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.
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.
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.
France investing to produce 1000MW for Pakistan: ambassador
It projects an image of protectionism in France, and thats not how were going to fix our problems, said Thibaut De Smedt , a partner at Bryan, Garnier & Co., which handles French corporate-finance transactions. In the M&A world, the image of France viewed from outside is deplorable, and this law is adding extra complexity. Foreign companies have spent $14.8 billion on French targets this year, putting 2013 on track to be the weakest for such deals in at least a decade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The new rules may further dissuade potential buyers. France hasnt seen a major hostile takeover since Mittal Steel Co. bought Arcelor SA in 2006 in a transaction then valued at about $36 billion. The attempt to keep potential predators at bay comes even as French companies remain among the worlds most acquisitive. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC) and Schneider Electric SA are among companies making $135 billion of takeovers since the start of last year, exceeding most nations in western Europe aside from the U.K., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. An Anachronism The measures were clearly thought up by people living in the last century, said Jean-Pierre Martel, a founding partner at Orrick Rambaud Martel, who advised on French drugmaker Sanofis takeover of Aventis in 2004. Its implicitly aimed at foreigners and meant to defend French interests. Its ridiculous. The biggest French companies have significant foreign investors and are very international. Seen from abroad, this will scare everyone. The debate over protecting French interests has been a political hot potato since Canadian aluminum maker Alcan Inc. bought French rival Pechiney SA a decade ago, eventually breaking it up and shutting plants. More recently, ArcelorMittal, the worlds largest steelmaker, decided to shutter a plant in France in the north-eastern city of Florange.