Weather and Lucky Valentines

Bistro a Vins L'Escale
In a lot of sun, on the Ile Saint Louis on Friday.

Short News This Week On Account of Too Much Fresh Air

Paris:- Saturday, 14. February 1998:- I won't say everybody is talking about the weather but I suspect somebody is doing something about it.

On Thursday, France broke a record set in 1873 by having a official temperature of 17.6 degrees centigrade. The precise location in France of this recorded temperature is unknown.

According to Mr. Weatherman, an Azores high has been covering most of Europe since Tuesday, 10. February. In addition, dry air is being puffed at us from Africa.

The weatherman also says we are not to worry too much about this being part of global warming or one of El Nino's tricks; this sort of weather turns up about once in every three years. It is expected to last until Tuesday.

Air Pollution

The other side of the warm weather coin is air pollution, caused in part by a relative lack of wind. Paris had a couple of 'level two' alerts last week.

At the moment, when they are called the main restriction is a reduction in the speed limits. I think we had a 'level two' on Wednesday and for a short time on Thursday - which was officially extended to all day.

terrace of the OasisThis enabled the subject to return to news forums, so that the authorities could roll out a new plan. This involves sticking a green dot on 'clean' late-model cars and the ones with the green dot will be allowed to roll on days when there is odd-even restrictions.

On the terrace of the 'Oasis.'

Another report complained that a lot of French cars are too old - my own for example - and these are, of course, cars that could not get a green dot. The tone of the report suggested that we are driving old cars in order to be perverse, rather than what we really are - poor.

Just as there are all sorts of people angling for exemptions from the odd-even regulations, some 'dirty' vehicles will not be subject to the green dot rules. These include motorcycles, motor bikes and scooters, the cleanest of which are more than four times dirtier than a car.

Drivers running car pools will be able to get a green dot so presumably I'll be able to continue hauling kids across the ridge in the mornings. I think walking would do them good, but the highways department has decided the route can do without sidewalks.

Friday, 13. February: Crazy Day!

Some French people don't care for Friday the 13th but they are outnumbered by those who think 13 is an especially lucky number.

Yesterday, I had strange reports from Paris. What with it being the eve of Saint Valentine's day as well as a Friday, people were reported to be behaving oddly - although I didn't notice anything in particular myself.

On the last occasion, Friday, 13. June 1997, the Loto took in 84 percent more money than normal. This belief in the luckiness of the 13 goes back a long way, as does the opposite belief. Clovis was apparently a pro-13 type as was Louis XIV...

Robert De Niro is More Than Just Annoyed

The American actor who is making a film in France with John Frankenheimer, returned as planned to Paris Monday evening from a weekend in the United States.

Early on Tuesday morning around 8:45 he was picked up by six to eight policemen from where he is entry Bibliotheque Historique staying at the Hotel Bristol, and taken to the quai des Orfèvres and questioned for two and a half hours.

Mr. De Niro was held all day Tuesday, and he had another three-hour session to 'answer three questions' on Tuesday evening at the Palais de Justice with the judge, Frédéric N'Guyen. He was finally freed about 21:00.

Mr. De Niro is not happy about this and has instructed his lawyer to file a civil complaint against the judge, for unlawful detention and for violating the rules of confidentiality relating to a criminal case.

The entry to the Bibliothèque Historique in the Marais.

Even though this has probably been reported elsewhere, I am not going to say anything about the nature of the judge's investigation. Mr. De Niro seems to have been questioned as a possible witness, but for some reason was treated as if serious charges may be pending against him. He is said to be annoyed

The Trial of Maurice Papon Continues

I heard radio reports about the trial during the week, but as I was assembling this week's news I found no reports handy. At the last moment I have just had time to glance at an account which says that the accusations which seemed so solid last October when the trial began, do not seem to be so watertight now.

During the week, witnesses were heard, concerning another convoy of 'deportees.' I believe this is the last convoy that will be discussed during this trail, and the case will move to a new phase next week.

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.

SportsNews: France Gets Winter Olympics' Gold

When I was younger I used to greatly enjoy the Olympic games. They were on only once every four years and you didn't have to follow any of the sports in between. The Olympics were here! and now! and you followed them for ten days and afterwards they were gone again.

Nowdays there are Olympics Games all the time and in winter as well as summer. Sore losers from the last one go around moaning about the rotten judges or their crummy shoelaces, and all the new ones coming Cretier: Sat Parisien up keep getting busted for steroids or drinking coffee.

The current winter Olympics, as far as I can tell from radio reports, are causing a lot of headaches because they are apparently taking place in someplace where it is currently winter.

Countless competitions have had to be canceled because of snow or ice or some other uncommon hazard, such as fog, or even thawing. Somehow, without any advance warning, a French nobody skier named Jean-Luc Crétier zoomed out of the gloom, to win the Men's Downhill something or other.

Even more astonishing, the 31 year-old skier had never won before, despite a 13-year career. According to reports, all sorts of other skiers have suddenly remembered him as looking like he was going to win something big soon - but according to TV-news, Jean-Luc Crétier looked more surprised than anybody else.

While Parisians were sunk in total despair over the fate of their hapless PSG football club, which is pretty much all of the time, France woke up happy this morning - to find that somebody French had won something for the first time since Jean-Claude Killy won the same something, exactly 30 years ago.

The World Cup SportsBar Never Sleeps; May Doze a Bit

Real SportsFans should hang out the SportsBar where the fans have all the nogegg they can make themselves, at the Football Café, and have relaxing bowls of hot watercress while discussing the finer points of the world of football, without getting too 'psychohypo' about it. Too cool.

Less uplifting are the 'official' Web sites: represented by the FIFA - which stands for Federation International - and the French Organizing Committee, known to all far and wide as the CFO. I don't what the initials stand for, just like RATP does not sound like métro to me.

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