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Losing Immunity, Sarkozy Faces Host Of Potential Legal Problems

Worldcrunch

LE NOUVEL OBS (France)

PARIS – At midnight Friday, European time, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy will become a citizen like any other again. The French Constitution protects any standing President from being taken to court. But now that Sarkozy has been bumped from office by François Hollande, he could face prosecution in several outstanding cases.

In addition to many minor accusations sure to arise, Sarkozy has been cited in three major cases in France, Le Nouvel Observateur reports.

The biggest threat for Sarkozy is certainly the Bettencourt case where the former President has been cited by several witnesses for questionable dealings with Liliane Bettencourt, the billionaire heir to the L'Oreal's cosmetic giant. Patrick de Maistre, who managed Bettencourt's fortune, could have asked her to withdraw this money, cash, to give it to Nicolas Sarkozy in order to finance his 2007 presidential campaign.

He is also suspected of being linked to what is known in France as the Karachi scandal. In 1995, Sarkozy was running Edouard Balladur's presidential campaign. Both are accused of having funded the campaign with 10 million euros coming from commissions linked to arms contracts in Pakistan.

And most recently, the French website Médiapart reported evidence that it says shows that Muammar Gaddafi funded Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign. Saif al Islam Gaddafi, the son of the former Libyan dictator, was quoted as saying: "We funded his campaign, and we have proof. And now we want this clown to give the money back to the Libyan people," he said at the end of 2011, just before France got involved in the Libyan revolution, hastening Gaddafi's fall.

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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