Special administrative courts tribunaux administratifs deal with disputes between individuals and government agencies. From the lower civil and criminal courts alike, appeals may be taken to appeals courts cours d'Appel , of which there were 27 in Judgments of the appeals courts and the courts of assize are final, except that appeals on the interpretation of the law or points of procedure may be taken to the highest of the judicial courts, the Court of Cassation in Paris. If it finds that either the letter or spirit of the law has been misapplied, it may annual a judgment and return a case for retrial by the lower courts.
The High Court of Justice Haute Cour de Justice , consisting of judges and members of parliament, is convened to pass judgment on the president and cabinet members if a formal accusation of treason or criminal behavior has been voted by an absolute majority of both the National Assembly and the Senate. The death penalty was abolished in The Conseil Constitutionnel, created by the constitution, is now the only French forum available for constitutional review of legislation.
Challenges to legislation may be raised by the president of the republic, the prime minister, the president of the Senate, the president of the National Assembly, 60 senators, or 60 deputies of the National Assembly during the period between passage and promulgation signature of president. Once promulgated, French legislation is not subject to judicial review. The French judiciary is fully independent from the executive and legislative branches. The judiciary is subject to European Union mandates, which guide national law. This has been the case in the Court of Cassation since , in the Council of State since , and now even in the civil courts.
In there were , active personnel in the French armed services.
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An additional , served in the Gendarmerie Nationale, which is heavily armed. Reserves totaled 21, from all services. France's strategic nuclear forces in had 4, active personnel, of which 2, were Navy personnel, 1, Air Force, and 41 Gendarmarie Nationale. The French have the third-largest nuclear arsenal in the world with a suspected total of weapons. The Army in numbered , military and 28, civilian personnel. Included were 7, members of the Foreign Legion, a 14, member marine force and an estimated 2, Special Operations Forces, as part of the French Army. Equipment included main battle tanks, 1, reconnaissance vehicles, armored infantry fighting vehicles, 4, armored personnel carriers, and artillery pieces towed.
The French Navy numbered 46, active personnel and 10, civilians in For that year, the Navy was equipped with 10 modern submarines 4 SSBNs and 6 SSNs , 34 principal surface combatants including one CVN and one CVH or helicopter carrier , and 85 other ships for mine warfare, amphibious operations, and logistics and support. France had 6, naval aviation personnel.
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There were also 2, naval marines, including commandos. The Navy also provided coast guard services and fishery protection. The French Air Force numbered 65, active members, plus 5, civilians, and operated combat capable aircraft. France maintains substantial forces abroad in a number of countries, current and former possessions, and protectorates. These forces are supported by aircraft and naval ships in the Indian and Pacific oceans, and in the Carribean.
Troops are also deployed on peacekeeping missions in several different regions and countries. France joined the WTO in France is also a founding member of the European Union.
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In December , the country announced an intention to increase participation in the NATO military wing once again. France is one of the most richly endowed countries of Europe. The favorable climate, extensive areas of rich soil, and long-established tradition of skilled agriculture have created ideal conditions for a thriving farm economy.
Agriculture and the agro-food industries account for a larger share of economic activity than in many other west European nations. Large deposits of iron ore, a wellintegrated network of power plants, important domestic reserves of natural gas , good transport, and high standards of industrial workmanship have made the French industrial complex one of the most modern in Europe.
After World War II , France's economy was stronger than it had been in the period between the two world wars. But on the debit side were the extremely high costs of France's colonial campaigns in Indochina and North Africa; the periodic lack of confidence of French investors in the nation's economy, resulting in the largescale flight of funds; and the successive devaluations of the franc.
Through most of the s and early s, the French economy expanded steadily, with GDP more than doubling between and Further oil price increases in — 80 marked the beginning of a prolonged recession, with high inflation, high unemployment, balance-of-payments deficits, declining private investment, and shortages in foreign exchange reserves. However, GDP grew by an annual average of 2. By the late s, however, the economy began to record higher growth rates. In the French economy grew by 3. Unemployment, however, remained high at To combat this, the Socialist-led coalition of Lionel Jospin enacted legislation cutting the work week to 35 hours in However, France's exports increased at a greater rate than imports, fueling the economy.
France in fell from being the world's fourth-largest industrialized economy to fifth, being replaced by the United Kingdom.
In , real GDP growth was 1. In , real GDP growth was expected to slow to 1. France and the United States are the world's top two exporting countries in defense products, agricultural goods, and services. Taxes remain the highest in the G-8 industrialized countries, and the tax structure is seen as a hindrance to business activity.
