...Continued from page 1

The word is getting around and Friday's Eurostar brings in a load of Brit rollers. Reason: graveled paths in parks and too many cobbles in the UK. In Paris, when the bricks get hit, warnings are shouted back by the leaders. "Pavé! Pavé!"

I don't assume anybody reading this is a nut, but I will put in the Web URL for Friday Night Rollers all the same. Don't let me stop you. It is a non-profit organization with the purpose of having fun.

French Draft Reduced to One Day

In 1996, President Jacques Chirac announced his intention to 'professionalize' the French army. This happened yesterday, when 15,000 draftees reported for national service at 8:30 in the morning at 226 military sites around France, and were discharged at 17:00 after serving their country.

This is the result of a number of different plans, and because it costs the least, this 'bikini' of military service has been the one adopted. It is even planned for the year 2000, that girls do it too.

Why conscription wasn't thrown wholesale into the trash can, has to do with citizenship. During the eight hours and 30 minutes of 'service,' the draftees are tested, among other things, for their ability to read.

Illiterates were once considered 'cannon-fodder' by the military, but in modern societies illiterates have a dangerous potential to be non-citizens - in the sense that they don't understand how society works.

For the moment, the government sees it as a 'second chance' to catch illiterates before they become uncatchable. For the approximately eight percent found to have great difficulty with reading simple texts, the follow-up is to propose courses.

The Fifth Republic Has Its 40th Birthday

France's Fifth Republic came into being on 4. October 1958 and its anniversary today is passing with little fanfare. This indicates that the constitution is flexible enough for all to fit inside.

Despite some detractors, nobody is looking forward to a sixth republic. The historical reason for not doing so, isphoto: 'smart' publicity because all previous republics have been the result of foreign invasions, world wars or colonial wars.

The present constitution has been revived 11 times. One time by general referendum - to decide to elect the president by universal suffrage - and the other 10 times by majority votes of Assembly Deputies and Senators.

It may not look like it to you, but this is a 'Smart' car dealership.

As Europe grows closer, it is interesting to note that the last six revisions have taken place since 1992. Ex-Prime Minister Michel Rocard was quoted in Libération as saying, 'This constitution makes, from a purely constitutional point of view, out of 58 million all but one happy. Who? The Prime Minister!'

Sports News: Football

Eh oui, back again. You had your fun in the sun or up in the mountains and now its back to real life, and the fact that Paris' soccer team, PSG - short for 'Pretty Silly Games' - is at the near bottom of the French league - again - right after the new season has barely started.

Here are words used by Le Parisien: 'Fiasco' and 'Pitoyable!' PSG managed to eliminate itself from the first - the first! - round of the Europe Cup, by losing to Israel on Thursday - now known as the 'Catastrophe of Haïfa.'

Today PSG arranged to lose the match in its eighth game of the season - to Lens. The Paris club has won three of these games, tied one and now, lost four. This is Canal+ big-time soccer team in a big-time town but it looks like bush to me.

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