France raises aid fund for farmers after harsh frost wipes out crops

France — Link

France's aid fund for agricultural catastrophes is to be increased, Prime Minister Jean Casteix has announced, after continuing severe nationwide frosts that followed exceptionally mild weather have wiped out many crops in the bud, especially fruit and including vast amounts of grapes in winegrowing regions.

France creates 10m-euro compensation fund for epilepsy drug victims

France — Link

More than 14,000 women in France were prescribed Depakine, the Sanofi drug firm's brand name for valproate, despite the potential risks to foetuses which became known in the early 1980s, and which associations representing victims say may have affected  50,000 people in the country.

Flood damage in France to cost 'hundreds of millions' of euros: PM

France — Link

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that the full cost of week-long floods is still unclear and pledged a special fund for those worst-hit.

French government supports taxi licence refund plan

France — Link

Transport minister said he hoped fund would guarantee that retiring drivers recover same amount it cost to buy the licences, plus inflation.

The 'strangely secret' deal between Google and an ailing French press


There was all the atmosphere of a joint press conference between heads of state when French President François Hollande and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt this month announced an agreement had been reached between the US search engine giant and the French press over Google’s use of article contents. Google will make a one-off payment of 60 million euros to fund development of the publishers' presence on the internet, while it will also offer to increase their online revenues using Google’s advertising platforms. However, as Dan Israel and Jérôme Hourdeaux report, what was presented as a "historic" compromise is in reality a long-term victory for Google over an ailing, cash-strapped press, while the details of the deal are, curiously, to remain secret.