A Big Wind Blows Through Paris and
a Little One Through Europe

The backdoor of a bar in the rue de la Colombe

Jospin Moves Europe Out of Neutral

Paris:- Saturday, 14. June 1997:- I would like to remind all readers who were in Paris last Wednesday, that the weather that day was not normal. Around 15:30 the wind got very gusty, the sky got very turbulent and full of sparks and a lot of big rain came down suddenly.

The wind caused a fair bit of damage and a couple of people were killed or injured by falling trees or parts of them. A sizeable number of trees were knocked down out at Château de Versailles' park and it was closed the following day. There were also reports of roofs lifted and a tornado in a sports stadium. Some houses were hit by lightning too, which left them full of holes. Créteil was hit by hail too.

Violent weather is unusual in the Paris region, and I did not realize how serious it was at the time because I was safe in the very old and thick-walled law courts on the Ile-de-la-Cité.

Air Show at the Salon du Bourget

This semi-annual air market was opened by President Chirac today, and the public will be allowed to visit it tomorrow as well as next weekend.

I noted this salon some time ago and intended to cover it in some way; but in fact forgot all about it. The arms merchants are showing offMIG 29 at Air Show their 2,000 kph fighter-bombers, and ordinary citizens need one of these about as much as they need a toothache. The Russians are trying to peddle a sexy MIG 29 - I think - painted a very neat green, supposedly hinting it is a naval model.

Russian Mig 29 has snazzy paint-job.

France's own Serge Dassault showed up in his private 'Rafale.' This little sportster was built without the aid of a European committee, so it costs a lot less to buy than the committee-developed 'Eurofighter,' which is heavy on wire and probably still mostly 'on paper' after several years of development.

The Americans brought one of their old F-18's and I think the TV guy said it was sexy too. What they do; they fly fairly low and slow over the field and when they think everybody is looking, the driver gives it the hammer and they take off straight up, using their afterburners and running on unleaded nitro. Wow! We just saw 50,000 francs worth of super vaporized.

What the show is really about goes on in dim corners of far-off hangers or downtown luxury hotels, as Boeing and Airbus salesmen pummel small countries into buying huge new passenger planes - just so they can show their flags at a few of the world's airports.

Since none of this is news to anybody not in the market for the latest version of a 747, remember that the air museum at Bourget is open all the time and has a fine collection of aircraft, from the original boat-like affair with paddles, right up to a low-milage Concorde.

Lionel Jospin Finishes First Full Week On the Job

The new Prime Minister was very busy during Jospin, at one of many meetings the week - mostly trying to talk France's European partners in lightening up a little about the rules for the 'Euro' currency. As he promised, he is trying to get a little headroom into the 'rules,' so there is room to ease French and European unemployment.

France's new Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin on right, lost track of number of 'Euro' meetings during the week.

Germany is thinking along these lines too; that is, everybody in Germany except Chancellor Kohl and the feared lords of the Bundesbank.

This is how it is: Germans 'believe' in the Deutsche Mark. They 'believe' in dollars and yen too, but they are a bit skeptical about the franc, the peseta, the pound and the Italian lire is righ out of light-comedy. However, the German rate of unemployment is about the same as that in France, growth is as low as in France, inflation is low all over Europe, and interest rates are pretty low too.


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