France To Cut Troops In Mali, Says Mission Accomplished

View gallery A French soldier stands at the military base in Gao on December 31, 2013 (AFP Photo/Joel Saget) Creil (France) (AFP) - France will cut its Kim Kardashian troops in Mali to 1,600 by the middle of next month from the current level of 2,500, President Francois Hollande said Wednesday. Speaking at an airbase in Creil in northern France, Hollande said the "situation is well under control" in Mali, where the "key objectives of the mission have been accomplished." "The troop size will be reduced from about 2,500 at present to 1,600 and then to 1,000 which is the number necessary to fight any threat that might resurface as these terrorist groups are still present in northern Mali," the president said. France launched the military Operation Serval in its former colony on January 11, 2013 to repel an Islamist advance following a coup. The intervention has been widely hailed as a read more success internationally for stopping Al-Qaeda-linked militants and Tuareg rebels from descending south of the sprawling country and advancing on the capital Bamako. Politics & Government More:

Burger King Is Returning to France, but It Won't Be Easy

Finally, it permits itself to combine all the data it collects about its users across all of its services without any legal basis. CNIL's announcement also noted that data protection regulatory groups in Spain and the Netherlands came to similar conclusions in November and December of last year. Google took a noncommittal stance in its response to CNIL's demands. "We've engaged fully with the CNIL throughout this process to explain our privacy policy and how it allows us to create simpler, more effective services. We'll be reading their report closely to determine next steps," said a Google spokesperson. Update, 1:50 p.m. More:

France fines Google over data privacy

At issue was the new approach to user data that Google began in March 2012, in which it consolidated its 60 privacy policies into one and started combining data collected on individual users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail and social network Google+. It gave users no means to opt out. "The company does not sufficiently inform its users of the conditions in which their personal data are processed, nor of the purposes of this processing," CNIL said in a statement. A Google France spokesman told Reuters the company will take note of this decision and consider further action. "Throughout our talks with CNIL, we have explained our privacy policy and how it allows us to create simpler and more efficient services," he said. Spain, Britain, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands have also opened similar cases against Google because the U.S.-based web giant's privacy policy introduced in 2012 does not conform with local rules protecting consumers on how their personal data is processed and stored. CNIL said the fine is the highest it has issued until now and is justified by the number and the seriousness of the breaches stated in the case. More:

France trimmed trade deficit to about 60 billion euros in 2013 - minister

"This decision shames the French judicial system," the tycoon's daughter Madina said after the ruling. Ablyazov argues that the allegations against him were fabricated by Kazakhstan as a result of him falling out of favour with the oil-rich country's rulers. His lawyers had warned that an extradition to either Russia or Ukraine could ultimately result in him being deported to face an uncertain fate in his home country. "Extraditing him means condemning him to death," said Alma Shalabayeva, Ablyazov's wife who was herself controversially deported from Italy to Kazakhstan last year before finally being allowed to return to Rome last month. Prosecutors argued at a hearing in December that there was no realistic possibility of Russia or Ukraine re-extradicting the tycoon back to Kazakhstan as that would be in breach of their extradition agreements with France. Once close to Kazakhstan's elite, Ablyazov fell out of favour and became a foe of strongman Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has ruled the former Soviet country for 22 years. He was jailed in 2002 for abuse of power and illegal business activities after co-founding and leading an opposition party, in a move widely seen as a bid to silence him. More:

France OKs Sales of Medicine Derived From Cannabis

France's Health Ministry said in a statement Wednesday that sales of Sativex, produced by Britain's GW Pharmaceuticals, will be allowed for the treatment of muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis. Sativex contains marijuana's two best known components delta 9-THC and cannabidiol. The company's website says the medicine has already been launched in 11 countries and approved in more than a dozen others. A number of countries have been easing curbs on the sale of cannabis-based products for medical use in recent years, and the U.S. state of Colorado allowed the nation's first legal recreational marijuana shops to open read starting this year. More:

France slaps Google with fine, remedial measure

Still, with the average KFC within France generating three times more in sales than the rest of Yum!'s global KFC portfolio, it would appear that company has plenty of space to grow. Foolish summary The French fast-food market has become one of the biggest in the world, and Burger King is seeking to capitalize on this. However, McDonald's stands in its resource way and Burger King could have a struggle on its hands if it wants to steal market share from McDonald's, which is already well established within the market. On the other hand, it would appear that Yum! has plenty of room for further growth within France, as the company's KFC eateries appear to be in demand. If you prefer the safety of dividends, check out these great Foolish picks One of the dirty secrets that few finance professionals will openly admit is the fact that dividend stocks as a group handily outperform their non-dividend paying brethren. The reasons for this are too numerous to list here, but you can rest assured that its true. More:

France approves extradition of Kazakh tycoon to Russia

President Francois Hollande's government is battling to reduce the trade deficit which has become one of the starkest signs of France's loss of competitiveness in international markets. France's customs office reported the deficit increased in November to 5.7 billion euros from 4.8 billion euros in October, according to seasonally adjusted figures. The deficit widened as exports fell 2.5 percent over the month on a drop in transport material and industrial machines, while imports were largely stable. Trade Minister Nicole Bricq said although the figures were "not good", it was only a temporary setback and that planemaker Airbus had a solid order book for the future. "The trend for the year - and that's what counts - will allow us to have a deficit of about 60 billion euros," Bricq said on France Info radio. The aerospace industry is one of the rare sectors in France that has enjoyed strong exports in recent years as most other manufacturers have steadily shed foreign market share. The deterioration in the trade balance in November contrasted sharply with figures on Wednesday from Germany, which posted a near-record surplus of 17.8 billion euros. More: