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France, Ug Relations Receive Boost

“I think Brian France did a great job, he stepped up and he said `I made the decision and this is the way it’s going to be,”’ said Rick Hendrick, winner of 10 Cup championships. “It sounded like Bill – `I’m going to make sure this doesn’t happen, and this is the way we are going to race from here on.”’ It’s been a messy two weeks for NASCAR, which heads Sunday into Round 2 of the Chase, one of France’s very first creations after taking over the post his father held for 31 years. What began as an attempt by Michael Waltrip Racing to manipulate the outcome of the Sept. 9 race at Richmond to get one of its drivers into the Chase field blew wildly out of control even after NASCAR issued one of the largest penalties in history against Waltrip’s team. At least one other instance of race manipulation was uncovered and France, who doesn’t always take a hands-on role at the race track, had a front and center presence in two days’ worth of damage control at Chicago. But as NASCAR’s credibility was called into question, and France ordered drivers to give 100 percent in new rules prohibiting the artificial altering of events, the damage continues. NAPA Auto Parts on Thursday said it was ending its multimillion dollar 12-year partnership with Waltrip, and MWR is now fighting for its survival. Waltrip declined Friday to second-guess NASCAR’s handling of the scandal, but indicated France’s meeting with competitors last week has closed any loopholes in the rule book. MWR was fined $300,000, its general manager has been suspended indefinitely and driver Martin Truex Jr. was kicked out of the Chase. Meanwhile, Penske Racing and Front Row Motor Sports received probation despite evidence showing the teams may have bargained to get Penske’s Joey Logano into the Chase, and France used his power to expand the field to give Hendrick’s Gordon a spot in the Chase. “We now clearly understand what is and isn’t acceptable behavior,” Waltrip said.

(text) French President Francois Hollande strongly defended his countrys hardline stance against the Syrian regime Tuesday in a speech to the United Nations that criticised the international community for being indecisive. The Syrian conflict, he said, was the deadliest this century and the Damascus regimes use of chemical weapons which France believes is beyond doubt constitutes a crime that should and could have been dealt with more assertively. In a thinly veiled criticism of UN Security Council members who vetoed military intervention against Syria, he said the international bodys strength and ability to respond to such a crisis had been undermined by international indecision. Failure to find consensus, he said, shows that we are without power and it is peace that is the principal victim. Coercive measures Hollande added that if Syria does not abide by a Russian-brokered deal to hand over its chemical weapons to the international community for dismantlement, it should face coercive measures under Chapter VII of the UN charter. Those responsible for chemical weapons attacks, he said, must be “held accountable in the justice system.” Hollande also warned that continuing inaction in Syria was likely to breed terrorism, citing Frances military intervention in Mali as justification for foreign military intervention. Mali has regained territorial integrity and has been able to organise an incontestable presidential election, he said. It is evidence of a great victory in Africa over the forces of terrorism. Olive branch to Iran Turning to Iran, Hollande praised a thawing of relations with Tehran as a glimmer of hope for future peace, but he warned that Irans promises not to pursue a nuclear weapons programme must be translated into concrete gestures. “France expects concrete gestures of Iran which will show that this country renounces its military nuclear program even if it clearly has the right to pursue its civilian programme,” he said. Hollande went on to stress that dialogue was the way forward while warning that he would stand firm on the issues of nuclear proliferation. “The question at hand is to know if these words can translate into actions, especially on the nuclear issue,” Hollande added. “But for the past 10 years talks haven’t gone anywhere. UNITED NATIONS

France’s Hollande firm on Syria, hopeful on Iran

France is also supposed to provide academic resources for student exchange programs between the two countries. UG, according to the MoU, is to provide office infrastructure for the French teaching staff. The university among other things is also to safeguard to the best of its ability, the rights, interest, safety and security of the France teaching personnel. Mr. Clavier said France had decided to speed up the ties between them. He also insisted on enhancing capacity and mobility of both France and UG students. I want to see a future where there are more students from France in the University of Ghana and more University of Ghana students in universities in France, he said. The Ambassador entreated the VC to promote French in the university to an extent that other courses would, in the future, be run in French. This, he said, would attract more French students into the university. He congratulated Prof. Aryeetey for the quality of directive in the various departments and thanked him and his team for hosting them. The Legon VC thanked the Ambassador and his team for the honour done them and expressed the Universitys desire to lift the French Department to the status of the school.