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 was protecting the surrounding buildings, mostly apartments.

Local residents evacuated themselves to take refuge in a local restaurant. Things are so jumbled together in Paris, that when a burning film studio next to your house is blazing, you just pop around to the local to wait it out.

The site of the big fire last Tuesday. There were no reported injuries.

The demolition-renovation under way was intended to re-do the studios as a film technician school, run by a foundation known as the Femis. While the work was going on, the students were exiled to Seine-Saint-Denis; and they were scheduled to return this coming September.

Night Club To Go At Auction

Behind the door at number eight, rue du Faubourg-Montmartre, sits an empty night club called the Palace. It has seen no night clubbers since 1. January 1997.

Last Monday, notaries led a group of four possible individual bidders into the 3,000 square-metre cavern, which has not be touched by a whisk-broom since it closed, nor has it been visited by plumbers to stop up leaks.

In a short word, the joint's a mess. The main room, which is a classified historical monument - eh oui! - has puddles, but the bar has bottles and ashtrays. Performer's dressing rooms are in pretty good shape, but the offices are a shambles. In short, again, the joint needs a lot of work.

It's starting price is expected to be 22 million francs, but it may go for as little as 16.5 million if no one proposes at least 20 million on the day of the auction. Regardless of the work required to fix it up, there are not many 3,000 square-metre night clubs available in downtown Paris these days, so it is hard to imagine that there will be no takers.

Two other visits are programmed for interested parties, on the 12. and 21. March. The auction will take place on Tuesday, 24. March. Info. Tel.: 01 44 82 24 92.

The Trial of Maurice Papon

The week wrapped up the final witnesses and on Monday the civil attorneys will begin their summations.

During the 79th session of the trail last Wednesday, the 87th and last witness testified. This was Jean Pierre-Bloch, 93, who was one of the leaders of General de Gaulle's intelligence service while the General was in England during the occupation.

This service, the BCRA, had lists of all sympathizers in important positions in occupied France, and Mr. Bloch said, Maurice Papon's name was not on them.

For those not on the list, there were other lists with names of those who would replace the Vichy functionaries - and Maurice Papon's name was not on these lists either.

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: 65th Paris-Nice Bike Race

This was expected to start Sunday on the rue de Verdunrestos 4 temps in Suresnes, and finish 10.2 kilometres later in the avenue Foch in Paris. While a beginning to a race like this is called a 'prologue,' it is against the clock, and the score will count in the end.

Typical mall restaurants in a typical Parisian mall.

It is probably a nice race, running up hills in Suresnes and down to the bridge, then across the Bois de Boulogne along the Allée de Longchamp, a twirl around the place Dauphine and a sprint up Foch.

I wonder how long it takes, if it is against the clock? How does bike racing expect to get new fans if all the reports are about riders, and there are no facts, facts, facts?

Other SportsNews:- France beat Ireland this afternoon, 18 to 16, in the second game of the Five-Nations Rugby Tournament. France is already hoping for a Grand 'Chelem,' but the rugby fan in this household said the Irish played better throughout the game and only lost by a fluke.

The World Cup SportsBar Now Open 35 Hours a Week

Real SportsFans hang out the SportsBar for 35 hours a week, at the Football Café, and have relaxing pitchers of hot beer with cubed ice while discussing the finer points of the game of football, without getting too 'philopsycho' about it. If the game takes longer than 35 hours, SportsFans go into overtime. Existentialy 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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