France calls for EU to regulate Web giants to counter dominance

Online Giants 3:40 AM PDT 9/20/2013 by George Szalai 0 Comments Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.com would be affected by suggested tax changes and new rules that would make it easier for European firms to challenge U.S. giants. France is pushing for new Europe-wide regulation and changes to tax rules that would affect U.S. Internet and tech giants, such as Google, Facebook, Amazon.com and Apple. our editor recommends STORY:Apple iPhones Go on Sale in China, Post Haste France wants to create new rules for “a tax regime for digital companies that ensures that the profits they make on the European market are subject to taxation.” The revenue would be shared by the EU member states, according to the report. Germany and the U.K. have also suggested changing current tax rules that allow U.S. Internet firms to avoid paying much of the corporate taxes in Europe. France is also suggesting new regulation that would support the emergence of European Web players, according to the Journal. It said the rule proposals include making online user profiles portable to make it easier for European competitors to challenge U.S. giants. “We don’t want to regulate the net,” French technology minister Fleur Pellerin told the Journal. “We want to regulate a small number of Internet platforms that today are blocking innovation from all of the other actors. The current situation makes it difficult for European champions to emerge at a global scale.”

France looks to upend nemesis Spain

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. An estimated 800,000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis, were massacred over the course of about 100 days from April to July 1994.

France charges Rwandan doctor over genocide

Instead, it has been the Spanish who have been the heavyweights, claiming world and European titles and pushing the USA to the limit in the quest for Olympic gold. The French, far too often for their liking, have been left only to cast an envious glance. Having lost eight straight games to Los Rojos since 2010, it has gotten old. “It is time to break the spell, it really is time,” France’s center Alexis Ajinca said. “This is the team to beat, every year. Everybody wants to beat them every year. 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.

Hollande, who vowed during his election campaign to reduce reliance on nuclear to half of total output by about 2025 while also keeping down consumers bills, hasnt yet said how he will reconcile those aims. The country gets about three-quarters of the power it produces from nuclear, more than any other nation. The shift will be funded with a levy on energy products applied progressively based on their carbon emissions , Hollande told the conference in Paris, without specifying the details. The president said that Europe should also impose a carbon tax. Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said last month that he understands some people are fed up with taxes and promised the government is shifting to spending cuts in its 2014 budget. Full details of the budget plans will be published Sept. 25. While seeking to curb energy bills and taxes on consumers, the administration has two Green party ministers and needs its help to get laws comfortably through parliament. Hollande sought to lure voters concerned about the environment to the Socialists during his election with his pledge to curb atomic generation. Transfer Power Without closing more reactors, we dont see how the proportion of nuclear will be carried out, Reseau Sortir du Nucleaire, an anti-atomic power group, said in a statement. Hollande didnt say whether more nuclear plants will close, beyond the planned shuttering of Fessenheim in eastern France , and also failed to address Greens calls to raise diesel tax in line with gasoline on grounds that its more harmful to health. The proposed law will allow the government, along with operator Electricite de France SA and the safety regulator, to decide how long nuclear plants should run, Hollande said. France will also seek to cut energy use in half by 2050 and fossil fuel use 30 percent by 2030, he said. It will implement incentives to spur energy-saving measures in homes and use of electric cars by adding recharging stations.

In an interview published by Liberation newspaper on Thursday, France’s minister for the digital economy, Fleur Pellerin, said Europe needed new regulatory powers to intervene much earlier, to level the playing field in the internet economy and allow the emergence of alternatives in Europe to U.S. Web giants. She said Europe needed to be able to act quickly, as soon as problems are identified, rather than getting tied up in lengthy and costly disputes that did nothing to help consumers. “The current tools of competition law are totally unsuited to the fast-changing world of the Internet,” Pellerin said in the interview conducted in French. “To get out of this impasse, Europe needs a regulatory authority to act on an ex-ante basis, as soon as conflicts and abuse emerge on the part of internet platforms.” The idea is part of a broader proposal laid out by France ahead of an October 24 European summit on the digital economy, the Internet and innovation. Other elements include revamping tax rules to ensure Web companies pay tax on the profits they make in the European Union, an EU source said, as well as stricter rules on the protection of personal data online. The Wall Street Journal, citing French briefing documents ahead of the summit, said France would ask the European Commission to draw up proposals by spring 2014 aimed at “establishing a tax regime for digital companies that ensures that the profits they make on the European market are subject to taxation and that the revenues are shared between the Member States, linking the tax base to the place where the profits are made.” The tax proposals and idea of a new regulatory body are likely to prove controversial with some member states that favor a hands-off approach to the Web, as well as the United States, home to the largest internet companies and already at the center of a debate over surveillance after revelations about the National Security Agency by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. An adviser to Pellerin said that France would ask the European Commission to study how “ex-ante” – or anticipatory regulation – of internet services could function and what sort of agency would be needed. Then the work of passing a regulation or a directive could be carried out by the next EU Commission, which will be in place by early 2015 after parliamentary elections. (Additional reporting by Charlie Dunmore in Brussels; Editing by Eric Walsh)