...Continued from page 1

The frequency of the attacks began to bother the police. They got lucky at the end on January when the holdup artist forgot to take a package of frozen lasagna after sticking up a cashier.

The bandit had a couple of other faults. He drank before and after the stickups, and he used some of the illegal gains to buy illegal dope. He was also searching through the city's social service centres for a 'lost' daughter, and he left his address all over the place.

The report doesn't say exactly how, but the police surrounded the residence of the semi-clochard Antonio, 42, and arrested him as he was leaving it, pistol stuck in his belt.

He is now in detention, facing 27 charges of armed robbery. The report doesn't say whether Antonio's gun was loaded and there is no mention or anybody being hurt during any of his holdups.

Antonio may have been an alcoholic and a junkie, but he wasn't crazy - except for a fondness for a particular chain of frozen food outlets.

France's Online Life

Sneak-Preview Movies

PrimeFilm is a new Web site with big ambitions, and you will need a high-speed cable, ASDL, XYZ or some other high-tech connection to benefit from it. The idea is to offer new release movies in the MPEG-1 format, for downloading - for a fee, of course. The PrimeFilm site also has other cinema info, photos, and shorts, so it won't hurt to take a glance at the site even if you don't want to see all of Laurent Bouhnik's '1999 Madeleine,' which started its run in Paris cinemas on Wednesday, 2. February.

A Night At the Opéra

The Paris Opéra has gone online with ticket sales, and this means reservations go in hand with this. Online, Internet-Actu found Sleeping Beauty fully booked already except for last Christmas Eve. This could mean Paris opera fans are storming the Web site, or it is possible that it isn't up to full steam yet. If you are a fan and are starting long-range plans for a visit, give the site a try-out. If successful, let me know.

Beaubourg Re-Opens

This is old news now. During the klotzy culture factory's two-year renovation, its Web site kept ticking over. Now is this time to see what's new, both at the centre - its library reopened recently - and with its Web site.

The 'Fête' de l'Internet

Every year this event is announced with some fanfare, and every year I fail to grasp what it's all about, because it seems to be entirely 'virtual.' Its organization is non-profit and it is coordinated by the AFI association. This event is not restricted to France; at the European level it is called the Fiesta 2000. The actual Fête/Fiesta will take place from Friday, 17. March to Sunday, 19. March.

Greenwich Net Time

Luckily Arte-TV ran a documentary last week about the search for calculating longitude. Two approaches were tried - one with accurate clocks - which had to be invented; and the other involved star-gazing, whichphoto: la grappe d'orgueil was difficult on heaving ships in foggy waters. An 18th century British inventor came up with an ocean-going chronograph that kept better time than my Japanese wrist-sized 'chronograph' does today.

This bistro is in the Rue Montorgueil itself.

Anyhow, 'Greenwich Net Time' has been on trial since January and is supposed to be rolled out on Tuesday, 29. February, which is 'leap-day' - which is in some dispute too. The idea, I think, is to have a universal 'Net Time' so all our emails carry some sort of correct time, independent of GMT.

Davos and WTO Roundup?

The 30th world economic forum, known simply as 'Davos,' held its meetings in Switzerland, from Thursday, 27. January until Tuesday, 1. February. The WTO is an United Nations organization with something to do with world trade and it too has a Web site, called 'Global Compact.' Aside from the protestors' actions, I know nothing about it. Should I? Should you?

Web Shorties:

The 27th comics festival at Angoulême ended a week ago. This Web site presents this year's prize winners, plus links to other sites featuring 'bandes dessinées' - BD for short. In France, the 'comic books' are hardcover and they outsell practically all other forms of published fiction, except some potboiler books sold in airports.

The annual 'Milia 2000' takes place from Tuesday, 14. February to Saturday, 18. February. This is the annual market showcase for multimedia, which includes the Internet of course. Entry fees are from 2000 francs to 5000 for the 'Think Tank.' These amounts do not include the value-added tax; so add 20.6 percent to the bill.

Mentioned last week but worth repeating: historians of social movements may be interested by a new site conceived by the 'Equipe du Maitron,' within the framework of a CNRS lab and a group of interested associations.

Some of the suggestions for these Web site references have been gleaned from 'Internet-Actu.' To sign up for this free weekly newsletter in French, send an email to internet-actu-subscribe@ftpresse.com

Internet-Actu has also just launched a new bi-weekly newsletter called Pixel-Actu, which concerns digital imaging; also in French. Laurent Katz is the editor. For a taste of Pixel-Actu, give its Web version a hit.

Both of these newsletters feature many items you will already be familiar with, but they also include news of developments in Europe. Both are well-written in French, so if you want to build up your techno vocabulary, these newsletters can help.

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