30 March 2006

Paris: A trip to Monoprix can solve most problems

Monoprix is one of the primary grocery stores in Paris. It's often called a Citymarché and there are about 50 of them scattered around Paris.

There is also another store called ED. I don't know why it's named ED, but I assume there is a good reason. ED sells groceries. No frills, just groceries.

Monoprix has a diverse selection of goods. It is a bit like the U.S. store called SuperTarget, but only a fraction of the size. At Monoprix, one can buy an iron and laundry soap upstairs, then go to the street level for a bathing suit and some toothpaste (la pate dentifrice). Then it's down to the basement for groceries. The cashiers are usually inefficient or, at best, indifferent. Nothing can be done about it and we move on, bagging our own groceries so as not to disrupt the status quo.

Everything you could possibly need can be found at Monoprix. Dairy products are plentiful. The meat selection is marginal, but the meat case is clean and seemingly free of contaminates. I like that. The meat is packaged in small quantities, often with two small pieces in each film-wrapped package. This is better than making the investment in a seven-pound "Value Pack" that would never fit in a tiny fridge.

Downstairs, you can buy a round loaf of bread, but if you want bread in baguette form you have to go upstairs where the prepared foods are sold – closer to the street. Should you need frozen escargot, there are eight varieties. For the most part, I recognize all of the food groups, and most of the foods. They're all there. But, I read the labels carefully...just in case.

When it comes to prepared foods, there are always surprises. I love butter. I love salami. But, I wouldn’t have dreamt these ingredients could join between two slices of bread and be called a sandwich. Salads (other than green salads) are problematic. I tend to buy the salad if I like at least two of the ingredients. There is always a superfluous ingredient that I don’t care for, or would not have thought to include. I had a nice carrot and broccoli salad with a light dressing, but I had to eat the corn that was mixed in. Things are always a bit off-the-mark. Eggs are often to blame.

A visit to Monoprix can solve many of life's problems at a reasonable price. If all else fails, you can stop there for a couple of bottles of wine en route to your friends' apartment or the Tour Eifel.
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29 March 2006

When does the Mona Lisa look like Dick Cheney?

You don't need to brave the crowds at Musee Louvre to have some fun with the Mona Lisa. Click on the link below and use an interactive menu to give "Mona" some unusual facial expressions. This interactive feature can be found on the Web site of the
Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie.
30, avenue Corentin-Cariou
F-75930 Paris cedex 19
Tel: 01 40 05 70 00
Open Tues to Sat 10-6
and until 7 p.m. on Sun.

Click here for interactive Mona Lisa.
To make her look like Dick Cheney, click the button labeled "disdain."

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HDTV in France: Let them watch high-def

"France's Canal+ Group has announced that its premium channel Canal+ will be available in HDTV from next month, while its DTH platform CanalSat will debut National Geographic Channel HD. The news follows rival DTH platform TPS starting the marketing of its own HDTV offering to subscribers last month." -- Marie-Agnès Bruneau, C21 Media

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Sociologist: "It is a collective failure of the French system"

From The New York Times:

Opinion polls indicate that the French see globalization as a threat, not an opportunity. A sweeping survey of people in 22 countries released in January found that France was alone in disagreeing with the premise that that the best economic model is "the free enterprise system and free market economy."

In the poll, conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, only 36 percent of French respondents replied yes, compared with 59 percent in Italy, 65 percent in Germany, 66 percent in Britain, 71 percent in the United States and 74 percent in China.

"It is a collective failure of the French system," said Louis Chauvel, a sociologist who studies generational change. "You earn more doing nothing in retirement at the age of 60 to 65 than working full-time at the age of 35. And we have organized society so there is no room for new entrants."

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Paris: il fait trop chaud pour travailler

There are some people in France who oppose strikes and blockades against CPE legislation. Given the number of people in the streets and the results of national surveys, those in favor of CPE are a minority. But, I heard one group refer to themselves as the "silent majority." They want to graduate from school and go to work, they say. Such a group operates a Web site called "stop la greve."

