Sebastien Ogier celebrates world title by winning Rally France; Loeb’s last race ends in crash

6, 2013, near Cleebourg eastern France. Both men were not injured. (AP Photo/Christian Lutz)The Associated Press STRASBOURG, France Sebastien Ogier celebrated his world title by winning the Rally France on Sunday while nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb’s last race ended in a crash. Ogier took the overall lead by winning the three morning stages before containing his rivals in the three afternoon stages. The Frenchman clinched the world title on Thursday when Thierry Neuville of Belgium failed to win the power stage. Ogier finished the race 12.2 seconds ahead of Dani Sordo of Spain. Jari-Matti Latvala of Finland took third place, 19.5 seconds off the pace. Thierry Neuville of Belgium placed fourth, more than a minute behind Ogier. In the rain-soaked stage 15, Loeb’s Citroen DS3 slid wide on a corner and rolled before landing on its roof. The French driver was not injured in the crash.

Never on a Sunday? Shopping ban splits France

On October 2, a case brought by 13 minorities alleging they were victims of racial profiling was dismissed. Now, a proposal to keep written records of when and why police stop individuals in the street has resurfaced, after being rejected by Interior Minister Manuel Valls in September 2012. “Urgent” issue The records would allow authorities to keep closer tabs on officers who frequently ask people to show their papers in the street. At the same time, it would permit people who are asked to show their papers to build a case if they ever suspect that they are being targeted because of their ethnic background. France’s troubled suburbs The forgotten souls of the Chene Pointu estate In the wake of the courts ruling, Razzy Hammadi, a Socialist lawmaker from Seine-Saint-Denis, one of Pariss most underprivileged suburbs, released a statement saying that it was urgent for France to keep written records in order to combat racial profiling. On the ground, were hearing the exasperation of those who are victims of racial profiling, and we can see the consequent deterioration of the relationship between police and citizens, Hammadis statement read. Hammadi called for the government to start fulfilling [Hollandes campaign promise] by testing out the procedure in several French cities. The system would require two documents for each identity check carried out by the police: one for the officer and one for the individual stopped on the street. In accordance with French law, no information regarding the individuals race or religion would be recorded on the documents. Rather, the written records would provide a data base of how many people are being subject to the identity checks and what reasons police are providing for performing them. A success in Spain and UK Though the keeping of written records has provoked debate in France, Hammadi pointed out that it has already proven satisfactory in other countries, not just for citizens, but also for the police. Implemented in the UK in 1984, the system is also used in certain US states, Canada and in the Spanish city of Fuenlabrada (near Madrid). According to David Martin Abanades, a police officer in Fuenlabrada, keeping written records has resulted in a 50% reduction in identity checks since 2007, when the practice was implemented. The results are extremely positive, Abanades told French radio station France Inter in October 2012. The image of the police has improved in the eyes of the people. A group of French associations collectively called Stop Racial Profiling, created nearly three years ago, hopes that such a system would have the same impact in France.

France Pushes Ahead: Weekly International ETF Report

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Some shops have received special permission from sympathetic local authorities to open on Sunday, but several home improvement stores just went ahead and opened anyway. Unions filed lawsuits and last month two leading DIY chains Castorama and Leroy Merlin were ordered by courts to close several Paris region stores on Sunday. Both defied the ban despite a fine of 120,000 euros ($162,000) per shop and per day, and planned to flout the ban again. A survey on Thursday showed that 66 percent of 933 people polled by Tilder-LCI-Opinionway on October 2 and 3 approved of their defiance. Just before that cosmetics and perfume maker Sephora was ordered to close its flagship Champs-Elysees store at 9:00 pm in line with another law banning late-night work. Under French law, companies can ask employees to work between 9:00 pm and 6:00 am but such shifts have to be “exceptional” rather than the rule and meet a tightly defined set of criteria. Retailers meanwhile can only open on a Sunday under very specific conditions — if they are located in a tourist or a high-density area. Any shop selling food, such as a butcher, can operate until 1 pm. Sunday trade and even all-night businesses are fairly common in a number of countries, including China and the United States. Many European countries such as Spain, Portugal and Italy have eased legislation in the wake of the eurozone crisis. Church, unions oppose Sunday work About 30 percent of French workers work occasionally or regularly on Sundays. The law stipulates that this has to be on a voluntary basis and they earn 50 percent more for Sunday work. The roots of the law in France — which is officially secular but deeply Catholic — lie in sweeping demonstrations staged by workers in major cities between 1898 and 1906 which resulted in a law declaring Sunday as the mandatory day of rest, said Robert Beck, the author of a book on the history of Sunday’s place in modern French culture. “In this debate, today like back then, the Church and the trade unions are opposed, while the entrepreneurs are for” working on Sunday, Beck told AFP. The principle is made even more significant by the fact that the Sunday family lunch is still sacrosanct for many French households.

Investors have been keeping a watchful eye on France, as the economic health of weakest link in the Eurozone core is often seen as an indicator of the Eurozones recovery from the Great Recession. On October 3, the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) released a report entitled, Conjonture in France The Recovery Continues . The report began with this overview: In France the business climate, which started to pick up in industry in spring, is now improving across all sectors. Activity is however likely to be restricted in the energy and transport equipment sectors in Q3, most notably due to the after-effects of the previous quarter. GDP should thus stabilise in Q3 before growing once more in Q4 2013 (+0.4%). As an annual average, GDP should climb by 0.2% in 2013. Year-on-year, activity should show a far more positive trend at the end of 2013 than one year previously (+0.8% after -0.3%), driven by the rebound in manufacturing output, most notably. The rate of unemployment in France continues to remain dismal, at 11 percent during August, (unchanged from July) according to an October 1 report from Eurostat , which indicated that the Eurozone unemployment rate remained at 12.0 percent (NYSEARCA:VGK). The Eurozone unemployment rate for July was revised downward from 12.1 percent to 12.0 percent. On October 3, Markit Economics released its final France Services PMI report for September , which included the final Composite PMI figure for the month. The Markit Services Activity Index rose to a 20-month high of 51.0 from Augusts 48.9, finally breaking into the range of expansion. (A reading below 50 indicates contraction and a reading above 50 indicates expansion.) The final Markit France Composite Output Index also rose into the expansionary range with a reading of 50.5, compared with 48.8 in August. The Composite PMI for September also reached a 20-month high. Unfortunately, the final Markit France Manufacturing PMI for September remained slightly in the range of contraction for the nineteenth consecutive month creeping upward to only 49.8 from Augusts reading of 49.7. Markits France Retail PMI report brought the bad news, as the nations retail sales fell for the first time in three months. Retail PMI fell into contraction during September, dropping to 47.1 from Augusts 51.6. The France Services PMI report included the following Commentary from Jack Kennedy, Senior Economist at Markit Economics and author of all three of the Manufacturing, Services, and Retail PMI reports: The prolonged downturn in the French service sector finally came to an end in September, with activity rising for the first time in one-and-a-half years. (Chart courtesy of Stockcharts.com ).