And then there’s health care. The French spend half per capita what the U.S. spends on health care — and yet the French enjoy greater longevity, have markedly lower rates of obesity, and show far better infant-mortality results. Visit a French doctor’s office and you will not see a wall of files and staff whose sole job is to handle insurance claims. Most French medical records are electronic. Patients are charged a modest co-payment (most of which is later reimbursed), and physicians are paid in a matter of days. The public-policy implications are obvious: How can France spend about half as much as we do on health care and get substantially better outcomes? When most Americans think of France, they think of culture, style, food, wine, “joie de vivre,” and historical nostalgia going back to the American Revolution, when France was among the first three nations to recognize U.S. independence. There is a reason why France remains the most visited country on earth. The French are keenly aware of these “quality of life” attributes, and that fact explains, in part, why reform will entail a struggle. But I credit the French for their growing recognition that change must occur, and this change will occur against the backdrop of trying to preserve aspects of what they already have — rather than having to create these institutions from scratch. What tourists to France do not always see are the technology centers like Sophia Antipolis between Nice and Cannes on the Riviera; the world-class doctors, engineers, IT experts, and math professionals graduating from outstanding universities; the high productivity levels associated with the French workforce, notwithstanding vacation periods that Americans envy; and world-class companies such as Accor, AXA, Danone, EADS, Essilor, l’Oreal, LVMH, Michelin, Publicis Omnicom, Schneider Electric, and Sodexo.

Obama defends deal with Russia on Syria, says it could end war

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

(Francois Mori / AFP/Getty Images / September 15, 2013) Also By Kim Willsher September 15, 2013, 5:16 p.m. PARIS — French President Francois Hollande said Sunday that the prospect of French as well as American intervention led Syria to accept a deal to relinquish its chemical weapons, but he said the international community must continue to maintain the threat of force to ensure that the agreement is carried out. “The military threat has to be maintained to bring [Syrian President Bashar] Assad to the table,” Hollande said in an interview with France’s TF1 television station. “And sanctions have to be envisaged if he does not comply” with any U.N. resolution on the chemical weapons. Hollande has been President Obama ‘s most prominent European supporter on the issue of armed intervention in Syria. Before Russia proposed that Syria agree to give up its chemical weapons, the French president had called for a coalition of European states to join in military action against Syria but said France would go it alone if necessary. “We threatened force,” Hollande said in the interview Sunday, “not just us but the United States and the United Kingdom. If we hadn’t, Assad would have continued to threaten his own population.” British Prime Minister David Cameron backed off from a threat of force after Parliament voted to oppose military intervention. Hollande called the Syrian civil war “the most serious tragedy since the start of the 21st century” and said France could be proud of its efforts to bring about a solution to the chemical weapons issue. “Until now, it was the United States and France who envisaged [air] strikes to change something, and to persuade the Russians,” he said. “The pressure we exercised has played a part.