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28 March 2006

Paris Manga - 2 Avril a Espace Champerret

Are you from the Manga generation? I don't know exactly what it is, so I can safely assume that I am not part of it. However, it looks like fun.

"While aficionados rediscover their favourite comic strip characters, newbies will get the opportunity to learn about the different styles of manga. Browse manga merchandising, toys and games and enjoy film screenings over an area of more than 2,000 sq.m. Guests and events will liven up a fun-filled day tailored especially for the manga generation." -- parisinfo.com

Click here to see the Paris Manga television commercial (publicite)

6, rue Jean-Oestreicher 75017 PARIS
Metro : Porte de Champerret
RER : C : Porte Maillot
Bus : 84, 92, 163, 164, 165
Information : 01 49 70 27 27
10h00 - 19h00

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New York Times: "Four Ways to Fire a Frenchman"

Christoph Kienzle's illustration (left) was part of a March 26 article in The New York Times. The article, by Craig S. Smith, is called "Four Ways to Fire a Frenchman."

The four methods are:
(1) Prove you can't afford the job
(2) Prove he did a bad, bad thing
(3) Pay him to scram
(4) Put him in the cupboard.

"The French government wants to make it easy to fire young workers. Easier firing, easier hiring, the logic goes. Who wants to add people to the permanent payroll if it's painful and costly to undo a mistake? The laws on 'licensement,' as firing in France is called, are complex enough to fill a book, but in the end there are essentially four ways for an employer to deliver a pink slip. All involve time or money or both, because employees who don't want to go quietly can file a complaint with the Conseil des Prud'hommes, the court that rules on terminations." -- New York Times

You can register and read the full article.

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Condoleezza Rice in Paris on Thursday

Three days before a visit to Paris by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the State Department warned Americans of violent protests in France and advised travelers to avoid city crowds. The security alert Monday advised Americans traveling or living in France to "avoid areas where crowds are expected to gather" and use caution because of sometimes violent demonstrations in Paris and other large cities over a divisive youth jobs law.

Rice will be in Paris on Thursday for talks with President Jacques Chirac on the Iranian nuclear standoff and other topics. She will only be in the city for a few hours and will not stay overnight.

"Recent demonstrations have occurred at times in areas frequented by tourists," the U.S. announcement said. "Some of the demonstrations may be announced, while others may be spontaneous. Police have responded by using tear gas. U.S. Embassy personnel have been advised to avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings." -- Associated Press

Team France: Premat & Lapierre head to Shanghai

Nicolas Lapierre, A1 Team France
A1 Team France heads to the final round of the new A1 Grand Prix Series at Shanghai aiming to round off its winning season with another victory in Shanghai. The team clinched the inaugural A1 Grand Prix championship in the last race at Laguna Seca having taken thirteen wins from twenty races, drivers Prémat and Lapierre taking seven and six wins respectively.

Alexandre Prémat adds: “Shanghai is another new track for me. I have some idea of what the track looks like with a good mixture of challenging corner and long straights. It’s quite twisty in some areas and the back straight leads into a corner where you can overtake under the right circumstances. I’m really looking forward to this, the last race of the year. Hopefully we can close the season with another good result for the team.” -- Auto Racing Daily

27 March 2006

CPE / en greve: Getting around Paris on Tuesday

"A general strike in France tomorrow to protest against an employment law will disrupt air, domestic rail and metro traffic, but not Eurostar services. Half of all metro trains are expected to run, while some air travellers could be stranded as many Air France services will be cancelled. About 200 demonstrations are planned across the country, with the largest in Paris. Tuesday's protest will be the sixth in about two weeks in Paris, some of which have turned violent."
-- Guardian Unlimited

Wheelchairs in Paris?

