Strike Warnings Galore

photo: bistro le panier

In the Square Sainte-Marthe, Le Panier bistro.

Bové Fails To Talk To 'Billionaires'

Paris:- Sunday, 29. January 2000:- Tonight, long-distance truck drivers will begin forming barricades along France's entry-points, as a labor action begins for higher pay and shorter working hours. It is unknown how long this situation will continue. On Tuesday, expect all RATP operations - métro, bus and RER - in Paris to be at a near standstill as a result of strike action by all unions. Operations of non-RATP RER lines may be affected, and there will likely be other transport strikes throughout France. Hospital workers may also continue their demonstrations throughout France. Due to this weekend's thaw, the danger of avalanches in alpine areas is very high, and mountain road conditions are treacherous.

José Goes To Davos

The 30th world economic forum began in Davos on Thursday, 27. January and peasant leader José Bové told Le Parisien what he intended to tell the 'billionaires' in Thursday's edition of the paper. Bové also was reported to have an official invitation.

Then nothing more was heard until last night's TV-news, which showed demonstrators trashing Davos' McDonald's outlet, which was flying a banner with the motto, 'Think Global, Eat Local.'

For the first time in the history of the annual Davos meetings, the exclusive mountain resort was under a state of semi-siege. The Swiss army rushedphoto: bistro l'atmosphere in 70 troops to contain the wilder elements of what were thought to be possibly 1000 demonstrators from five countries - who were protesting without permission from local authorities.

The café l'Atmosphère has entertainment evenings beside the canal Saint-Martin.

President Clinton, 30 other heads of state and 1200 business leaders must of had a feeling of déja-vu as Seattle-type events were repeated at high altitudes, in wintry conditions.

It was an US President's first visit to a Davos meeting, and Mr. Clinton took the opportunity to plead for freer trade - and - state that the demonstrators had a right to be heard. Other delegates repeated this view to TV-news.

José Bové and the Peasants Confederation reportedly withdrew without meeting Davos' founder, Klaus Schwab. This morning, radio France-Info reported that Mr. Bové had been touched by tear-gas during Saturday's events.

However, there was no sign of this on Saturday as he gave TV-news a fairly lengthy interview while marching in a protest parade, holding his familiar pipe in one hand and part of a large banner in the other, in falling snow.

Paris Casino?

A group in Lyon has recently received permission to operate a gambling casino in that city. This has not gone unnoticed in Paris, which has 14 private gambling clubs.

The nearest real public casino to Paris, is 30 kilometres away, in Enghien-les-Bains. Apparently, Bordeaux is considering the opening of a casino too.

Assistant mayor, Jean-Pierre Bloch, thinks Paris-Las-Vegas is a poorphoto: cafe de l'europe copy of the real thing, and if Americans want gambling with their Paris they should be able to get it in the original. Mayor Tiberi thinks it is a subject that merits 'reflection.'

A 'with feeling' café at the bottom of the Rue Sainte-Marthe.

An operator of gambling casinos in Nice, Dax and Chamonix thinks casino gambling for adults in Paris could be 'educational.' He added that a casino is not just blackjack tables and slot machines, but can be a whole mall full of a wide variety of entertainment and services.

The operator of Paris' race tracks, France-Galop, has also floated the idea of adding a casino to their Longchamp track, in order to give it year-round business. The principle sponsor of the annual Prix d'Arc race at Longchamp is the operator of casinos at Cannes, Deauville and - the slightly too far away Enghien-les-Bains.

However, there is a 1920 law on the books that forbids public gambling within 100 kilometres of Paris. An exception to this was made in 1931, when the license for Enghien-les-Bains was awarded.

Another law, dated 1998, allows for casino gambling in towns with more than 500,000 inhabitants, which are classified as 'tourist centres.'

Paris has not been classed officially as a 'tourist centre.' But the secretary-general of the Hôtel de Ville was quoted as saying the city had made a request for this classification 'more than a year ago.'

It is certainly true that Paris is not full of slot machines. What it does have, is a lot of locations for off-track betting - the PMUs - and an incredible numbers of places where bets on the Loto can be placed.

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