Fake Cow Annoys Farmers

La Canette de Belleville
Slightly on the mainstream, this bar is
right on the rue de Belleville.

French Election Fever Only Temporary

Paris:- Saturday, 7. March 1998:- While I was giving the Salon de l'Agriculture my superficial once-over last Wednesday, the world of science was preparing to announce a surprise of some importance.

The surprise has a name and it is Marguerite, a 14 day-old calf, 'fathered' by Jean-Paul Renard, director of research at the French Institute of Agriculture. Marguerite is a clone.

The news sent cattle breeders and cattlemen into a fury, coming as it did right in the middle of their giant PR show at the Porte de Versailles. Consumers are still down on beef on account of the 'vache folle' affair - an affair that does not seem to want to go away.

The spokesmen for the scientific research unit of the INRA played down the news by saying the clone wouldn't be used for breeding; they said it and the ones to follow would be used largely for research.

Technically, it was expected that Marguerite would be more successful that the lamb cloned in Scotland last year, because this one has not been cloned from an adult animal. This is supposed to be a big advance and the researchers at the INRA are very happy with it.

drogerie & scooterMeanwhile, here in boob-land, I don't know what to think. Will Marguerite cause poisonous fallout? Will Marguerite affect the ozone layer? Will Marguerite pollute downtown Paris?

One thing the rain does, it brings out colors by increasing contrasts.

More to the point I suppose, will Marguerite cause me to stop eating beef? The answer is no. I've already pretty much stopped eating it, because I can't find or afford any that tastes good.

If none of these scientists will say that they can make Marguerites that taste good, then I say it is all scientific wumpoo, and the advances with frozen pizza - also scientific - are more important to the near future of mankind in the funky western world.

I wouldn't mind if the scientificos would spend a little time with the lamentable taste of the common tomato, real soon.

Election Fever in France

The only cure for this malady is a vote, a mass stuffing of ballot boxes - which I believe may be planned for this month. The election in question, is for regional seats, and it seems to be considered quite important, as the campaign has been going on for years now.

That is not the good news. The good news is that both Jacques Chirac and Lionel Jospin have been very high scores in the opinion polls lately; both of them touching 60 percent approval ratings - which I believe is quite unusual in a democracy.

The papers also report strong support for the Socialists and their Communist allies in the Ile-de-France part of the campaign.

Why this is so, I have no idea. Again according to the papers, everyone seems to have conceded 15 percent of theEspace Russie vote to the ultra right-wing Front National party of Jean-Marie Le Pen; who in turn, seems to be having an internal spat with his number-two, Bruno Mégret.

The right-of-centre parties, the President's RPR and the slightly more liberal UDF, never seemed to have recovered from the election of their leader to the presidential post.

The Russian cultural centre has nothing to do with the elections.

Readers should note that the Socialist Party has three strong women in the cabinet, each of whom holds a major portfolio and seems to do so with ease.

This is what is happening, but I do not know what it means. I am not a political commentator so I am not going to even try and guess why France has shifted slightly to the left.

The UK went left. Chancellor Kohl is in a tough fight in his re-election bid in Germany, especially since the SPD seems to have pulled together behind one candidate, after wandering in the wilderness for many years.

Big Paris Fire

A couple of weeks ago, while wandering around the dreamland commonly known as Montmartre, I and a Metropole reader I was with happened by the entry to the Pathé movie studios.

A local resident told us the studios were being demolished and that there was only a couple of weeks before they would be gone. Because of that, I went back for a photo, and circled the whole block to see what I could. Well behind the entry, there was a huge barn of a place, which I have now learned contained six floors.

Last Tuesday, the studios caught on fire. Firemen who numbered 150, came from 18 fire halls to fight the blaze. Inpathe studios addition to saving the building itself, their first priority as protecting the surrounding buildings, mostly apartments.

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