This appeared in the San Jose Mercury News:

Question. Is there anywhere in Paris to rent a wheelchair for a parent who is unable to walk long distances?

Answer. The French Government Tourist Office told us that some pharmacies in the Paris area rent wheelchairs. Try Pharmacie Thoraval, 264 Boulevard Voltaire. You can send e-mail to pharmacie.thoraval@wanadoo.fr or call 011-33-1-43-73-51-73 to reserve one before your arrival.

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24 March 2006

Paris on two wheels

23 March 2006

Paris and beyond: Students continue to mobilise

Thursday 23 March
"As we speak..."
News about the anti-CPE mobilisation
Teargas fired and arrests made as police clear Angers train station by force.
Situation in Paris appears to have calmed substantially.
Sky news footage now showing Riot police charging protesters by the Seine. One protestor appeared to fall from a 40 foot wall to the side of the Seine. We cannot confirm this at this moment in time.
Riot now being shown live on SKY news- hundreds fighting CRS riot police.
Violent confrontations between hundreds of youths and the CRS riot police in the Boulevard d’Invalides according the tf1.
Between 104,000 (police figure) and 210,000 (organisers figures) marching in Paris, where the demonstration has arrived at its finishing point of the Esplanade d’Invalides. This figure is up from last Thursdays students dmeonstration, which was estimated at being between 33,000 - 120,000 strong.
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Crocodile tears in Paris -- and beyond

OK everyone, it's time to call your favorite "Preppy" friend and console him. The founder of Lacoste has passed away. Those polo shirt collars that every prepster likes to snap, will be at half-staff today in honor of Monsieur Lacoste. Among other places, the news broke today on Inc. magazine's Web site.

"Bernard Lacoste, who turned a small family sportswear firm best known for its crocodile logo into a global clothing empire, died Tuesday in Paris at age 74." -- Inc.com

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21 March 2006

Gospel in Paris: Can I get an Amen?

Gospel Dream - Paris
31 mars à 20h30
The American Cathedral in Paris
23 Av Georges V
75008 Paris
Métro: Georges V

Créée en 1990, la formation est aujourd'hui la plus active d'un chant liturgique en plein essor depuis la fin des années 90. Ensemble mixte et cosmopolite de chanteurs et musiciens noirs, Gospel Dream réunit cinq ténors, six voix féminines, soprano et contralto, deux chanteurs dans le registre basse, ainsi qu'un pianiste et un trompettiste.

Vintage photo memoir exposes a secret Paris

"In Brassai's photography we have a textbook example of candid photography being used as a tool for cultural investigation at the beginning of its golden age." -- New Republic

Publisher's comments:
The Secret Paris of the '30s

Alone, or in the company of friends, Brassai discovered and recorded the forbidden Paris of the 1930s--the sordid yet fascinating bas-monde where high society mingled with the underworld. The Secret Paris of the '30s is one of the most remarkable photographic memoirs ever published. 150 photos. This volume contains many photographs taken by Brassai which have never had wide circulation before because of their daring nature. His subject is the forbidden Paris of the 1930s, its opium dens, its brothels and its whores, where high society mingled with the underworld.

ISBN: 0500271089
Author: Brassai
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Publication Date: June 2001
Dimensions: 10.6 x 8.26 x .70 inches

20 March 2006

Getting home before dawn: the Paris bus system after hours

With Noctilien, you can travel throughout Ile-de-France all night long. It operates every night from 12:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. If you waste all of your money in the clubs or your wallet is pinched by one of Paris's talented pick-pockets, you can still make your way home on the Noctilien if you can find some coins. For details in English, click here.

Carte Orange, Intégrale, Imagine R and Mobilis can be used on the Noctilien Network. Sans these types of passes, one can use a single T-ticket and travel within zones one and two for EUR 1,40.

