gestures of Iran which will show that this country renounces its military nuclear program even if it clearly has the right to pursue its civilian programme,” he said. Hollande went on to stress that dialogue was the way forward while warning that he would stand firm on the issues of nuclear proliferation. “The question at hand is to know if these words can translate into actions, especially on the nuclear issue,” Hollande added. “But for the past 10 years talks haven’t gone anywhere. UNITED NATIONS