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France Info radio says the three employees, two black men and and a woman of Asian origin say that Guerlain made racist remarks on 24 February at the Gare du Nord in Paris.
The court ordered the US-based company and its French subsidiary to pay a fine of 15,000 euros and 500,000 euros in compensation to Bottin Cartographiques, the French company that brought the case. Bottin Cartographiques argued that Google Maps was guilty of unfair competition by offering their service free, while its competitors had to invest to develop their product - maps and itineraries on sale to companies. Google says it will appeal, arguing that its free map services is of value to web surfers and site owners and that it does face competition in France and the rest of the world.
Ouattara can expect a warm reception from French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysée Palace but the high point of the visit will be on Thursday when he will sign a new “defence and security agreement”. It will see France’s military force in Côte d’Ivoire, known as Licorne (Unicorn), reduced to 300 troops, whose official mission will be to train their Ivorian counterparts.
French Prime Minister François Fillon on Saturday declared that the downgrade was expected and said it should not be “overdramatised”, following up on Finance Minister François Baroin's assertion that the decision was "not a catastrophe". Fillon hit back at Socialist François Hollande , saying that he was “particularly wrong” to say that it was the government’s economic policy that had failed. Earlier Hollande, his party’s candidate in the forthcoming presidential election, took a swipe at President Nicolas Sarkozy’s earlier attempts to pose as the chief defender of Europe’s economy , commenting, “It’s a policy that has been downgraded, not France.”
Speaking after talks in Paris on Monday just days ahead of a EU meeting in Brussels, the two leaders also agreed on automatic sanctions for countries with a budget deficit over three per cent and a monthly meeting of the 17 eurozone heads.
Les Indignés (The Indignants), France’s version of the worldwide Occupy movement , rebuilt their camp at La Défense, the swish business district on the outskirts of Paris, on Wednesday morning.
“Madame la présidente …,” Northern League MP Massimo Polledri began his intervention in Saturday’s debate on an austerity package being passed under pressure from the European Union and international finance bodies. After session chair Rosy Bindi asked him to speak Italian, Polledri continued in his native tongue, going on to denounce a “Franco-German directoire ” which, he said, is trying to “take power” in Italy.
He said the country’s financial, economic and social sovereignty meant “prolonged collective efforts and even some sacrifices” were necessary. France needs to save 100 billion euros a year to eliminate the budget deficit by the 2016 deadline, including 500 million euros in extra state budget savings next year.
Sarkozy said 11 tax haven countries had been identified and pointed out Switzerland and Liechtenstein as not doing enough to end banking secrecy. "We don't want any more tax havens. Our message is clear," he said.
Clouds of teargas hung over the centre of the Greek capital after groups of youths had thrown Molotov cocktails at the police and attacked a steel barricade in front of the parliament building and other targets.
Over 950 rallies in at least 80 countries took place on Saturday, the largest being in Lisbon, Madrid and Rome with thousands also turning out in New York and Washington.
The rallies, publicised on the 15october.net website, come exactly five months after the launch of Spain’s Indignados (Indignant) movement , which was inspired by revolts in the Arab world and French author Stéphane Hessel’s pamphlet Indignez-vous!
Some of those arrested at the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday were released after a few hours, while others could be held for a day or could receive a court summons, police said.
A study of Paris and its suburbs compiled by notaries, who are responsible for property conveyancing in France, shows the biggest increase in prices for 20 years.
European markets picked up on Thursday morning after Wednesday’s fall , which was largely prompted by rumours that France was set to follow the US in losing its AAA credit rating. France’s Cac 40 bounced back after plunging 5.45 per cent Wednesday.