Buy your bus tickets ahead of time. It is not as easy as one would think to board the bus using cash. Drivers don't always have the time or patience to school you on the intricacies of public transport. The passengers will also start making "tsk tsk" noises - and you'll hear some heavy sighs - if your confusion keeps the bus from rolling promptly toward their French homes.

If you're staying for a month or more, buy a Carte Orange. You'll thank me later. Tourists can buy a carnet of ten T-Tickets for just under 11-euros. Once again, be prepared! Have a couple of tickets on you at all times.

If you need to travel to les banlieues, consult an itinerary Web site to calculate your total fare.
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Le Printemps du Cinema

When was the last time you went to the cinema and paid less than four euros? Le Printemps du Cinema offers you the opportunity to save money and watch some popular films. Click here for more details.

Ina Garten's "Barefoot in Paris" is not a new release, but it's still worthy of attention.

"Barefoot in Paris is suffused with Ina's love of the city, of the bustling outdoor markets and alluring little shops, of the bakeries and fromageries and charcuteries — of the wonderful celebration of food that you find on every street corner, in every neighborhood. So take a trip to Paris with the perfect guide — the Barefoot Contessa herself — in her most personal book yet."
The Food Network has been running a series of biography programs about its chefs and program hosts. Ina Garten, known as the Barefoot Contessa, is by far the most down to earth and intelligent of all the Food Network hosts. That she loves Paris makes her even more wonderful. Her book, Barefoot in Paris, can be purchased from Amazon France and Powell's Books -- among other places.

CPE mobilisation: citizen journalism in Paris

Citizen Journalism is alive and -- for the moment -- well. This 27-second clip from Paris shows the potential danger in standing too close to the police while protestors rage in the streets. I'm sure there is also footage out there that captures police throwing teargas canisters. One group throws rocks, the other throws teargas. Mobilisation is hell.

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19 March 2006

Mon Bon Chien: A dog bakery for Paris

From the International Herald Tribune:
Mon Bon Chien, a tiled purple-and- white storefront on a tranquil street, is an innovation in a city renowned for pampering its population of 200,000 pooches by welcoming them in bistros and, occasionally, five-star hotels.

The innovator is an American pastry chef, Harriet Sternstein, who met with incredulity when she opened the store in June but has apparently succeeded in selling her high concept of a peanut butter "plat du jour" to French dog owners and their beloved "toutous."

It took her five months to obtain a commercial license; this involved formal presentations to French officials. (She pressed them to taste the carob pupcakes; they said they had already lunched.)
12, rue Mademoiselle - 15eme - M. Commerce - Tél/Fax 01 48 28 40 12

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17 March 2006

Navigating Paris:
Don't be in the dark when you get to the City of Light

You might be brimming with confidence before you step out of your hotel and into the streets of Paris for the first time. What you don't know is that within minutes Paris will begin to challenge you.

Don't take offense, she does this to everyone. The important thing is to be prepared and relax. You will not conquer Paris, you will experience Paris. If you think you're in charge, Paris will quickly set you straight. In the timeless words of the Boy Scouts of America, "Be prepared."

One indispensable tool I have used to decipher Paris is TimeOut Paris. A newspaper critic said the TimeOut city guide is "the most hip and culturally savvy I’ve used." And hip it is. It’s written in a casual tone that gives readers credit for having a brain and a sense of curiosity.

TimeOut Paris includes loads of sidebars and ancillary information that other guides omit. With its brief history lessons and invaluable information about the inner-workings of the City of Light. This book has saved the day on numerous occasions.

I once had to tear a page out of my TimeOut Paris guide and head out in search of a hospital. TimeOut and a taxi driver led me to the American Hospital of Paris. I only had a kidney stone, but these are the types of situations one does not anticipate while on holiday. Had I gone to the nearest hospital, I might have encountered a more complicated situation.

TimeOut magazines cover happenings in a dozen cities, including London and New York. In depth information is available in a series of annual travel guides written about cities from Budapest to Boston. I'd suggest you buy the most recent version of the city guide you need. If your local bookseller doesn’t have a current copy, try the TimeOut New York Web site, or the TimeOut Web site in the UK.

