...Continued from page 1

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

Jean-Marie Le Pen On Trial in Versailles

On 30. May 1997, between the first round of the last national elections and the second, Jean-Marie Le Pen St Germain gas station went to Mantes-la-Jolie with the intention of giving some campaigning aid to his daughter, who was running for office there.

Instead of doing this, he and his bodyguards got involved in a scuffle with the mayor, Annette Peulvast, and some Socialist Party supporters.

Not exactly a corner gas station, but right on the boulevard St. Germain.

This resulted in charges being laid against Mr. Le Pen and three of his bodyguards, as well as against 13 Socialist Party supporters. The mayor, Annette Peulvast, won the election and is now a deputy in the National Assembly.

The prosecution is being tough, partly because it has 'luxurious proof' in the form of TV-news video tape of the scuffle. The prosecution is therefore asking for a sentence of three months in jail, possibly suspended, plus two years of ineligibility of voting rights. Fines are asked for the bodyguards.

This peeved the leader of the National Front party and during a recess he is reported to has said, "To eliminate a political competitor who's bothering them, the Socialists have found a way: suppression of the right to vote. With similar procedures, dictators would have no need of gulags or concentration camps."

(I am not certain, but I think the suppression of the right to vote, is an effective prohibition to being a candidate for public office.)

Outside the courthouse, nearly a thousand demonstrated against the National Front Party; and the group included several deputies, some of whom are gearing up for coming regional elections.

Two youths had a banner with the slogan of 'F for Fascist, N for Nazi' - which the public prosecutor would probably like to punish with a fine, for slander.

The decision about Mr. Le Pen's penalty will be made known on Thursday, 2. April.

France Welcomes Year 2000, Modestly

Two-thirds has been whacked off an initial budget for France's celebration of the arrival of... the year 2000. This means Cafe Deux Magots there will be no monumental projects realized; no new pyramids, no new Tour Eiffels.

Of course, Paris may be richer than France, and go ahead with its own plans, but I think this is doubtful. On the whole, the lack of taxpayers money for this sort of extravaganza, may turn out to be a good thing.

Even in afternoon shadows, no sweaters, no coats.

People in France know how to party and are perfectly capable of doing it without the government or the administration putting on a 'package' show for them. With these bodies out of the picture, anything now becomes possible.

What it will really come down to: we will be able to choose our own music - for a change.

SportsNews: Winter Olympics Are Over

The World Cup SportsBar Now Open 8 Days a Week

Real SportsFans do hang out the SportsBar where the other fans have all the 0% beer they can make take, at the Football Café, and have relaxing bowls of hot won-tun soup while discussing the finer points of the world of football, without getting too 'psychopsycho' about it. Too ultra 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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