Soaring energy costs have thrown the once flourishing glass-making industry in France into a crisis, and this has notably hit the small- and medium-sized businesses that account for an important part of its estimated 22,000-strong workforce. As glass-makers report a year-on-year quadrupling of their energy bills amid a parallel economic slowdown, some have been forced to shut down their ovens and to place staff on short-time working, and many now face the chilling prospect of not being able to survive the winter. Mathias Thépot reports.
August 4th marks the anniversary of the devastating explosion last year in the port of Beirut of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate unsafely stored in a warehouse, causing the deaths of more than 200 people and injuring more than 6,500 others. The blast accentuated an already severe economic and financial crisis in Lebanon, and has left it politically rudderless ever since. Amid high unemployment, soaring poverty and shortages of basic commodities, the population is now also struggling from constant power cuts, the result of withering institutional corruption which has all but paralysed its electricity network. Nada Maucourant Atallah reports from Beirut.
Britain, which usually imports power from France, has been exporting it across the Channel in November, as operators of the eight remaining British coal power stations appear to be taking advantage of higher purchase prices and outages of French nuclear reactors.
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