Check publication dates. Information changes and you might prefer to wait until mid-spring to buy the most current Paris guide.

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16 March 2006

You should know Lauren B. Davis

On 4 April - from 13h30 to 16h30 - Lauren B. Davis, author of THE RADIANT CITY will teach an afternoon workshop at WICE. It is limited to 12 students. You must be a member of WICE to register.

On 6 April - at 19:00 - Lauren will be reading from THE RADIANT CITY at the Canadian Cultural Center at 5, rue de Constantine, in the 7th Arrondissement.

THE PARIS VOICE SAYS: "In her beautiful new novel, The Radiant City, Canadian writer Lauren B. Davis evokes a Paris that is decidedly on the edge ... a cohesive, beautiful, and stunningly realistic portrait of life on the fringes of the City of Light, far away from the haute couture and tourist destinations that fiction about Paris is known for.

Renaissance: le film du Christian Volckman (Paris 2054)

"2054. Dans un Paris labyrinthique où chaque fait et geste est contrôlé et filmé, Ilona Tasuiev, une jeune scientifique jalousée par tous pour sa beauté et son intelligence, est kidnappée. Avalon, l'entreprise qui emploie Ilona, fait pression sur Karas, un policier controversé, spécialisé dans les affaires d'enlèvement, pour retrouver au plus vite la disparue. Karas sent rapidement une présence dans son sillage. Il n'est pas seul sur les traces d'Ilona et ses poursuivants semblent prêts à tout pour le devancer. Retrouver Ilona devient vital : la jeune femme est l'enjeu d'une guerre occulte qui la dépasse. Elle est la clef d'un protocole mettant en cause le futur du genre humain. Le protocole Renaissance..."

band-annonce / trailer

15 March 2006

Nuit de la Saint Patrick: Paris goes green

On 18 March The Palais Omnisports at Paris Bercy will host the Lorient Interceltic Festival in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.
Visit the online billeterie (or FNAC) for tickets. General information and details about parking and transportation can be found at La Nuit de la Saint Patrick. The evening will feature 150 musicians and dancers, including the Irish traditional band TEADA (pictured). Le grand fest noz begins at 18h00 and continues into the early morning hours.

Sixty-three universities on strike; 50 occupied by students, says UNEF

March 14 (Bloomberg) -- Most French universities were blockaded today as thousands of students protested against Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin's new labor law. Unions and student organisations, including Unef, the country's largest, say the law, which allows companies to fire workers under 26 within the first two years of employment with little notice or severance, encourages the replacement of staff and is hard on the young.

In one of the biggest challenges faced by de Villepin in his 10 months as the head of the government, universities in Marseille, Bordeaux, Grenoble and Rennes joined Paris to intensify pressure on him to revoke the law. De Villepin introduced the ``first employment contract,'' known by its French acronym CPE, to loosen labor laws, arguing it would increase flexibility and cut unemployment, which is 9.6 percent nationwide and 22.8 percent among the young. Labor unions plan more protests on March 16 and March 18.
``We'll go on until the government gives in,'' said Nadjet Boubekeur, a 25-year-old history student in Paris, and Unef spokeswoman. ``If protests continue long enough, the easiest way out for them will be to repeal the law.''
Click here for ongoing reports in English (the source is libcom.org - I can't vouch for their objectivity, but it appears that reports and photos are being posted frequently.)