The fastest-growing sectors of the economy have been telecommunications, aerospace, consulting services, meat and milk products, public works, insurance and financial services, and recreation, culture, and sports. Although the government has privatized many large companies, banks, and insurers, it still controls large sectors of the economy, including energy, transportation, and the defense industry. The French social model, characterized by heavy state involvement in the economy, a tax on wealth, and generous benefits for workers, has proved to be a strong disincentive to growth and job creation.
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Unemployment, at 9. The pension system and rising healthcare costs strain public finances. Attempts to liberalize the economy have met strong resistance from labor unions and the left. Pension reforms proposed by the government of Jean-Pierre Raffarin in early were met by huge protests and strikes in France. Discontent with the economy played a large role in France's rejection of the EU constitution in May Violent unrest in hundreds of towns erupted in the fall of , triggered by frustration over high unemployment among urban youth.
The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity PPP rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 1. The average inflation rate in was 1. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 2. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period to household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 1.
It was estimated that in about 6. In , the French workforce was estimated at In the latest year for which data was available , Workers freely exercise their right to strike unless it is prohibited due to public safety. Many unions are members of international labor organizations. Collective bargaining is prevalent. It is illegal to discriminate against union activity. This amount provides a decent standard of living for a family. The standard legal workweek is set at 35 hours with restrictions on overtime.
Children under age 16 are not permitted to work, and there are restrictions pertaining to employment of those under Child labor laws are strictly enforced.
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The labor code and other laws provide for work, safety, and health standards. Agriculture remains a vital sector of the French economy, even though it engages only about 3. In , France's fulltime farm labor force of , was still the second-highest in the EU. France is one of the leaders in Europe in the value of agricultural exports — chiefly wheat, sugar, wine, and beef. Tropical commodities, cotton, tobacco, and vegetable oils are among the chief agricultural imports. About There were , farms in France in , of which only , were managed by full-time farmers.
Since the s, the number of farms has declined and the size of individual holdings has increased. By there were about 1. Average farm size had grown to around 50 hectares acres in Because French law provides for equal rights of inheritance, traditionally much of the farmland came to be split up into small, scattered fragments. One of the major aims of postwar plans for rural improvement has been the consolidation of these through reallotment.
Such consolidation also fosters the growth of mechanization. In there were 1,, tractors fourth in the world after the United States, Japan , and Italy compared with , in , and 1,, in The most productive farms are in northern France, but specialized areas, such as the vegetable farms of Brittany, the great commercial vineyards of the Languedoc, Burgundy, and Bordeaux districts, and the flower gardens, olive groves, and orchards of Provence, also contribute heavily to the farm economy.
Among agricultural products, cereals wheat, barley, oats, corn, and sorghum , industrial crops sugar beets, flax , root crops potatoes , and wine are by far the most important. In , the wheat crop totaled 39,, tons and barley, 11,, tons. Other totals in tons included oats, ,; corn, 16,,; sugar beets, 30,,; rapeseed, 3,, tons; and sunflower seed, 1,, tons.
Wine production in totaled million liters from 7,, tons of grapes. There is large-scale production of fruits, chiefly apples, pears, peaches, and cherries. In , farm animals included Poultry and rabbits are raised in large numbers, both for farm families and for city markets. Meat production in included 1,, tons of beef and veal, 2,, tons of pork, 1,, tons of poultry, and , tons of mutton.
Dairy farming flourishes in the rich grasslands of Normandy. Total cows' milk production in was 25,, tons. France produces some kinds of cheese; in , production totaled about 1,, tons. Butter and egg production were , and 1,, tons, respectively. France's 4, km 2, mi of coastline, dotted with numerous small harbors, has long supported a flourishing coastal and highseas fishing industry.
French aquaculture consists mainly of oyster and mussel production; most of the facilities are located along the English Channel and the Atlantic coasts.
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Herring, skate, whiting, sole, mackerel, tuna, sardines, lobsters, and mussels make up the principal seafood catch, along with cod, mostly from the fishing banks off northern North America , where French fishing vessels have sailed for centuries. Production of canned seafood products in totaled 80, tons, mostly tuna, mackerel, and sardines. The United Kingdom and Norway are France's leading seafood suppliers. Forestry production in France has been encouraged by the government since the 16th century, when wood was a strategic resource in building warships. Although much of the original forest cover was cut in the course of centuries, strict forest management practices and sizable reforestation projects during the last years have restored French forests considerably.
Since , the government has subsidized the afforestation and replanting of 2. The reforestation project in the Landes region of southwestern France has been particularly successful.
During — , the forested area increased by an annual average of 0. There were some 16 million hectares The forestry and wood products sector employed , persons in 35, companies in Production of roundwood in was Hardwood log production reached 6.
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