By Sanae ElouaziRabat – Moroccans seeking treatment in France are no longer welcome in French hospitals since they have been declared as “bad payers” after accumulating a total of debt EUR 7.3 million. According to a report conducted by the Public Assistance-Hospitals of Paris (AP-HP) on unpaid bills in French hospitals, Algerians ranked first on the list with a debt of EUR 28 million, equivalent to MAD 308 million. The United States of America and Tunisia’s nationals have also been reported to not pay their French hospital bills with a total of EUR 3.95 million and EUR 2.97 million respectively. These considerable amounts concern only foreign patients who are not residing in France, and whose pathology requires treatment in Paris’ hospitals. French hospitals, which never required advance payment of hospitalization for foreigners in the past, decided to restrict the hospitalization of foreign nationals in France by changing the payment method.Foreigners are now required to submit documents proving their solvency before receiving any form of care. This new provision only concerns scheduled hospitalizations, not emergency cases.Over the years, foreign patients have left behind a EUR 120 million debt to Paris hospitals by late 2014. Top foreign officials who go to France for treatment were also reported as bad payers. In 2015, Saudi’s King visit to France stirred controversy over the alleged nonpayment of a EUR 3.7 million bill to Paris Hospitals. In a tweet, the well-known French physician and activist, Patrick Pelloux, recalled that the Arabian kingdom owed EUR 3.7 million to the Public Assistance-Hospitals of Paris (AP-HP).“Before leaving, the King of Saudi Arabia could pay his bills of EUR 3.7 million to Hôpitaux de Paris. A gesture of courtesy!” the tweet read. The polemic tweet reached representatives at Hôpitaux de Paris who have confirmed the allegations. According to French media outlets, the debt is not only King Salmane’s responsibility. The EUR 3.7 million include many Saudis treated in Paris.These types of debts are a recurring problem since foreign officials are not required by law to pay these hospital bills at time of service.
TORONTO — Many people have a go-to tool at work. For Andrew Ivers, it’s a KBAR-32 this weekend.The 19-year-old from Toronto is a professional gamer who hopes to use his virtual assault rifle to help Team GIRG win the Cineplex WorldGaming “Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare” tournament final Sunday.Eight teams are competing for a total of $65,000 in prize money at the downtown Scotiabank Theatre. It’s an active spectator sport with fans paying from $9.50 to $40 to get into the 500-seat cinema with twitch.tv/worldgaming providing online tournament coverage.Ivers is in his third year as a pro gamer but missed out on last year’s national finals because he was 20 days too young.He was competing in Dallas last week and Atlanta and Paris in February, scoring good son points by taking his mother with him to France.Giant robots and US$143K in prizes: Vancouver’s Piranha Games’ on Mech_Con 2016 and eSports in CanadaProfessional video gaming: Canadian and his team win $1M at Halo World Championship“It’s tough to take vacations and stuff because there’s always another tournament or I’ve always got to practise or I have to be away this weekend at a different place,” he said. “So I told my mom to just come and we’d kind of have a mini-vacation while I’m out there. So we stayed two extra days to kind of explore the city which was cool.”Not surprisingly, he’s enjoying the life and plans to keep doing it for a few years.“I think it’s a really good opportunity for me to continue to make a little bit of money and see the world a little bit,” he said. “And kind of see where it goes from there.”Ivers won some US$10,000 in prize money in 2016 and also was on salary with his team.“So I didn’t do too bad last year,” he said.And while he’s not driving a Porsche yet, his TV producer dad has one. “He doesn’t let me drive it yet.”Aside from work, Ivers doesn’t spend much time in front of a console. You won’t find him putting his feet up to play FIFA for fun.“I’m really drawn to the competition and the fact that I can make money playing,” he said. “So it’s kind of spoiled the rest of gaming for me in a way, because I don’t really play that many other games just casually.”Activision While he takes a controller and headset to work, it’s still serious business. Ivers moved to Michigan last year for several months to live and train with teammates at the Detroit Renegades.Ivers had a minor setback this week when a button on his controller stopped working properly. He’s calling in a loaner from a friend for the tournament.Players change teams regularly and Ivers plays with a different group in the “Call of Duty” World League. He estimates his team played six hours a day together in advance of last week’s event in Dallas.Each season, the pros decide which tournament maps they will use for the year.Gamers come with handles (Ivers is Ivy, for example) while Sunday’s broadcast team of Maven, Courage and Mr. X evokes memories of “Top Gun.”GIRG — which also includes Jevon (Goonjar) Gooljar-Lim, Peirce (Gunless) Hillman and Matteo (Royalty) Faithfull — is up against Ontario’s SetToDestroyX, Fury Gaming, 1Hype and Solar HQ and Quebec’s Earthroot Gaming, ReZist Esports and Team Impulse.I’m really drawn to the competition and the fact that I can make money playingThe name GIRG comes from the first letter of the members’ handles.Cineplex, seeing both a growing trend and another use for its theatres, got into the growing world of competitive gaming in September 2015 when it purchased WorldGaming for US$15 million while promising an additional $5-million investment “to expand the business model.”With PlayStation and game publisher Activision actively involved in the “Call of Duty” tournament, just about every part of the gaming equation is involved.And with the event starting at 10 a.m. and the final rounds set for 5-6 p.m., spectators will no doubt take advantage of the concessions.“The experience we offer not only to the teams and players but the fans is pretty cool,” said WorldGaming CEO Wim Stocks.At present, Cineplex has 24 theatres across the country — including two at the Scotiabank Theatre — that are equipped to host gaming events.WorldGaming ran a solo-player “Call of Duty” tournament last year with 18-year-of Allameen Ally of Brampton, Ont., taking home $20,000 for his “Call of Duty — Black Ops III” prowess.There were also “Street Fighter” and “Uncharted 4” competitions with events involving more games planned for this year. It also holds collegiate competitions.Sunday’s finalists survived online and regional qualifiers and online playoffs to get to the finals and the chance of the first-place purse of $20,000 and a trip to the 2017 CWL Anaheim Open.The Canadian Press