...Continued from page 1

French Internet Use Jumps - And So Do Suits

According to an association of French ISPs, there were 1,280,000 individual dialup subscribers in mid-January. This may not seem like a great number, and it isn't, but it was reached after a 33 percent jump during the last three months.

At the same time, free Web site host 'Altern' has been summoned to court to defend itself against a possible judgement for 400,000 francs - for remarks made on one of its hosted sites - in 1997.

The following day, the same Web host was sued by the RATP for 320,000 francs in damages; for a bit of seemingly harmless satire. In both cases, thephoto: conference press club suing parties are also asking for substantial daily fines - totalling 150,000 francs a day. In neither case, was 'Altern' the author of the material in question.

At the Press Club, listening to the Festival de la Météo conference - also last Wednesday.

Facing fines amounting to several million francs, 'Altern' has had no alternative but to close down the 47,634 Web sites it was hosting; leaving only a 'defense' site in operation. Obviously, 'Altern's' main problem is that it isn't commercial enough to afford the legal costs of hosting 'liberty of expression' content, which is, by the way, legal in France.

This means the 422,400 new Internet surfers just added in the past three months will now have 47,634 fewer non-commercial French Web sites to surf.

Paris' 'LiveCam' Shows Typical Weather

Hitting this site will give you current views of the sky over Paris these days from TF1-TV's 'LiveCam.' If you want to see what typical winter weather looks like, now you will see it - for what it's worth to see leaden, gray skies - unless it happens to be nighttime here, which it usually is between about 16:30 and 08:00 GMT. If you are in our modest combo 'Euro'-and-'continental' CET zone, nighttime is between about 17:15 and 09:00.

This Was Metropole Three Years Ago:

26. February 1996 - Issue 1.01: - This first-ever issue originally appeared on Friday, 23. February. It had the columns - Metropole Diary - 'The Weather, and the SNCF and RATP Response to Client Relations' and 'Au Bistro' had - 'Chunnel Rocky Horror Trip' by Tony Brock. The issue also had five features or articles; they were: 'Dracula Sings; Blood Curdles,' ''Poste Restant' Goes Digital,' 'Internet is a Universal Human Right,' 'CopyRIGHT - Or Else,' and 'Online Omlette Makers.' There photo: terrace bastille were two 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned, 'Please fasten your seat belts.'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

24. February 1997 - Issue 2.08: - The contents included the columns - Café Metropole - 'Rare Piece of Fiction Marks 53rd Issue' and 'Au Bistro' had - 'Sports, Porno, Short, Tall, Organ and Flop Stories.' The issue had two features; entitled 'Personal Opinion: France Is In Neutral - Between Past and Future' and ''Grands Boulevards' to Get Overdue Face-Lift.' There were two re-runs too; 'Dreaming in Montparnasse' and 'Springtime on the Champs-Elysées - Date: 23. March 1995,' which originally appeared in 'The Paris Pages.' There were two 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned, 'One Bougie for Metropole.'

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 3.08 - 23. February 1998 - This issue featured thecount down Eiffel Tower columns - Café Metropole - 'Fake Spring Surprises Paris Again' and 'Au Bistro' had - 'Papon Was In the Resistance Too.' The issue had three features; entitled 'High and Wide in Trocadéro,' 'Looking for Elusive Facts in the Marais' and ''The Gare Saint-Lazare' On View At Orsay.' There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned, 'Fast Watch or Slow Time.' For some reason this reminds me I forgot to mention Valentine's Day last week, and that the French beat the Brits at Wembley for the first time since 1066.

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 313 gray and cool days left to go.

Regards, Ric
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