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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. Last month, an opinion poll by the French Institute of Public Opinion found that 62% of UMP voters questioned wanted him to run in 2017, well ahead of any rivals in the party. During a visit to the Haute-Savoie region four weeks ago, Sarkozy dined with local UMP lawmakers.

Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY 2:02 p.m. EDT October 3, 2013 Air France planes and an Alitalia aircraft are shown at Paris’ Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport. (Photo: Jack Guez, AFP/Getty Images) Tags Italy SHARE 24 CONNECT 58 TWEET 1 COMMENTEMAILMORE Could a merger between Air France-KLM and Alitalia be on the horizon? It sounds as though it’s at least a possibility, according to several reports out Tuesday (Oct. 1) . That comes as Alitalia which has history that is perhaps best known for a seemingly endless cycle of financial emergencies enters a new round of turbulence that has it looking for ways to raise cash. Alitalia’s deteriorating balance sheets have prompted speculation that partner Air France-KLM which already has a 25% stake in the carrier could come to the rescue. RELATED: A familiar place: Alitalia back to the financial brink As for the reports raising the possibility of a merger, one is one from Reuters . The news agency writes “Air France-KLM said on Tuesday it was open to merging with Alitalia in a move seen as the best solution for turning around the loss-making Italian airline.” Dow Jones Newswires ran a similar report , noting one key Alitalia shareholder views Air France-KLM “as a good candidate to take control of the carrier, (though) he said the ultimate decision lay with the (Italian) government.” “(Air France-KLM) is a good buyer,” Gilberto Benetton is quoted by Dow Jones as saying to reporters at the Milan exchange. However, Benetton says the Italian government would have to have a say and that Air France-KLM would have to detail what it would do with Alitalia in a merger. “If the government doesn’t sit at the table with Air France-KLM … the danger is that Italy as a country becomes a region,” he’s quoted as saying be Dow Jones . “This must be avoided at all costs.” Dow Jones writes Benetton’s family, whose holdings include the eponymous retail chain, is “among a group of Italian financiers and industrialists that came to the rescue of Alitalia five years ago to stop the airline from being bought by Air France-KLM, which nevertheless owns a 25% stake.” However, Air France-KLM CEO Alexandre de Juniac indicates any move his company may make regarding Alitalia will be deliberate. “Our conditions for helping Alitalia are very strict.

Cabaye feared for his France future during summer

“Yes, of course, things change so quickly. Even when you’re in (the squad) there are no guarantees you’ll stay,” he said. “It’s better to be called up as often as possible rather than staying at home for whatever reasons. I’m full of determination and confidence and hope to be in the team on Friday and Tuesday.” He has not played a full 90 minutes since the penultimate game of last season for Newcastle. “But I’ve trained a lot. I feel good, I lost weight over the summer and I’m ready to play,” he said. “Maybe not 90 minutes in both games, but I feel good. I played most of the game at the weekend.” Newcastle coach Alan Pardew accused Arsenal of showing a lack of respect by lodging a bid for Cabaye only hours before his team’s opening Premier League game against on Aug. 19 – a 4-0 loss against Manchester City. Cabaye missed it because Pardew said he wasn’t in the right frame of mind to play, and he only made his first appearance as a substitute at home to Fulham 12 days later, amid reports that he had refused to train. Some fans jeered him when he came on, although others backed him. “My feelings haven’t changed. What happened at Newcastle … their (the fans’) feelings corresponded to what (message) the club wanted to get across as well. Given that I haven’t spoken about it and won’t explain what happened, they (the fans) chose sides,” he said.

France coach Deschamps has World Cup playoffs firmly in mind ahead of Australia friendly

They’re not the two most exciting games, but they’re internationals. I don’t want people easing up and lacking concentration because ‘It’s only Australia, it’s Finland,'” Deschamps said Monday. “Both are important, because we can earn some points, and given what awaits us in November that can help us be among the seeded teams.” France’s form has been patchy throughout qualifying, with the highlight being an excellent second-half performance in the 1-1 draw away to Spain, and the lows being a tepid 0-0 draw away to Georgia and a terrible first-half performance against Belarus last month. France trailed 1-0 at halftime and 2-1 before rallying with late goals to win 4-2 and put some gloss on an otherwise poor showing. “Unfortunately we alternate the good and the bad,” Deschamps said. “There was a fear of failure. Belarus played really well in the first half – I had never seen them play that well – but we responded well in the second half.” A recurring problem for Deschamps has been the lack of goals from forwards, and with one qualifier remaining it is still unclear who is France’s first choice up front. Karim Benzema has not scored in 15 internationals and was dropped against Belarus, with Olivier Giroud taking his place but not scoring, either. It is unlikely that they will play together, as that has not worked on the occasions Deschamps has paired them alongside each other. “The hierarchy can evolve,” Deschamps said. “One of them will start on Friday. Although both of them can play we’re probably going to go for one center forward. They have different profiles, with different qualities.” In a recent interview with France Football magazine, Giroud put his foot down when he said he now deserves a chance to be France’s recognized No.