France yesterday launched the privatization of telecommunications operator France Telecom, with Economy and Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy announcing the sale of 9.6 percent of its shares. \nThe state is to retain 41.0 to 43.5 percent of the capital and plans to remain a major shareholder in the medium term, a finance ministry statement said. \nFrance Telecom is a flagship industrial name in France and anything affecting its corporate status or the employment prospects of staff has provoked opposition from trade unions in the past. \nThe decision means that France Telecom will gain a more flexible capital structure and a larger investment base and that the government will earn funds needed to reduce its public debt. \nIssued shortly before the company's board was to meet the statement said: "The state has today started the sale of 9.6 percent of the capital of France Telecom. When this sale is completed, depending on the number of shares that have been bought, the state will hold directly or indirectly between 41.0 and 43.5 percent of France Telecom's capital." \nIt added: "The state is determined to remain a major shareholder of France Telecom in the medium term." \nThe money raised will help France trim its public debt, which has repeatedly breached EU limits. \nThe government's stake sale is worth 4.6 billion to 5.8 billion euros (US$5.6 billion to US$7 billion) based on Tuesday's closing price, depending on the exact number of shares sold. \nFrance Telecom, meanwhile, "needs to increase its room for manoeuvre in order to adapt to future developments in the telecommunications market," the ministry said. \nBy effectively privatizing the telecoms operator, the state plans to provide France Telecom with a more flexible capital structure and a larger investor base. \nThe government said France Telecom's stable financial situation and recent buyout of Orange and Wanadoo, its mobile and Internet access units, means the operator can now take full advantage of developments in the telecoms market. \nShares will subsequently be offered to existing and former France Telecom employees.
SOLIDARITY: A group of European lawmakers condemned China’s aggressive moves, while the foreign minister of Lithuania said Taiwan ‘cannot become a second Ukraine’ A German parliamentary delegation would visit Taiwan in the first week of October, German lawmaker Holger Becker on Monday told visiting Democratic Progressive Party legislators Fan Yun (范雲) and Lin I-chin (林宜瑾) at the Bundestag in Berlin. Asked by Fan whether he is worried about possible reprisals from Beijing, such as banning him and his family from entering China, Becker said he is more interested in visiting Taiwan, as “now is the time for democracies to stand together.” Fan and Lin also met with German officials to exchange views on digital education and governance. Investing in digital infrastructure and protecting equal rights to
‘IRRATIONAL ACTS’: The defense ministry condemned the drills, during which China tested successors to missiles deployed during the Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1995 and 1996 China yesterday fired several Dongfeng ballistic missiles as it began four days of unprecedented military drills off Taiwan proper following US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei the previous day. On Tuesday, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) said Beijing would “take all necessary measures” in retaliation should Pelosi visit Taiwan during her Asia tour. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from 1:56pm to 4pm fired 11 Dongfeng missiles into waters north, east and south of Taiwan proper, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said. Taiwanese armed forces, using “forward warning and surveillance mechanisms,” monitored the missile tests
ANNEXATION PLANS: Remarks by the Chinese ambassador to France showed that Beijing seeks to normalize genocide, re-education and gulags, a US official said European and US officials condemned comments from Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye (盧沙野), after he on Wednesday said that Taiwanese would be “re-educated” after any annexation by China. In an interview on French television, Lu accused the Democratic Progressive Party of “extremist” propaganda and turning Taiwanese against “reunification” with China. “We will re-educate. I’m sure that the Taiwanese population will again become favorable of the reunification and will become patriots again,” Lu told BFM TV. The term “re-education” has been used to describe Chinese authorities’ treatment of Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang. European Parliament Subcommittee on Security and Defense Chairwoman
‘SIMULATED ATTACKS’: Ten warships each from China and Taiwan were maneuvering at close quarters in the Taiwan Strait, with some Chinese vessels crossing the median line Taiwan yesterday reiterated that it would not succumb to pressure from Beijing after China carried out its most provocative military drills in decades in retaliation for US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan last week. “We will never bow to pressure. We uphold freedom and democracy, and believe Taiwanese disapprove [of] China’s bullying actions with force and saber rattling at our door,” Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday. China had “arrogantly” disrupted regional peace and stability, he said, calling on Beijing to not flex its military muscles. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has also called on the international community to “support