...Continued from page 1

I don't pretend to understand the motive for attacking buses. It is flat-out aggressive behavior - perhaps in response to the authorities glossing over social and economic problems by draping them in inoffensive names - the result of living in 'sensitive' neighborhoods.

France Plans Conquest of 2000

While many countries have been quietly beavering away with plans for turn of the millennium celebrations, France has apparently been doing nothing except getting ready for the World Cup championships next summer.

This is not exactly correct because TV Japanese at Fauchon personality Yves Mourousi appointed himself chief of Paris' 'Mission 2000' two years ago, and this appointment was made official at the beginning of this year.

They're in because I couldn't wait any longer. Sorry, ladies.

On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Mourousi and Paris mayor, Jean Tiberi, laid out their plans, to take place between 3. September 1999 and 14. July 2001.

Here is what they are thinking about: the world's biggest sundial, a giant clock, a huge book, 2000 giant fish in the Seine, promenades along the Seine, a giant egg-laying by the Tour Eiffel, and a virtual 21st 'Internet' arrondissement are some of the projects.

However the most astonishing idea is to build another giant tower, beside the Seine in the 13th arrondissement.

Projected to be built of silver pine, reinforced with steel, the 200 metre-high tower would be topped with, and I am not making this up, a sort of airy Maple Leaf. The whole thing is to be called 'Tour de la Terre' and the idea is supposed to be supported by UNESCO.

The city is supposed to donate the land necessary and sponsors are supposed to put up 60 percent of the estimated cost of 200 million francs, with the rest to be raised by public subscription.

The timetable is tight. The architect reckons the promoters must have the land available no later than 1. July 1998 in order for the construction of the tower to be completed by November 1999.

The Paris sundial plan dates to the 1913 idea of astronomer Camille Flammarion, who proposed it for the place de la Concorde. WWI shot it down and the idea resurfaced for the Universal Exposition of 1937, but went nowhere.

Merry Pranksters at Work in France

On Wednesday, the National Assembly's postman had an extra job of delivering 577 small packages to the deputies. Each one contained a book, outlining the benefits of 'soft drugs,' and a nice big fat joint.

Officially, and for the benefit of alert TV-news reporters, the deputies were outraged - and several claimed they were going to return them to the sender, the CIRC, which is a 'Collective d'Information et de Recherche Cannabique.'

The Republic is humiliated said one deputy as he tossed his into a trashcan while another said he was putting his 'pétard' in the glass cabinet where he keeps all gifts. Two conservatives said they were going to lay charges and were keeping theirs as evidence.

Welcome Gift from SNCF

My local agent for France's state railway told me that 'carnets' of ten tickets are now available for travel on SNCF lines in the Paris region. There are all sorts of reasons for not getting the otherwise good deal that the Orange Card represents, so a 20 percent discount for the SNCF's carnet is welcome - and will match the saving realized by buying RATP métro and bus tickets by the 'carnet' of ten tickets. Versailles should be clicking its heels with joy.

High Speed from Paris to Brussels

Gal Lafayette treeThe SNCF's 'Thalys' service of TGV trains running between Paris and Brussels have just clipped 30 minutes from the time it takes to make the journey. What used to take nearly two hours has been reduced to a running time of one hour, 25 minutes - just slightly more than it would take me to get from my door to Gare du Nord.

This is not Galeries Lafayette's Year 2000 Space Needle.

Actually, we can thank the Belgians too, because they built the high-speed track from the French frontier to Brussels, making speeds of 300 kph for the whole distance possible.

The next steps are planned high-speed links to Amsterdam and Köln.

Sports News: None Live, This Week

World Cup SportsBar Is Still Open Though

Real SportsFans should pay a visit to the SportsBar where the fans hang out at the Football Café to have relaxing beers and discuss the finer points of the life of football, without getting too 'psychorigide' about it. Cool.

More uptight are the 'official' Web sites as represenred by the FIFA, which stands for Federation International; and there is also the French Organizing Committee, known to all far and wide as the CFO.


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