...Continued from page 1

I wish they would just do it and quit fooling around. When I go to Spain I change over to pesetas as soon as I cross the border and when I want some cash, an ATM there gives me oodles of pesetas instead of francs. There are always some pesetas left over from the previous year and I try to remember to take these in case I get thirsty before I see an ATM.

M-R says the change-over will be easier than when the quid got divided by ten instead of twelve - but there are a lot of people in France, not all of them old, still doing their sums in 'old' francs. Calculating in these can generate quite startling sums for humdrum items.

World Cup Fakes

Apparently there are no less than 1500 individual articles which carry the official World Cup logos. About 800 to 1000 shoppers a day are passing through the World Cup souvenir shop on the Champs-Elysées, and some of them are spending money there.

A related story is the one about how many of these 'official' World Cup articles are fakes. The photo in yesterday's Le Parisien shows a young lady holding up two footballs and one of them is a phoney.

Anybody can see this at a glance. The 'official' Addidas one is made on a piece-work basis by kids in Pakistan, and the 'fake' onebeaubourg is made on a piece-work basis by kids in... you name some country that pays less than in Pakistan.

Le Parisien tosses a lot of numbers around but does not actually say how many of the 1500 'official' items have been counterfeited so far. I think their huge numbers refer to how many 'official' throw-away razors have been seized.

Beaubourg is definitately open - a little bit.

Just so fakers can't say they weren't warned, the paper says the customs agents and anti-fraud squads are gearing up for a super action, to take place in all ten cities where the games will be played, starting the day of the first match.

Police Hold Surprise Round-Up

Police and security services in France and neighboring countries struck early last Tuesday morning, to round-up people suspected of possibly planning to disrupt World Cup games with various acts, including terrorism.

French security forces detained several dozens of suspects in the surprise raids. Le Parisien had a long report on Wednesday that was short on hard numbers. No mention has been made of any actually planned terrorist actions uncovered.

Of the 55 detained in France Tuesday morning, 25 were still in custody on Wednesday evening.

Meanwhile in Paris, the highly visible security presence of the 'Vigipirate' plan was reactivated and armed soldiers were again seen in major train stations. This action extends to all of the ten departments where the championship matches will be held.

Elsewhere in the News

A socialist deputy has launched a debate in the Assembly National on the subject of restricting firearms sales. Handgun laws in France are strict; but they do permit the ownershipmax ernst sign of them. Arms dealers think the laws are strict enough, and they are probably right.

Bandits and bank robbers do not get their arms from regular dealers, but they may acquire weapons from burglars who loot private guns. When bandits do use weapons, it is usually with premeditation and they often use extreme force when attacking armored cars. Casual or accidental shootings are fairly rare.

SportsNews: SportsMania Season Opens With Little News

Due to the impending World Cup and the early elimination of the top stars at the Roland Garros tennis tournament, there isn't much in the way of sportsnews.

The French team that will be competing in the World Cup took on Belgium and managed to eke out a one-nothing victory - it was a Win! - but could not do the same playing against Morocco - it was a zero-all tie. Or it was one-one; I forget. [flash: Morocco won in a penalty shoot out].

The French national team is doing its pre-World Cup training in Casablanca and the game with the Moroccans was probably a 'friendly' - which might mean the hosting club was being polite to the French guests and refrained from scoring a goal.

The SportsBar Has Moved to the Fútbol Page for the duration. Bon chance!
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