The colorful bags weren’t registered to any of the passengers on the plane. When French officials opened them up, they discovered why — 1.3 tons of pure cocaine were stuffed inside the anonymous bags. The street value of the stash? About 200 million euros, or $270 million. Coast Guard makes $20 million cocaine bust Huge drug bust off the coast of Florida Drug busts at sea: 4 tons of cocaine The catch was made on September 11, but French authorities didn’t publicize the find until Saturday. On Sunday, Venezuela’s Public Ministry said that authorities had detained three members of the National Guard in connection with the incident. It wasn’t immediately clear exactly what they are accused of doing. The suitcases came from Caracas aboard an Air France flight to Paris, but did not match any of the passengers on board, CNN affiliate BFMTV reported. “Several” people have been taken in custody, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls told reporters Saturday. Authorities worked with Spanish, British and Dutch police on the investigation, BFMTV said. This case “illustrates the importance of strengthening International cooperation in the fight against traffickers,” Valls said. Venezuelan authorities are also investigating. The Public Ministry said prosecutors will investigate, along with the Counterdrug Command of the National Guard in Simon Bolivar International Airport, to see if any criminal activity took place.
A high profit share and historically low compensation share in the US. Not only did business profitability recover sharply after 2008, it also reached a historically high level in 2011. This excess saving (cash, notably) could be explained by a wait-and-see attitude before demand picks up and investment recovers. Another explanation is that corporations have shunned bank/loan financing in favor of bond issuance – a pattern that would require a higher cash (insurance) buffer. Yet, the combination of wider wage inequalities, household deleveraging, ongoing downward pressure on compensation and excessive saving by corporations explains why the recovery has been so slow in the US. ii. The situation is completely different in France. Profits make up 28% of gross value-added against an average level of 30.5% in the late 2000’s. The self-financing ratio (operating profits as a share of total investment) has collapsed to a historical low of 60%, below that of Italy (80%) and far behind Germany (105%) and the US (107%, after a peak at 135% in late 2009). This huge dependence on bank lending coupled with poor domestic (and European) growth prospects and a gripped credit channel (in spite of the ECB’s efforts) has led to a collapse in productive investment (13% below its 2008 level): productive capacity in the manufacturing sector stand at the same level as in 1998 (while they rose by 30% in Germany). (click to enlarge) 3.
France expects U.N. Security Council to agree Syria resolution
powers – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China – have been meeting to negotiate a resolution to back the U.S.-Russian deal reached in Geneva this month to remove Syria’s chemical weapons by June 2014. Some U.N. diplomats have expressed concern about whether agreement on a resolution is possible in the face of sharp ongoing differences on the Security Council. France has been out front in calling for Assad’s government to face punitive measures if it fails to live up to the terms of the agreement, with an initial French draft Security Council resolution calling for issuing an ultimatum to Damascus to comply. But with Western powers giving up on what U.N. diplomats call a “trigger” clause for automatic punitive measures in the event of Syrian non-compliance, prospects for an agreement between Russia and the West on a draft resolution may be improving. U.N. diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity that all discussions on the draft resolution were on hold until a bilateral meeting on Tuesday between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at which Syria will be among the topics of discussion. Speaking to reporters in New York, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius appeared to confirm France’s willingness to accept Russia’s demand that the draft resolution not be enforceable under Chapter 7. According to the Geneva agreement, the Security Council would have to adopt a second resolution in order to punish Syria for any non-compliance with the U.S.-Russian plan to eradicate Syria’s chemical arsenal.