Bullish On France

A picture taken on September 21, 2013 in Nanterre, shows a part of the 1.3 tons of pure cocaine seized by French police.

The colorful bags weren’t registered to any of the passengers on the plane. When French officials opened them up, they discovered why — 1.3 tons of pure cocaine were stuffed inside the anonymous bags. The street value of the stash? About 200 million Euros, or $270 million. The catch was made on September 11, but French authorities didn’t publicize the find until Saturday. The suitcases came from Caracas aboard an Air France flight to Paris, but did not match any of the passengers on board, CNN affiliate BFMTV reported. “Several” people have been taken in custody, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls told reporters Saturday. Authorities worked with Spanish, British and Dutch police on the investigation, BFMTV said. This case “illustrates the importance of strengthening International cooperation in the fight against traffickers,” Valls said. Venezuelan authorities are also investigating. The country’s Public Ministry said prosecutors will investigate, along with the Counterdrug Command of the National Guard in Simon Bolivar International Airport, to see if any criminal activity took place. CNN’s Christabelle Fombu and Nelson Quinones contributed to this report.

Tony Parker sends France into FIBA Europe Finals (Video)

If a French student passes the “bac,” post-secondary education is virtually free. The Sorbonne in Paris, for example, is an open-access university with a relatively modest cost. True, some of the elite schools like Sciences-Po have recently raised tuition — but nowhere near the levels of comparable U.S. institutions. In the U.S., we tell our young people that they need more post-secondary education than ever before to be globally competitive, and we effectively then force them to assume crippling “mortgages” to pay for it. That’s how we end up with $1 trillion in student loan debt. Last year while visiting Le Havre, I talked with a young waiter working two jobs to save enough money to go to school to specialize in international law. I asked him how much money he needed, and when he told me 4,000 euros, I almost laughed. He was astounded when I told him that a similar degree in the U.S. would most likely cost him at least ten times that amount, per year. And then there’s health care. The French spend half per capita what the U.S.

A Xavi Rey dunk 1:10 into the second quarter sparked a 13-0 Spain run that Fernando San Emeterio capped off with a lay-up in transition with 3:22 remaining in the half. Parker drove to the basket and scored France’s first points in almost seven minutes, to reduce the lead to 31-20 with 2:31 left in the first half, but Sergio Llull split two free throws and sent Spain to the break with a 14-point lead (34-20). France was 0-for-8 on three-pointers in the first half. Antoine Diot knocked down Frances first a triple of the game in 10 attempts, to reduce the lead to 35-26 with 6:49 left in the third quarter. He drilled another three pointer at the 5:35 mark of the quarter and Parker sunk two free throws to cut the gap to 37-31. Rudy Fernandez hit a triple on the other end with 3:43 remaining in the third to give Spain some breathing room, 42-33, but back-to-back three-pointers from Mickael Gelabale and Parker brought France within three points, 44-41, with 2:24 left in the third quarter. Sergio Llull replied with a trey of his own from the left wing and restored a 49-43 Spanish advantage at the end of the third frame. Gelabale again hit a jumper with 8:08 in the fourth quarter and France inched within 49-48, the smallest gap since Spain’s second-quarter burst. Fernandez slammed a dunk home to give Spain a 60-53 cushion but Florent Pietrus hit his first triple of the tournament, Nicolas Batum also scored from beyond the arc and Parker made a lay-up with 3:24 left to tie the score at 61. Alexis Ajinca made one-of-two two free throws to tie the score at 65 with 40 seconds remaining to the end of regulation and Rodriguez misfired on a lay-up attempt. After Fernandez blocked Parkers shot as he drove to the basket with 11 seconds left, Spain had one last chance to obtain the win in regulation. However, Jose Calderons three-point shot was off the mark and then Claver missed from under the basket with two seconds remaining. Spains Marc Gasol, who finished with 19 points and nine rebounds, scored the first two points in overtime but Parker and Diot went a combined eight-of-eight from the foul line, and Spain was just 2-for-10 from the floor in the extra period.