French Tabloid

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In Montparnasse if you want a fast café, try the
bistro Au Rapide.

Birthdays, Truffles, Festivals and - Sports!

Paris:- Sunday, 7. March 1999:- It has been a slow news week in France if the front pages of Le Parisien reflect current events. The European press in general is searching for a good 'President Clinton' type of story, but Europeans are so much more fundamentally into sleaze, that finding something truly juicy is no easy matter.

Alleged ripoffs at the national and European levels are so routine and grossly huge, that certified total eclipses make better headlines. Sports, of course, are sports; and while Le Parisien may be wobbly, I'm sure its sister paper L'Equipe is not.

On Friday, the papers shook off their lethargy to re-run the continuing story of Christine Deviers-Joncour. In Le Parisien's case, they ran Monica Lewinsky's photo on the front page too, just to show we have stories just as good as 'over there.'

Madame Deviers-Joncour had a boyfriend who was a friend of friends and there was a sale of some warships to Taiwan and somehow a whole mess of francs washed through a bank account in Madame Deviers-Joncour's name in Switzerland, because she worked in some made-up job at the oil company, Elf.

It is a long, rather complicated story involving people who once ran Elf and who are now in jail - but not convictedphoto: nicolas wine shop of everything, yet - and current government ministers who were one-time boyfriends and friends of friends of friends.

If in doubt about wine, Nicolas is sort of a national guarantee.

To give an idea of the gravity of a situation nobody understands and nobody but a handful of prosecuting judges seem to be worried about, Madame Deviers-Joncour has often repeated in public that she has no intention of committing suicide anytime in the near future.

As Libération put it on Friday, it is all about the Republic's underwear and the judges who would like to send it out to be cleaned, and the possibility that Madame Deviers-Joncour may be the 'cleaning lady.'

Madame Deviers-Joncour coined the phrase, 'Putain de la République,' as the title for her book of memoirs but it is routinely used in newspaper headlines as synonym for Madame Deviers-Joncour.

I don't know whether she has benefitted from this free publicity, but she has also been denounced - a nice old Nazi and Vichy practice - as a 'bag-lady' who made a good profit.

The figures mentioned started out at 45 million francs and now stand at 59 million. Her book is selling between 200 to 300 copies a day and has sold 110,000 since it came out in November.

Madame Deviers-Joncour has been talking to the judges as well as nearly non-stop to the press and TV-news, so she is visible and vocal - out in the open. People making anonymous denouncements are heard but not seen. She has apparently been told 'they' have advised her to shut up if she wishes to get out of her 'own' legal problems.

Rumor has it that Madame Deviers-Joncour has hired a pair of bodyguards. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ditch, Monica Lewinsky is reported to be hiring accountants and lawyers to handle her new 'windfall' income.

Concorde Turns 30

On 2. March 1969, chief pilot André Turcat, took Concorde 001 into the sky for the first time. On 1. October, he stepped on the gas and punched Concorde 001 through the supersonic barrier. On 9. April, the British put their number 002 into the air too. The sleek plane has been flying ever since.

In 1967 the consortium had options for 74 ofphoto: 30 years concorde, le parisien the planes from major airlines worldwide but it wasn't until 1974 that the two governments involved decided to put it into production. That year BOAC and Air France ordered nine machines.


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