The Week's 'Lost' News Isn't Here

photo: bistro louis-philippe

Last week's rainy-day look, in front of the
Café Louis-Philippe.

Plus Sports 'News' That Isn't

Paris:- Sunday, 4. April 1999:- If there is 'good' news this week I will try to find it. My task has been made considerably lighter because I've 'lost' 40 percent of my source - somebody has nicked my copies of last Tuesday's and Wednesday's Le Parisien.

These were Paris editions too and I distinctly remember reading them on the train coming back on those days - but they are not here now. Nor do I remember what I read.

Look - it is Easter Sunday today, and I shouldn't even be doing this; I should be out looking for Easter Eggs in the Marly Forest. If the union finds out, I'll be fined, or worse - forced to take time off!

Other People With Time Off

These are the unemployed and they managed to increase their numbers last month despite all of the government's usual massaging of figures. The big plus: 7,900 new unemployed.

Unemployment has been dropping for months so it is not exactly fair for me to point out this infinitesimal rise. I did not report the earlier drops because I thought the numbers were too insignificant; just like this month's rise.

The percent rate has gone up a tenth ofphoto: spiral stairs, louis-philippe a point to 11.5 of the working population; and this represents 2,903,800 people who are out of work and searching for new jobs. This figure is down from a high of 3,127,000 in 1997.

Of the total number of unemployed, about 38 percent are considered to be long-term - which I think includes everybody who has been searching for work for over a year. What no figures show, are the number of people who have given up being registered as 'looking for work.'

The very narrow stairway to the Louis-Philippe's upstairs dining room.

The rate of unemployment for youths under 25, has dropped more - about 18 percent - as a result of a variety of make-work efforts and loosening of the labor laws.

The government's 'big policy' of the 35-hour work week is not universal, so nobody really knows if it will create more jobs. What seems certain, the 35-hour week will force flexibility into hourly structures; requiring workers to be more nimble while allowing employers to set up work-schedules for seven-day weeks.

One result has already been noted by statistics: many salaries are now below the minimum wage.

Euro 'Bio-Food' Fraud

In crowded Europe many consumers are acutely aware of the quality of the food they eat and in the last several years there has been a major movement towards products that are labelled 'bio,' as in 'natural,' rather than heavily fertilized.

For some reason - subtract the cost of fertilizers, but add 'supply and demand' - 'bio' products are more expensive. This has given bright ideas to some people who think getting double the price for a product is a better way of crime than robbing banks.

Take a certain 4,500 tons of wheat, grown quite normally in Saône-et-Loire. A Belgian grain dealer bought thephoto: rain, louis-philippe lot and had it shipped to a branch of his Belgian firm, located on the Isle of Man in the Irish ea. There it was relabelled as 'bio' and its origin was changed to Romania.

Part of the Louis-Philippe's terrace - all deserted.
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