...Continued from page 1

TV-news mentioned many times during the week that the Chinese Republic's government was not happy to see the Dalai Lama of Tibet so obviously in public evidence in Paris; while the official Chinese position is total support of the Universal Declaration.

In China meanwhile, the arrests of Xu Wenli and Qinbrochure: amnesty intl Yongmin were announced and the trial of Wang Youcai is scheduled to begin next Thursday.

The anniversary rated a page eight photo and caption in Friday's Le Parisien and three full pages in the same day's edition of Libération. To be fair, Libération had nothing on its front page, while Le Parisien had a photo taken at the previous evening's concert for Amnesty at Bercy.

Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel, Tracy Chapman, Yousseou N'Dour and the French group, Kassav, attracted 17,000 humanitarian fans to the sports palace. One of them was the Dalai Lama, who denied being an expert dancer.

The 'Restos du Coeur' Reopen

Starting Monday, the free 'Restos du Coeur' founded by the comedian Coluche, will be operating out of about 2000 centres around France. With 35,000 volunteers, the organization expects to serve 60 million meals to about 500,000 people in France during the winter.

'Euro' Days Are Getting Closer, Fast

TV-news has had the good taste to show grade-school kids doing magic things with 'Euro' calculations, while also showing older people still having difficulty coming to terms with translating 'old' francs into 'new' ones. A lot of people still routinely calculate in centimes, as these were the value of 'old' francs.

However, there is getting to be a non-stop drum-roll for the 'Euro's' first appearance on 1. January 1999. But there will be no 'appearance' because this is only the beginning of a transitory period, which will lastphoto: guide euro until 1. January 2002, when we will be fully 'Euroed.' The franc, DM, peseta, lira, punt, and florin will last a few weeks after this and then - poof! - will be history.

Beginning in January, there will be two hard rules: neither obligation to use nor prevention from using the 'Euro' for transactions; and no existing contract can be modified into uniquely 'Euro' figures. Because there will be no new 'Euro' cash around, only bank accounts, cheques, credit cards and price tags will be bi-currency.

Right now, financial institutions throughout the 'Euro'-zone are working feverishly to get ready to switch all their accounting to 'Euros' over the period from Saturday, 26. December to Thursday, 31. December.

This is all 'back-office' stuff, but it involves a Very Big Bang for Europe's financial community and the big players are throwing a lot of effort into getting it right for the opening of 'Euro' business on Friday, 1. January 1999.

Now I think about it, these dates may not be right. I read that a major financial dealer in the City of London has paid the Tube to keep the underground station 'City' open on Sunday; and others have scraped up all the lodging they can find so workers will be on the job, on time, and all the time until it is finished.

How serious it is, is indicated by London boasting of its efforts, while the UK is not even officially 'going Euro' with the rest.

More Tube News

Security people who keep their eyes peeled on the Channel Tunnel had red faces last week when they found a tourist in it, strolling jauntily from Britain to France. The man, who did not have the fare to ride, had nearly reached France before being discovered. He had dry feet too. Another candidate for a marathon route?

Winter Sports

This form of sports activity is now dominated by downhill skiing races and is only news in France because a French guy is not going faster than some Norwegians or Austrians or somebody. Apparently there can be a great deal of difference to a performance, depending on whether it is cloudy or sunny, or whether there is snow or not. These races are very quick and all look pretty much the same, depending on whether the snow is white or some other designer color.

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