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WEAPONS

French arms export boom boosts economy

While other areas of the French economy continue to struggle the country's arms industry is positively booming, new figures show.

French arms export boom boosts economy
Guns for sale at a Paris weapons trade show. Photo: AFP

French arms exports rose 18 percent in 2014, according to a defence ministry report published Tuesday, the country's best export performance for 15 years.

France sold €8.2 billion ($9.1 billion) of weapons last year, mainly due to clinching five “large” contracts (defined as more than €200 million).

These large contracts represented a total of €4.79 billion — a gain of 71 percent compared to the previous year.

The positive figures should continue in 2015 with contracts to provide 24 Rafale combat jets to Egypt and the same amount to Qatar already in the bag.

The figures put France “solidly” in fourth place in terms of global arms exports, the report said, behind the United States, Russia and China.

France's main markets over the period 2010 to 2014 were the Middle East (38 percent), followed by Asia (30 percent).

After that came Europe (13 percent), the Americas (11 percent) and Africa (four percent).

The top French client over the period was Saudi Arabia, which snapped up €12 billion worth of weapons over the period — including three billion dollars bought to help the Lebanese army.

Then followed India (around €6 billion), Brazil (just under €6 billion), the United Arab Emirates (€4 billion), the United States and Morocco.

ACCIDENT

Frenchwoman’s arms reattached after horror train accident

A woman whose arms were sliced off in a train accident has had the limbs successfully reattached in a rare and complicated operation in France, medics said on Friday.

Frenchwoman's arms reattached after horror train accident
Chief surgeon doctor Denis Corcella (C), assistant surgeons Billy Chedal Bornu (L) and Mickael Bouyer (R) hold a press conference at Grenoble hospital. Photo: Philippe Desmazes/AFP

The 30-year-old victim lost both arms above the elbow after falling between a train and the platform at the Chambery station in the foothills of the French Alps in mid-August.

Quick-thinking medics who arrived on the scene shortly afterwards were praised for helping preserve her arms by wrapping them in sterilised material and ice before transferring them quickly to hospital.

Two hours after the accident, a medical team of 10 at a hospital in the nearby city of Grenoble began the operation to reattach the limbs.

“The muscles can't be reactivated completely so some movements will be problematic for the patient, particularly with her hands,” surgeon Michael Bouyer from the CHU Grenoble Alpes hospital told reporters on Friday.

“But it will be much better than having a prosthesis”.

The first operation to reattach two arms was carried out in Germany in 2008 and similar operations have been performed in China and India since.

Bouyer said the patient was “doing well” and, once recovered, would need between 18 months and two years of physiotherapy to regain movement in the damaged limbs.

By Benoit Pavan and Julia Pavesi