21, 2013 in Nanterre, France. Valls announced 1.3 tons of pure cocaine was found on board an Air France cargo plane on Sept 11, 2013. By Elisha Fieldstadt, NBC News More than one ton of cocaine worth $270 million was confiscated from a French airlines plane in early September, French officials said Saturday. During a news conference, Frances Interior Minister Manuel Valls said that on Sept. 11 authorities seized 1.3 tons of cocaine from an Air France cargo flight that arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris, according to Agence France-Presse. Valls showed 30 empty suitcases that he said had been full with $270 million worth of pure cocaine, and said this was the largest-ever drug bust in the Paris region, according to the French news service. Valls also said that four tons of cocaine have been confiscated in France since the start of 2013. Spanish, British and Dutch police helped with the investigation, Valls said, adding that the discovery showed the “importance of strengthening international cooperation in the fight against traffickers,” according to Al Jazeera . The AFP reported that the flight came from Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, but was not linked to any passengers on the flight. Several members of a criminal organization” have been arrested, said Valls.
Second-seeded Simon defeated Nicolas Mahut 6-3, 7-6 (2) to stay on course for his first title of the year. Tsongas playing in his first tournament since a knee injury forced him to drop out of his second-round match at Wimbledon. Its his first final since winning the Open 13 in Marseille in February. Just like in Fridays quarterfinals, Tsonga took time to find his range and dropped the first set. He looked leg-weary and was broken in his first service game, then struggled to hold his next game as Mayer pinned him to the back of the court with his looped returns. Its thanks to the fans that I managed to hang in there and also because Florian Mayer has a little bit of a weakness in terms of endurance, Tsonga said. It will be a different matter against Gilles. I noticed that he is playing very well. Tsonga leads Simon 5-2 overall. All of Tsongas titles have been on hard courts, half of Simons on clay. Tsonga started the second set aggressively and Mayer had to save two break points early on. In the fifth game, Tsonga paused before serving and then squatted down as if to test the flexibility of his knees. He drew Mayer to the net on the next point and lobbed him to force another break point, which Mayer saved with a forehand pass. Mayer saved another chance on his serve, but Tsonga finally broke him when he returned a weak second serve with a thumping forehand. He held at love, including an ace and a crosscourt winner from the back of the court, to move 5-2 ahead.
10:12am UK, Sunday 22 September 2013 French minister Manuel Valls in front of some of the seized cocaine Email More than a ton of cocaine was seized at a Paris airport after it was found packed into 30 suitcases carried on a passenger plane. French police, who had been working with British, Dutch and Spanish colleagues, discovered the 1.3-ton haul on a flight to Charles De Gaulle airport from the Venezuelan capital Caracas. The cocaine, which was carried on an Air France plane, had a street value of some 175m (200m euros). French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said it was the biggest find of its type in metropolitan France. Six people have been arrested so far, he said. French police commander Mohamed Douhane said: “Such a seizure, in such circumstances, is quite simply exceptional. “Now an inquiry … will have to determine if there were other accomplices, whether within the company or at the arrival or departure airports,” he added. French police discovered the haul on September 11 but only revealed it on Saturday as they put the 30 empty suitcases on display. None of them were apparently registered to any passengers. It is not clear how the stash would have been collected. The office of Venezuela’s attorney general said authorities were investigating how the cocaine-laden suitcases got aboard the flight at Caracas’s Simon Bolivar International Airport. Cocaine comes from coca leaves grown in countries like Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. Venezuela does not produce cocaine, according to United Nations monitors, but experts say drug traffickers are increasingly using its territory to smuggle drugs into other nations.
France’s Hollande says to meet Iranian president next week
Credit: Reuters/Thierry Gouegnon BAMAKO | Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:16pm BST BAMAKO (Reuters) – France’s president, Francois Hollande, said on Thursday he would meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly next week, the first meeting between presidents of the two countries since 2005. France has been a strong advocate of sanctions to pressure Iran over its nuclear programme but has been cautious since Rouhani, a relative moderate, was elected earlier this year. Hollande said he had accepted an invitation to meet with the new Iranian leader. “There is a plan to meet with the Iranian president at his request,” Hollande told reporters before leaving Bamako, where he was attending a ceremony to mark the swearing-in of Mali’s new president. Hollande would be the first Western leader of the P5+1 nations – United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – to meet Rouhani, although the White House said on Thursday it was possible that President Barack Obama could meet Rouhani in New York if Tehran signalled it was serious about giving up its nuclear programme. “We should not slam the door on him. We need to see what is behind the words and things will be judged on the acts. The meetings on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly will enable us to establish what the Iranian intentions are,” said a French diplomatic source. Hollande, who will be the first French president to meet an Iranian president since 2005 when Jacques Chirac met Mohammad Khatami in Paris, is due to attend the U.N.