Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Youth Unemployment and Education

Some interesting figures on the youth unemployment problem: 75 percent of young people with college degrees (bac + 4) find work within one year of finishing their studies. Surprisingly, graduates with degrees in physics, biology, and chemistry do worse than average: only 55 percent of them find work within a year. 54 percent of the jobs are in the service sector, and only 31 percent in industry.

China Inspires the Nationalist Right

Rightist deputy Claude Goasguen has been to China, and he finds inspiration in Chinese universities for two reasons: they are more open to partnerships between business and education than are French universities, and they are quicker to adapt to change.

All Too Quiet on the Eastern Front

The current upheaval in Burma might seem to have little or nothing to do with France, but the Burmese dictatorship is sustained by its dealings with China, as is the Cambodian dictatorship. If I may be permitted a bit of self-advertisement, the current New York Review of Books contains an article (not free, unfortunately: see NYROB, 54, 15, Oct. 11, p. 3) by Figaro journalist François Hauter, which I translated, entitled "Chinese Shadows." In it, Hauter reveals how the transformation of Cambodia into a source of raw materials fueling the Chinese growth machine has led to corruption and oppression on a colossal scale. The story in Burma is similar, as this article by Joshua Kurlantzick argues.

French finance minister Christine Lagarde has not been reticent when it comes to pressing the Chinese to allow their currency to appreciate. A little pressure from the French government regarding Chinese support for Asian tyrannies might also be in order. But the French are perhaps too intent on selling nuclear reactors to China to want to upset the applecart by raising unpleasant issues. The Germans, who have been lavishing attention on the Dalai Lama in recent days, seem less reluctant to goad the Chinese on human rights.

On Sarkozy and War

In the discussion that can be found in the comments to this post, Anonymous writes:

If your question is :" does unacceptable mean that Sarkozy is ready to participate in a war if sanctions fail ? " my answer is no.

He will not veto an American intervention, but no more...

In this connection, it is interesting to note that in the 2008 budget released today, one of the ministries hardest hit by the reduction in the number of civil servants is Defense, which will lose 6037 (of the total 22,000+ government jobs to be eliminated). This does not sound like a government that is heeding Kouchner's call to "prepare for the worst ... that is, war." Hence I agree with Anonymous.

I will have more to say about the budget in days to come.

CSI Miami Beats Human Bomb

It seems that most French téléspectateurs chose to watch "CSI Miami" last night on TF1 rather than France2's docufiction re-enacting the "Human Bomb" case that brought Nicolas Sarkozy to national attention in 1993, when he was mayor of Neuilly.

DNA Testing Eliminated from Immigration Bill

The provision of the immigration bill allowing voluntary DNA testing to prove kinship claimed for the purpose of obtaining a visa for a family member has been voted down by the Senate.