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"Ne restons pas les bras croisés devant les Français"

From LeMonde.fr
M. de Villepin a rappelé que le CPE prévoyait "un filet de sécurité", dont il souhaite qu'il "soit étendu avec les partenaires sociaux en cas de rupture" du contrat. "Au bout de quelques mois, les jeunes pourraient avoir un droit à la formation de trois mois, avec un complément de rémunération", a-t-il redit. S'agissant de l'évaluation du dispositif tous les six mois avec les partenaires sociaux, une autre piste avancée dimanche soir sur TF1, le premier ministre a lancé : "Si cette évaluation montre qu'il y a quelque chose à ajuster, qu'il y a des éléments à ajouter, nous le ferons pragmatiquement". "En attendant, essayons, avançons, ne restons pas les bras croisés devant les Français", a-t-il ajouté en demandant à M. Hollande de "descendre dans la vie réelle" et de "faire preuve jour après jour d'esprit de responsabilité".

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14 March 2006

Julliard: "...the street will speak"

He said that the law will be applied.
My reply is that the street will speak.

-- Bruno Julliard of UNEF, to the AFP news agency.

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The young French workforce: precarious job or no job at all

An excerpt from Peter Ford's Christian Science Monitor story (08.03.06)
"...Youth unemployment in France, among the highest in Europe, stands at 23 percent, more than double the US rate. Joblessness was one of the sparks that lit the fires that young rioters set in Parisian suburbs last November. Five years after finishing their studies, more than a fifth of French twentysomethings still do not have a job.

Yet a government scheme to encourage firms to hire more young people drew hundreds of thousands of protesters onto the streets of 160 towns and cities in France Tuesday, amid widespread fears that the plan will undermine the country's traditionally high levels of job security.

'Young people are being made to choose between a precarious job and no job at all,' complained Charlotte Basquin, a law student in Paris, as she prepared to join a demonstration against the government."

11 March 2006

Teen hostages released: "Sympatique" gunman allowed students to send text messages to parents

I am convinced that the teacher who took 21 students hostage at a high school where he used to work is not a violent criminal. To the benefit of all, his motives had more to do with being unemployed, despondent and allegedly drunk. He used rubber bullets, vowed not to hurt anybody and allowed students to "text" their parents on cell phones. If he were any more harmless, he might have packed a picnic basket. But, one never knows what goes on in the minds of the mentally ill. It's good news that a bad situation was promptly resolved. Some students returned to school the next day.

I don't mean to negate the severity of this event. As a professional cynic and detached observer of world events I would say this crime was brief and ended well, even for the suspect. Perhaps Monsieur Vilpail will get the help that he needs. In the United States, I fear he would have been obliterated before being given that oppportunity. Situations like this often end violently. Vilpail's consideration for the students and two teachers suggests that his mental state was a major component of his actions.

The AFP had this to say...
"A former teacher who took 23 people hostage in a western French school before surrendering was put in a psychiatric hospital Friday suffering apparent paranoia, a state prosecutor said. Nicolas Vilpail, 33, sparked a five-hour police standoff at the school in Sable-sur-Sarthe on Thursday when he locked himself in a classroom where he taught two years ago with 21 teenaged students and two class supervisors.

He eventually released the hostages unharmed and surrendered without violence after prolonged negotiations. Officials said he had used a pistol that fired rubber bullets to sequester the 23. In custody, Vilpail gave an 'incoherent' explanation for his actions." (source: AFP, photo: AFP)
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09 March 2006

Les Jeunes Otages : Lycée Colbert de Torcy - à Sablé-sur-Sarthe (Hostages held near Le Mans)

Excerpt from Associated Press
A former teacher armed with a handgun and reportedly suffering from depression took about 20 hostages Thursday, most of them students, in a high school classroom, police said. Police said that 18 of the hostages were students, and LCI television reported that a teacher and another school employee were also taken captive.A school receptionist said the former teacher had promised not to harm the students.
Excerpt from Le Figaro
La prise d'otage a débuté vers 14h30. «La Conseillère principale d'éducation a réussi à sortir du bâtiment pour alerter les gendarmes» explique-t-on au lycée. «Il y a presque une centaine de gendarmes sur les lieux» précise-t-on. «Le contact a été établi» entre le preneur d'otages et le préfet de la Sarthe, qui est sur place, a indiqué son directeur de cabinet, Patrice Hatton, en fin d'après-midi. «Il souhaite exprimer ses difficultés devant la presse», a-t-il ajouté.

