There Are a Large Number of French in France

winebar Aux Negociants
The patron here likes a good chat, but not at lunch time.

Number Two in Europe After Germany, Darn It!

Paris:- Saturday, 7. February 1998:- France's population didn't quite manage to break the 61 million barrier, coming in at 39,400 short, according to the latest statistics.

Some years ago, a consumer magazine changed its name from '50 Millions' to '60 Millions' of consumers, and it still hasn't happened. When France counts its population, it includes all overseas citizens - in mainland France itself, there are merely 58.7 million French people.

The statistics people are very annoyed that France is only increasing its population at a rate of about 230,000 a year. As a percentage, this amounts to a mere 0.4 percent, which is the lowest rate in the last 20 years.

Unless the numbers people count all people living in France as French, they have not provided any numbers for foreigners living in the country - and I know for a fact that there are more than three or four.

The National Assembly Votes for the 35-hour Week

After debating the issue during the week La Boheme Galante in the Assembly National, a vote was held yesterday evening and the new law was passed.

Martine Aubry herded the measure through the legislative assembly with considerable aplomb, and managed to have the essential points retained more or less intact.

If Twiggy had a shop in Montmartre, it might look like this.

As it is apparently of no importance whatsoever, Saturday's Le Parisien didn't bother to mention the score. The deputies voted one way of the other and the majority won by 'X' votes and everybody went home for the weekend.

The Trial of Papon Is Still On - Sort Of

While the court heard testimony last week about the 12. January 1944 convoy of 'deportees,' things were a little unquiet behind the scenes.

Last week's bomb concerning the relationship or not of the court's president to a certain family of victims, kept on ticking, without a word being said about it.

Outside the court it was a different story. France's Attorney General, Mme Guigou, said on a visit to Bordeaux that the country didn't need a 'trial within the trial' and indicated that Paris wanted the trial to continue with the existing president of the court, Mr. Castagnède.

Meanwhile, Bordeaux lawyers held a meeting and came out of it calling for sanctions against Arno Klarsfeld, who set off the bomb with a press release.

Only Mme Guigou or President Castagnède can file suits against Mr. Klarsfeld for slander and neither wants to do so.

Disciplinary action against Mr. Klarsfeld cannot be ordered by Bordeaux courts because he is registered with the bar in Paris. He was summoned to Paris yesterday for a discussion about the matter.

Web Sites With Contents About the Papon Trial:

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.

Germany Beats Unemployment Record

In January, 4,823,000 Germans were registered as job seekers, which pushed their rate up to 12.8 percent of the workforce, just beating out France's record of 12.2 percent for top jobless numbers.

To say the least, Bonn is worried; and Chancellor Kohl is planning to run for re-election in September on this record. So he has brought out the slogan of 'Work for All!' and his finance minister, Theo Waigel, claims its execution won't 'cost a pfennig.'

The unemployed in Germany seem a little doubtful about this. Last week, for the first time, they took a leaf from the French notebook, and occupied some employment offices and 40,000 held demos throughout the country.

These actions were shown on TV-news during the week. Many more Germans than French belong, or more accurately belonged, to strong, country-wide labor unions.

Although these go on strike only rarely, when they do they are highly organized. Thus, last week's demonstrators were well-equipped with banners and signs: 'Ich will Arbeit' seemed to be a fairly common slogan. This neatly matches Chancellor Kohl's 'Arbeit für Alles.'

Paris Grocery For Sale: Good Location

If you love Paris and you've always wanted to try your hand with the fruit and veggies, there's a shop on the place de la Madeleine - called Fauchon - that was for sale; but seems to have already changed hands.

The upscale take-away had been acquired from the family that has had it since 1896 by the Waldo Group. You've never heard of Waldo?

No, this is not the well-known Waldo Bini; this is some other Waldo, one that nobody seems to have heard of. Waldo seems to have nothing more in Paris than a mailbox and people are scratching their heads over it.

President Bill Gates Pays State Visit to France

On Tuesday, to minor bewilderment, the minister for Finance, Dominique Strass-Kahn, announced some sort of co-op deal with the software king of east Seattle. The minister said that state functionaries would be involved, as well as research centers - and the latter were somewhat surprised by the news.

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