...Continued from page 1

If you have kids, half of their infections seem to come from the air, doctors say. Doctors know it, from years of observation; and parents know it from the amount of time they spend sitting around in doctor's waiting rooms with a lot of sick kids.

There is no heavy industry around Paris; what there was moved away long ago. What we have here, is a government policy which promotes the sale of cars and light trucks with diesel motors, through low taxes on diesel fuel. At the pump, diesel costs about 25 percent less than unleaded super. The tax on all fuels, is about 80 percent of the pump price.

The RATP-SNCF reckon they lost about 16 million francs worth of fares in the Ile-de-France on Wednesday - although not from monthly-ticket holders who have already paid the full shot. To this they added a small bill for the cost of posters - pre-printed for the occasion - congratulating themselves for providing pollution-free public transport.

The syndicate of public transport will present the bill for this loss to the city of Paris, the seven departments surrounding Paris, and the central government. Taxpayers will pay it all.

When Paris has permanent pollution-free air, taxpayers will pay for it, just like we pay for garbage collection.

Meanwhile, Parisians handled it pretty well on Wednesday. Some of them rented electric-powered cars.

TV-News: France 2's Bruno Gets Bumped

I am not a great fan of French TV-news; but I have been catching it nearly every evening at 20:00 for 15 or 20 years. Like all news everywhere these days; the 'foreign' reports are mostly about disasters or wars and many times France is treated as if it were an island in the Pacific; sometimes one where bananas seem to be the main crop.

The 'presenter' of the news can make a difference. Since 'news' on TV has become showbusiness, it can sometimes be treated as a sort of macabre entertainment; shrill and breathlessly.

For 13 years Bruno Masure has done it differently. For one thing, Bruno wrote the words he spoke and he spoke them in good, even and pleasantly-modulated French. If I could speak French, I'd like to do it like Bruno.

Starting out in radio, he moved to TF1 as a political reporter while it was still state-owned. In September 1984, he took over the anchorman-slot on the main 20:00 TV-news. The state sold 'our' TF1 and hired a game-show presenter to do the news, and Bruno moved over to Antenne 2 - now called 'France 2.'

This is a tough job, handling 30 to 40 minutes of news each night, and he alternated with some other good men; but Bruno was the best of all.

France in panic? Calm Bruno had a little play on words that reduced the heat. France in fear? Bruno could put fact two first, followed by fact one; thus reducing the impact and adding perspective.

He had a habit of turning up perfectly droll little stories and truly clever puns to end a half-hour of war, famine, terror, and catastrophe - like a model bullfighter getting the bull planted - to sit still through the commercials - until the weather forecast.

Because of this, Bruno Masure was also the most popular news 'presenter' year-in and year-out in France; although Bastille from free bus often outrated by rival TF1. I do not know why this could be, because I never watched TF1 after the government sold it.

On Wednesday, Bruno told us about how well we handled this exceptional day. On Thursday he gave his last newscast on France 2, TV-news, ending at 20:35.

The actual pollution level-3 was reached the day before Paris' Pollution Day.

After the last show, the usual half-hour of bitter criticism by the editorial team lasted exactly one minute. Then they - secretaries, technicians, journalists; 60 in all - had a 'pot' for Bruno which lasted an hour before he drove off in a 205 to have dinner with friends.

Bruno's replacements in the number-one hotseat are well-known and respected faces and I will be glad to see Paul Amar back if he is one of them; but I'm sure everybody is going to miss those close-the-show puns.

One last thing. Bruno Masure wore consistently perfect shirts.

Birthday for Sputnik Today

Launched on Friday, 4. October 1957, space travel started with a Russian-made little metal ball that went 'beep-beep' as it circled the earth, while the US military establishment went ape. Things have not been the same since then, and it was the last year the 1957 Chevrolet was manufactured.

Sports News

Alain Prost, who has just installed a Formula One factory in a town near Versailles, spent part of the week trying to convince his new neighbors that Formula One motors do not make much noise.


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