Jeff Steiner's Americans in France.
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NewsletterDecember 2010

Seasons Greetings/Joyeuse Fêtes from Americans in France!

What does the red line signify?

View of the Arve Valley in France

This is a photo of the Arve Valley and the red line indicates the height of the glacier that carved out the valley. The mountain on the left is the Môle and on the right the Cou. This photo was taken from the Counts of Geneva Tower in La Roche sur Foron.
Here is the same photo without the red line.

View of the Arve Valley in France

Let’s Fight like it’s 1995

More or less this is what’s occurring between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin. What some are calling Act II of the Clearstream Affair actually dates back to the middle 1990’s when the French right was split into two factions. On one side there was Jacques Chirac and on the other Édouard Balladur. The split came to a head during the 1995 Presidential Election when Chirac and Balladur both ran, with Chirac winning. De Villepin was Chirac's campaign director and Sarkozy was involved in the Balladur campaign.
The latest barrage centers on the Karachi Affair, the 2002 bombing that killed 14 people, including 11 French naval engineers working for the French company, DCN. The bombing took place in Karachi, Pakistan. At first al Qaeda was blamed. But now there are news reports that in fact, the bombing was linked to the non payment of commissions for the sale of submarines to Pakistan in 1994. The French naval engineers were working on submarines that were part of the deal.
What’s now supposed is that some of the commissions where kickbacks, to Pakistani military officers along with some French politicians: Balladur. The suspicion is that Balladur used some of the kickbacks to fund his 1995 Presidential campaign, a campaign that Sarkozy was very much a part of. Chirac when he became President is reported to have ordered the commissions to be stopped. Balladur was Prime Minister from 1993-1995 during which the agreement to sell the submarines to Pakistan was made.
The Karachi Affair was pretty much on the back burner of French news until a month or so ago. Once back in the news de Villepin gave a primetime interview on French television. He stated there was a suspicion of kickbacks. This was an indirect attack on Sarkozy. News reports almost always bring up the link between Sarkozy and Balladur and the possible kickbacks. Anything de Villepin can do to keep the Karachi Affair in the news hurts Sarkozy.

Only in France?

If you are in France between December 17th and 19th why not have a foie gras hamburger? That’s what fast-food chain Quick (a rival to McDonalds) is offering to its customers during the middle of December. It will cost you 5 euros for a single foie gras burger or 7.50 euros for the burger with French fries and a drink.
Foie gras is duck or goose liver. The delicacy is controversial because the animals are force fed (called gavage in French) corn. This enlarges the liver. Chicago banned the production and selling of foie gras for a time. Foie gras is a specialty in France often eaten at Christmas.

The American Clubs Newsletter

I just discovered The American Clubs Newsletter. It’s all about events taking place in France that Americans would be interested in. Not only will you find events taking place in Paris but also many lists for regional events taking place.


Americans in France now works in partnership with Smart Currency Exchange. With Smart you can do currency trades over the phone or email and lock in an exchange rate up to a year in advance. Even if you want to send money overseas in the future you can lock in a rate now. So why not take advantage of the weak euro now? To set up an account you will need to supply proof of identification, all currency exchange companies will request this. But once you send your paperwork your account will be ready to go.

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