Credit: Reuters/Thierry Gouegnon PARIS | Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:18pm EDT PARIS (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande suggested for the first time on Thursday that Paris could arm Syrian rebels in a “controlled framework,” given that they were now caught between the Syrian government on one side and radical Islamists on the other. Noting that Russia was supplying arms to the Syrian government, Hollande, speaking in Mali, said France could provide arms to rebels, “but we will do it in a broader context with a number of countries and in a framework that can be controlled because we cannot accept that weapons could fall into the hands of jihadists that we have fought against here.” Hollande spoke at a news conference in Bamako where he was attending a ceremony to mark the swearing-in of the country’s new president. France, one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s fiercest critics, has until now held back from arming the rebels despite the lifting of a European Union arms embargo in June, fearing that weapons could get into the Islamist hands. Paris has so far provided non-lethal aid ranging from bullet-proof vests, night-vision goggles or communications equipment. Its main focus has been helping to structure the Free Syrian Army’s leadership, providing training to rebels in Jordan as well as sharing intelligence. “On delivering weapons we have always said that we want to control these supplies if we do them so that they do indeed go to the Free Syrian Army … because they represent the Syrian National Coalition that we recognize as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people and today they are caught between a hammer and an anvil,” Hollande said. “The hammer is the air strikes and actions of the Syrian regime and the anvil is radical Islam,” he said. Hollande has been U.S. President Barack Obama’s closest ally on Syria since an August 21 chemical attack on the outskirts of Damascus that Paris and Washington say Assad’s government is responsible for. France, which had been set to join U.S. strikes originally aimed at punishing Assad, fears the Syrian president may play for time by accepting a U.S.-Russian plan to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control. Hollande has over the past week held meetings in Paris with senior Saudi Arabian and Qatari officials, two countries that already supply weapons to the rebels, and has vowed to increase military support to help change the balance of power on the ground.

French judges have charged Rwamucyo for planning to “commit the crime of genocide” in 1994, a judicial source said, after Kigali issued an international warrant against him.AFP/File PARIS (AFP) French judges have charged a Rwandan doctor for planning to “commit the crime of genocide” in 1994, a judicial source said, after Kigali issued an international warrant against him. Eugene Rwamucyo is wanted by Kigali for having allegedly planned and carried out atrocities in the Butare region of southern Rwanda, but in 2010, a French court rejected a request to extradite him. After probing the accusations, judges in Paris whose job it is to investigate crimes against humanity decided to charge Rwamucyo with “involvement in an agreement with a view of committing the crime of genocide”, said the source, who wished to remain anonymous. But they placed him under the status of “supervised witness” on the more serious charges of committing genocide and of complicity, the source added. The status of “supervised witness” means that Rwamucyo can be interviewed under caution and could face further questions — and possibly charges — at a later stage. “The fact that my client was placed under the status of supervised witness, and not under formal investigation, for ‘genocide’ shows the judges have doubts on this case and on the complaint that was made against him,” his lawyer Philippe Meilhac said. The doctor is the subject of a complaint filed by the families of genocide victims for crimes against humanity. Rwamucyo, who is in his 50s, lives in Belgium and used to work as a doctor in a hospital in the northern French city of Maubeuge. He was suspended in 2009 when his employer found out the Rwandan government had issued an international warrant against him, and subsequently fired. Rwamucyo denies the allegations of genocide and has accused the Tutsi-led government in Kigali of waging a campaign against him. There are currently about 20 genocide-related cases pending in French courts. France has repeatedly refused to extradite genocide suspects to Rwanda, fearing they would be denied a fair trial, but has sent some to Tanzania to face trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

France charges Rwandan doctor over genocide

We want to show it’s our turn. We don’t want to lose to them again.” And again, and again. A month ago, in a pre-tourney exhibition game in Montpellier, France, the hosts, led by 28 points from Parker, were six points ahead with a little over two minutes remaining. Sergio Rodriguez , with support from Marc Gasol , came with a charge straight out of Pamplona and Spain snatched an 85-84 victory. Same at the Olympics last summer, when a 15-6 run in the fourth quarter saw the Spaniards rally for a 66-59 win in the quarterfinals. Two years ago, in the final of EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania, the French did not suffer a late heartbreaking collapse. The life was squeezed out of the contest with plenty of time left, 27 points from Juan Carlos Navarro cancelling out Parker’s individual pursuit in a 98-85 triumph. “The mentality that they have to be ready for the big games reminds me of the Spurs, that mentality for big games,” the San Antonio guard told ESPN.com. “We know how to win. There’s that attention to details and what’s important to win games. They just know how to win. “The way they play reminds me of the Spurs. The way everybody touches the ball. The way everybody is aggressive and plays great defense. That’s what I try to teach to the young guys on my team, to explain to them that every detail is important if you want to beat a good team like Spain.” The defending champs have not been infallible in Slovenia over these past 16 days.

Bullish on France

As Herbert Stein, President Nixon’s chief economist, once quipped, if something is unsustainable, it will stop. All the things we like about France and point to as successes — fast trains that run on time, perhaps the world’s best early-education system, open access to post-secondary education that doesn’t create massive student indebtedness, high quality and affordable health care, efficient nuclear energy, a growing commitment to sustainable urban development — have been paid for by growing levels of public debt. The issue for France is not about scrapping these achievements but, rather, restructuring them to make them more affordable and viable in the long run. Doing so will require significant changes to the tax code, the funding of public and private pensions, the retirement system, and the national mindset. Take two important areas of French success which offer lessons for Americans: education and health care. When compared with the United States, France continues to make considerable public, human capital investments in its young people. The system of “creches” and “ecoles maternelles” is universal, relatively inexpensive, and provides high-quality child care and early education starting at three months after birth. President Obama earlier this year called for quality universal Pre-K education, but our approach is nowhere close — in substance, scale, or quality — to the investments long made by France. At the high-school level, the baccalaureate exam is required for all graduating French students who want to pursue post-secondary education. While not perfect, the French “bac” at least represents a standard of what young French students are expected to know and be able to do after their secondary education. We are gradually headed in this direction through the effort to develop a system of Common Core Standards, but far too often we award high school diplomas to students who can’t do second-grade math. If a French student passes the “bac,” post-secondary education is virtually free. The Sorbonne in Paris, for example, is an open-access university with a relatively modest cost. True, some of the elite schools like Sciences-Po have recently raised tuition — but nowhere near the levels of comparable U.S. institutions.