The dizzy heights of heli-sourced powder

The inquiry found insufficient evidence that Sarkozy had sought and accepted campaign money in 2007 from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt , 90, while she was in a frail mental state. Sarkozy won the 2007 presidential election . The unexpected decision on Monday, just two weeks after a court ruled the investigation could proceed, clears the way for Sarkozy, who had vehemently denied the accusations, to run for reelection in 2017. However, the charges — termed an abuse of weakness –were maintained against Eric Woerth, a former government minister who was Sarkozy’s treasurer in the 2007 campaign; Bettencourt’s former companion, the society photographer Francois-Marie Banier; her lawyer, Pascal Wilhelm; her financial advisor, Patrice de Maistre and six others. Their trial is expected to be held next year. The public prosecutor in Bordeaux, where the investigation is being conducted, had said the case against Sarkozy stood no chance of success, and threatened to appeal any decision to send the former president to trial, delaying the investigation against the other accused. The former president is still dogged by a number of other legal cases, including a scandal over millions of euros in public money paid in compensation to a controversial businessman and friend, Bernard Tapie. Sarkozy is also facing questions about the “Karachi Affair,” a complicated corruption case linked to arms sales and a bombing in Pakistan in 2002 that killed 11 French nationals. Before the May 2012 election campaign, Sarkozy had said that if he lost his bid for reelection, France would never hear of me again. He has maintained a reasonably low profile since his defeat by Socialist Francois Hollande , but he and his entourage have begun hinting of his return to the front line of French politics to save the country. Several members of the right-of-center opposition Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party, are said to be interested in running in 2017, but Sarkozy has emerged as the popular candidate to challenge Hollande. Last month, an opinion poll by the French Institute of Public Opinion found that 62% of UMP voters questioned wanted him to run in 2017, well ahead of any rivals in the party. During a visit to the Haute-Savoie region four weeks ago, Sarkozy dined with local UMP lawmakers.

France is not our enemy

But they have to be motivated, positive and reliable, absolutely. They have to be nice, happy. No one can have a bit of attitude. It is so counterproductive. Q.What are you still striving to learn? A. Any cuisine I don’t know enough about. I’m farming again. I always want to know more on food in general. I keep reading cookbooks. The hardest thing is time. That’s what airplanes are for. Q.What’s your idea of a romantic meal?

come to Lake Geneva. The pilot hovers a moment, glances to right and left then dives fast, to the section of the airport for private planes. Were met by a car, which drives us to the main airport and EasyJet check-in. No better way to suck the very last drop of pleasure out of a holiday. What the Dickens is a Pook? Pooks chalets sit in splendour, with uninterrupted views that make you feel a million miles from the ruckus of normal ski resort life. But with no nightlife on tap, what to do? Theres always the option to chill out in the large living rooms, well stocked with games, books and dvds, and with an equally well-stocked chalet bar and wine cellar at your disposal. Or lounge in the hot tub or around the firepit. Pook can also set up torch-lit snowshoeing, husky sledding and wine tasting in a refuge. In the chalet, yoga classes can be arranged, and visiting masseurs Massage Me (massage-me.co.uk) will swing by to soothe, with treatments ranging from traditional Swedish to targeted tonics for legs, back or feet. Or, if you really need a nightclub, the 24/7 chauffeur at your disposal can ferry you to Val dIsere. The three Pook Heli-Lodges ( thepook.co.uk ) sleep from six to 21 people, and are booked on a whole chalet basis, from 1495 a head for a weeks half board in the luxury flagship lodges, including breakfast, afternoon tea, five-course evening meal, wine and beer, group airport transfer by car, lift passes and 24/7 chauffeur service. Upgrade to an airport heli transfer from 300 per person one way.

Chef Daniel Boulud savors a dash of France

Chef Daniel Boulud has had a big impact on the New York City dining scene.

(AFP) A few days before the French presidents visit, SA Minister of International Relations and Co-operation rebukes claims that there is deep tension between South Africa and France. Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told media at a press conference in Pretoria on Tuesday that, SA has strategic relations with France based on our foreign policy, we dont have any declared enemy anywhere in the world. She made this statement following media suggestions that a feud might be brewing between France and SA. These reports stem from the polar sides the countries took on military intervention in Libya. French-led forces invaded Libya in 2011 when political instability reached levels of international concern in the country. Additionally, SAs focus on BRICS relations has caused rifts with France as trading treaties with France have become second priority. This is despite Frances substantial economic contribution to SA. French companies invest about R15 billion in the local economy. Nearly 300 French companies are present in SA and employ roughly 25 000 South Africans. Tourism flows from France to South Africa continue to grow. In 2012, up to 122 000 French tourists visited South Africa, representing a 16% increase compared to the previous year, the minister reported. French President, Francois Hollande, will be visiting SA next week and Nkoana-Mashabane said any issues between the countries will be diplomatically discussed. The focus of the visit will be on strengthening economic ties between the two states, she added. Since his election, President Hollande has met with President Zuma on several occasions on the margins of multilateral meetings, and exchanged telephone calls reflecting on pertinent bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual concern, she said.