L'homme, «une personne sympathique» selon l'employée du lycée interrogée par lefigaro.fr, était entré dans une «grosse déprime» depuis son exclusion du lycée. «Il a affirmé qu'il ne ferait rien aux élèves mais réclame de rencontrer François Fillon». Ancien ministre de l'Education, sénateur UMP de la Sarthe et ancien maire de Sablé, François Fillon était jeudi en déplacement à Londres et devait regagner son département dans la soirée, a-t-on appris dans son entourage.
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Bird flu allegations at Disneyland Paris

This swan was photographed in Switzerland. She had "no comment" about, and claimed complete neutrality on, reports that a dead swan was allegedly found at Disneyland Paris. Bird flu rumours were widely reported, but remain unproven. Park officials blame workers' unions for the allegations. See an excerpt of Adam Sage's report posted below.
"DISNEYLAND PARIS was accused yesterday of hiding a dead swan as panic over bird flu spread across Europe. The allegations, angrily denied by the resort, were made by trade unions who said managers had hushed up the discovery to avoid scaring off visitors. The row came amid what experts are describing as an avian flu psychosis after the arrival of the H5N1 virus.

In France, police officers have been sent to shoot wild ducks, the fire service has been inundated with requests to pick up dead pigeons, and cockerels banned from fighting are allegedly expiring from apoplexy. The scare reached Disneyland when two unions, the French Democratic Workers Confederation and Workers’ Force, said staff has seen a dead swan in the adventure park.

Although there was no suggestion the swan had fallen victim to bird flu — or even proof that it had actually existed — the report featured prominently on the radio news." (London Times)
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08 March 2006

Bruno Julliard : "Un grand succès" (la journée de mobilisation)

Bruno Julliard, president of France's national student union (l'UNEF), called today's massive rallies across France "Un grand succès." L'UNEF said that 1 million people took to the streets in 160 events nationwide to protest new legislation that treats young workers differently than older workers. A public poll says that two-thirds of people in France believe today's rallies were justified. Listen to Monsieur Julliard's comments here.
"Large crowds took part in peaceful rallies in Paris, Rennes, Marseilles, Grenoble and Nantes. Air traffic and transport in 35 cities experienced some disturbances. The government wants to let firms offer job contracts to people under 26 which would make it easier for them to be fired at short notice. Critics warn that the new legislation, which currently only applies to small firms, could be misused by larger employers and make it even harder for young people to find a permanent job." (BBC)

"Près des deux tiers des Français (65 %) jugent 'justifiée' la journée de mobilisation du mardi 7 mars contre le contrat première embauche, selon un sondage BVA pour BFM et Les Echos daté de mardi. Les personnes interrogées estiment à 35 % 'tout à fait justifié', à 30 % 'plutôt justifié' le mouvement du 7 mars, tandis que 17 % considèrent cette journée d'action comme 'pas vraiment justifiée' et 14 % 'pas du tout justifiée'. Le pourcentage de Français favorables aux manifestations de mardi s'élève à 82 % chez les sympathisants de gauche et à 36 % chez les sympathisants de droite. En février, lors d'une précédente enquête, 67 % des Français jugeaient 'justifée' la journée de mobilisation du 7 février contre le CPE, contre 31 % d'un avis contraire." (Le Monde)
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07 March 2006

Ségolène Royal, president of France?

From Kim Willsher, GUARDIAN: Ségolène Royal is a one-woman revolution. Little more than a year from polling day in France and the phénomène Ségo is gathering strength. She is up against centuries of ingrained sexism, but there is a growing sense that this elegant luminary of the Socialist party could become France's first Madame la Présidente. (photo: Martin Bernetti/AFP)

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