...Continued from page 1

When it resumes, the trial in Bordeaux is expected to last until 23. November. It made Le Parisien's front page only once last week.

Web sites devoted to the History and Trial of Maurice Papon

The Matisson family were the first to launch a civil case against Maurice Papon, in 1981. Jean-Marie Matisson runs the website, and reports from the courtroom. At the website, click on 'Affaire Papon.'

Another website of interest contains daily coverage of the trial by the Bordeaux paper, the Sud Ouest.

Parachutists Hit Champ de Mars

At the age of 14, André-Jacques Garnerin saw his first balloon in Paris. It was the Montgolfière of Pilâtre de Rozier and the Marquise d'Arlandes. It was on 31. January 1769, and it was man's first flight in an aircraft.

Garnerin made several flights himself before tree-picker, luxembourg being engulfed in the Revolution and its aftermath, which put him in a Hungarian prison for a time. While there he planned a parachute - which was also being sought by Montgolfière and d'Arlandes.

In 1797, Garnerin tossed his dog, wearing a parachute, off a balloon and the dog landed without harm. The other inventors immediately sued him.

Whatever the guy up the tree in the Luxembourg is doing, it is probably not parachutting.

Despite all these usual hassles, on 22. October 1797 at 5:28, he cut a rope attaching his parachute to a balloon at an altitude of 400 metres and safely landed, only stubbing his toe. With this feat, he became the world's first parachutist.

Of course I was ignorant of all this as I was watching TV-news on Wednesday night when they showed 75 parachutists jumping out of an airforce Transall, and floating down to the Champ de Mars - including Jean-Paul Belmondo, if I heard the commentary correctly.

France Has a Few Too Many Civil Servants

A couple of government memos found their way into the satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchainé last week, which has greatly upset various civil-service union leaders.

The gist of the memos is that France has 500,000 too many civil servants, and the cost of them is estimated at 150 billion francs. How this managed to be revealed on the same day as the budget is being debated in the Assembly National is a mystery, as are the sources of a lot of the revelations which appear in the Canard Enchainé.

The Minister of the Economy and Finance, Dominique Strauss-Kahnn refused to comment; which was described by one union leaders as a 'noisy silence.'

In case anyone is interested, the number of civil servants in France totals 5.2 million; but this includes over a million teachers, the army, and the public health services. The numbers working for the state ministries of the economy and finance only total 177,000.

Economic News of the Week

Robert Hue, leader of the French Communist Party, paid a visit last Thursday to New York City, to see Wall Street in person, from the viewpoint of the World Trade Center. He took a subway ride to a UN meeting, and met a lady from Nice who lives in the US, on the way. The United States did not collapse from shock.

Internet 'Hit-Parade' Tour

I have no idea what this is about, except that it was advertised in yesterday's Libération. Internet Tour 97 takes place on Thursday, 6. November in the foyer of the Grande Arche out at La Défense, at 16:00. 'Come and discover the hit-parade of the best Internet sites.' And, 'Everything you want to know about digital commerce and multimedia.' There is no entry charge for this event, whatever it is.

Sports News

Every Year about this time, the organizers of the coming - next summer! - Tour de France, announce, with Great! Fanfare! the three week-long race's route.

I suppose this is a service to the Tour's many fans, who appreciate having a bit more than enough time to plan where they are Le Fou du Roi going to stake themselves out, to watch the Tour whiz by once - although I think, with careful planning, some fans manage to 'follow' the Tour to some extent; thereby gaining status as 'Tour Groupies.'

Somehow I doubt that contestants in next year's 'Tour de France' will stop here for lunch, but you may.

The 85th 'Big Circle' starts its 1998 run in Dublin, which most readers will know is in the Irish Republic. Since Dublin will take two days to circle, on the third day the Tour will cycle down to Cork and will transfer from there by air to Roscoff, out on Brittany's tip.

Because of the World Cup soccer matches being held in France in early July, the '98 Tour will start on Saturday, 11. July and is expected to arrive for the final sprint on the Champs-Elysées, on Sunday, 2. August, after 21 days of racing.

The 85th edition of this classic road race is expected to be a little less strenuous than last summer's event. After the terrible tension of the World's Cup, this will no doubt be welcome news to sports fans; although some wives may grumble about the two events being back-to-back.


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