Charges Dropped Against France’s Nicolas Sarkozy In Campaign Scandal

Chef Daniel Boulud savors a dash of France

Chef Daniel Boulud has had a big impact on the New York City dining scene.

France and the cultural world paid tributes to Patrice Chereau, a film, theater and opera director who died at age 68 and was, according to President Francois Hollande , one of Frances greatest artists. Chereau died on Oct. 7 after a long battle with cancer. He will be remembered for his staging of Richard Wagner s Ring cycle at the 1976 Bayreuth Festival with Pierre Boulez conducting. Considered one of the most important opera productions ever, it moved the action to the 19th century and added a hydroelectric dam, class struggle and hookerish Rhine maidens. His movies include the historical drama La Reine Margot (1994) and Intimacy (2001), a winner of the main prize at the Berlin Film Festival. We grieve the passing of an outstanding artist whose overwhelming body of work is characterized by sensitivity and versatility, Dieter Kosslick, the director of the Berlin Film Festival, said in a statement on the festival website. In 2007, Chereau again collaborated with Boulez to stage the Leos Janacek opera From the House of the Dead in Vienna, a production that later moved to the Metropolitan Opera and marked the first time he worked in the U.S. His last production was Richard Strauss s Elektra at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, which he experienced as a gift, he was so happy, despite his illness, said Bernard Foccroulle, the festival director. The premiere audience gave it a standing ovation. Boulez said Chereau was the only stage director I really wanted to work with and recalled in the newspaper Le Monde the extreme precision with which he characterized the most minor figure. Isabelle Huppert, who starred in his film Gabrielle, was quoted in Le Figaro saying she owed him her first big emotions as a spectator and praised his intelligence, conviction and enthusiasm. Muse highlights include Mark Beech on arts, Richard Vines on food, Zinta Lundborgs interviews and Amanda Gordon s Scene Last Night. To contact the writer on the story: Catherine Hickley in Berlin at To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at .

(Thomas Samson / AFP/Getty Images / October 7, 2013) Also By Kim Willsher October 7, 2013, 11:48 a.m. PARIS — French investigators have dropped criminal charges against former President Nicolas Sarkozy for allegedly soliciting illegal campaign funds from the country’s richest woman. The inquiry found insufficient evidence that Sarkozy had sought and accepted campaign money in 2007 from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt , 90, while she was in a frail mental state. Sarkozy won the 2007 presidential election . The unexpected decision on Monday, just two weeks after a court ruled the investigation could proceed, clears the way for Sarkozy, who had vehemently denied the accusations, to run for reelection in 2017. However, the charges — termed an abuse of weakness –were maintained against Eric Woerth, a former government minister who was Sarkozy’s treasurer in the 2007 campaign; Bettencourt’s former companion, the society photographer Francois-Marie Banier; her lawyer, Pascal Wilhelm; her financial advisor, Patrice de Maistre and six others. Their trial is expected to be held next year. The public prosecutor in Bordeaux, where the investigation is being conducted, had said the case against Sarkozy stood no chance of success, and threatened to appeal any decision to send the former president to trial, delaying the investigation against the other accused. The former president is still dogged by a number of other legal cases, including a scandal over millions of euros in public money paid in compensation to a controversial businessman and friend, Bernard Tapie. Sarkozy is also facing questions about the “Karachi Affair,” a complicated corruption case linked to arms sales and a bombing in Pakistan in 2002 that killed 11 French nationals. Before the May 2012 election campaign, Sarkozy had said that if he lost his bid for reelection, France would never hear of me again. He has maintained a reasonably low profile since his defeat by Socialist Francois Hollande , but he and his entourage have begun hinting of his return to the front line of French politics to save the country. Several members of the right-of-center opposition Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party, are said to be interested in running in 2017, but Sarkozy has emerged as the popular candidate to challenge Hollande.

I love Paul. I admire not only what he has done, but what his family has done in Milwaukee. I always tell myself I will go to see his family and his operation. This is it. The time has come. Q.You’re bringing four chefs with you. What’s on the menu? A. I’m cooking for 400 people. That can complicate things a bit. It’s not like cooking for 20. I wanted to start with something a little more exotic and less French, something I can prepare comfortably and serve. I am doing a lobster salad and slow-baked sea bass. Q.Is there any dish that has remained a staple on your menu from the beginning?

France calls on Alcatel-Lucent to review plan for mass job cuts

“Everyone knows this plan is the last chance. The company is in a very serious situation,” Chief Executive Michel Combes, the latest of three CEOs since the merger, told Le Monde newspaper. The group plans to focus on high-growth areas ranging from 4G mobile to high-speed broadband, and to lower fixed costs by more than 15 percent, saving a total of 1 billion euros (845.7 million pounds). Including past measures, the total cost of the “shift plan” is 1.2 billion euros, an amount the company expects to fund through asset sales. Alcatel’s share price rose 2 percent after the news but closed down 4 percent at 2.71 euros as the government’s opposition to its plans intensified. The stock has almost tripled in value this year on buyers’ hopes that Combes, a former chief executive of Vodafone Europe, can rescue the business. “The group is eating up a lot of cash and is unable to enhance its profitability, so some kind of change was needed to make sure it has a long-term future,” said one Paris-based financial analyst who declined to be named. The group, which employs 72,000 staff worldwide and competes with larger rivals Ericsson of Sweden, China’s Huawei and Finland’s Nokia, has posted five straight quarters of net losses. Altogether, 4,100 posts will go in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, 3,800 in Asia Pacific, and 2,100 in the Americas. France’s CFDT union said it would fight a plan that entailed cuts to about 15,000 posts, although 5,000 new jobs will be created, giving the overall loss of 10,000. Nine hundred jobs would go in France, with the closure or disposal of five sites.