Importing France’s model of laïcité is a mistake for the PQ
Talking to media persons after inaugurating a road show titled, ‘world of energy efficiency for a better Pakistan,” here by Schneider Electric, a company which offers solutions to energy management, the ambassador said France was collaborating with other partners including the Asian Development Bank on different components of energy-related projects and one of these schemes which cost $600 million would help Pakistan save 1000 WM. Replying to a question, he said France had international commitments and would abide by them with regard to the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project. The ambassador said Pakistan is a sovereign state and she took decisions on their own for meeting its energy needs. As far as the French government was concerned, he added, it would go by the international commitments, adding Pakistan had not requested for cooperation with regard to the Pak-Iran gas pipeline project. He said France was focusing on small projects including “Munda Dam” and other hydropower projects to efficiently ease energy crisis in Pakistan. Earlier inaugurating the show, he lauded the management of Schneider Electric for bringing their whole product profile under one roof. He said such road shows will definitely leave an impact on energy efficient measures in future. He said the road show was being held under the umbrella campaign experience efficiency to showcase the complete energy solution portfolio of Schneider Electric under one roof. He said the event would act as a platform to educate the national stakeholders about energy solutions and seek to address energy challenges by offering solutions that add value to one’s business in the long-run while aimed at all relevant audience of Schneider Electric – end users, government entities and the partners, the event will also touch upon key innovative and industry leading breakthroughs Schneider Electric have achieved globally including Ecostruxure, Struxureware and Smartstruxure. The event is being leveraged as a platform to showcase Schneider Electric’s portfolio of integrated solutions that facilitate intelligent energy management for its customers. Benoit Dubarle, Country President – UAE, Oman & Pakistan, Schneider Electric Gulf said, “Our road show offers a unique platform to identify new opportunities and a chance to meet with influential leaders and decision makers in the sectors. We focus on energy, IT, finance, government, hotels, healthcare and manufacturing.
It sounds as though it’s at least a possibility, according to several reports out Tuesday (Oct. 1) . That comes as Alitalia which has history is perhaps best known for a seemingly endless cycle of financial emergencies enters a new round of turbulence that has it looking for ways to raise cash. Alitalia’s deteriorating balance sheets have prompted speculation that partner Air France-KLM which already has a 25% stake in the carrier could come to the rescue. RELATED: A familiar place: Alitalia back to the financial brink As for the reports raising the possibility of a merger, one is one from Reuters . The news agency writes “Air France-KLM said on Tuesday it was open to merging with Alitalia in a move seen as the best solution for turning around the loss-making Italian airline.” Dow Jones Newswires ran a similar report , noting one key Alitalia shareholder views Air France-KLM “as a good candidate to take control of the carrier, (though) he said the ultimate decision lay with the (Italian) government.” “(Air France-KLM) is a good buyer,” Gilberto Benetton is quoted by Dow Jones as saying to reporters at the Milan exchange. However, Benetton says the Italian government would have to have a say and that Air France-KLM would have to detail what it would do with Alitalia in a merger. “If the government doesn’t sit at the table with Air France-KLM … the danger is that Italy as a country becomes a region,” he’s quoted as saying be Dow Jones . “This must be avoided at all costs.” Dow Jones writes Benetton’s family, whose holdings include the eponymous retail chain, is “among a group of Italian financiers and industrialists that came to the rescue of Alitalia five years ago to stop the airline from being bought by Air France-KLM, which nevertheless owns a 25% stake.” However, Air France-KLM CEO Alexandre de Juniac indicates any move his company may make regarding Alitalia will be deliberate. “Our conditions for helping Alitalia are very strict. If the conditions are met, I am ready to go ahead,” Air France-KLM chief executive de Juniac is quoted by Reuters as saying to the French newspaper Les Echos. He did not specify what those conditions might be. But whether Air France-KLM considers a merger or simply tries to increase its stake in its SkyTeam partner, overcoming Italian concerns could be key. REUTERS: Air France-KLM may help Alitalia under conditions: report Reuters says such concerns will likely center on whether “any Air France-KLM investment would clash with Italy’s ambition to make Rome a hub for intercontinental flights, and instead turn Alitalia into a regional player and trigger job cuts.” “Air France-KLM-Alitalia, if one day we are united, could become a very great European brand,” de Juniac says in comments that could help assuage such fear.
This attention to words is important in another respect; it suggests that the fixation in both France and Quebec on religious symbols and the motives of those who wear them isnat primarily about religion. After all, exceptions have been made in both cases. Critics of the proposed Quebec charter have pointed to the crucifix hanging in the National Assembly as evidence that xenophobia or potential electoral gains a and not secularism a is the real driving force behind the initiative. Exceptions have also been made in France, where an entire region of the country (Alsace-Moselle) remains exempt from the 1905 law separating church and state. Talal Asad, a leading scholar of religion, has argued that the very act of establishing exceptions to secularism in France has itself been a means for the state to expand its authority over the public sphere. If we apply this logic to Quebec, the proposed charter may well be the result of an impulse to expand the powers of the provincial government at a moment when full independence for Quebec looks increasingly unlikely. The ability to make exceptions to the proposed charter a such as the crucifix hanging in the National Assembly a should be considered as an affirmation of the governmentas right to distinguish aculturala symbols from areligiousa ones. In defining all public employees as extensions of the state, the charter would also massively expand the definition of the state. Coming at a particularly bleak moment for the independence movement, the proposed charter thus serves to expand the jurisdiction of the provincial state and underscore the differences between Quebec and the rest of Canada. But this strategy risks harming rather than helping the sovereignist cause. The low birthrate in Quebec has made the province heavily dependent on immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East for the preservation of the French language. The proposed charter therefore risks alienating a crucial and growing demographic from the sovereigntist cause. The challenge for the PQ, then, is how to elaborate a sense of identity that is both firmly rooted in the provinceas longer history a symbolized by the crucifix in the National Assembly a and open to the pluralist society that Quebec has become.
Visitors to D-Day cemetery in France among the victims of U.S. shutdown
shutdown Americans traveling to France to pay their respects at the Normandy American Cemetary were turned away because of the federal government shutdown. By The Associated Press / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Wednesday, October 2, 2013, 12:00 PM Comment Finbarr O’Reilly / Reuters/REUTERS Crosses stand at the American Cemetery and Memorial at Colleville-sur-Mer in Normandy. Located on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach, one of the D-Day landing sites, the cemetery contains the remains of 9,387 American military dead. Tourists travelling to Omaha Beach to pay their respects to the 9,387 military dead at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial will find it closed, a victim of the U.S. governments partial shutdown. The site overlooking the D-Day invasion beaches is one of 24 U.S. military cemeteries overseas that have closed to visitors since Monday. Ten more cemeteries in in France, as well as others in various European countries as well as Mexico, Panama, Tunisia and the Philippines, will remain closed for the duration of the shutdown. The cemeteries are maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission, set up after the First World War. Nearly 125,000 U.S. servicemen and women are buried at its cemeteries, and an additional 94,000 are commemorated on tablets of the missing.