...Continued from page 1

While President Jacques Chirac sits in the Elysée Palace contemplating his re-run for President in 2002, he has to think that his party, the RPR, is not in good shape - with the whole spectrum of the right-wing at odds with one another.

One of the bones of contention is how well the President 'co-habits' with his Socialist Prime Minister. But what other choice does he have, with his own party so weak?

In a way, he could be running a holding operation. He is popular enough to get reelected without an united RPR. If he does, after another seven years, all of the present Socialist heavy hitters will move up to the age of Presidential aspirations - and this is when to PS could burst apart.

Meanwhile, the RPR must have some unfamiliar spear-carriers moving up through the ranks. By 2009, these may be determined enough to pull the RPR together - enough to become the governing party when Lionel Jospin - or Laurent Fabius - becomes President.

Sue La Poste?

On account of local disagreements over the introduction of the 35-hour work week, some postal centres have been on one form of strike or another for some time now.

Postal users in Nice got fed up and went to court, to obtain a judgement imposing La Poste tophoto: 2 posters, sophie marceau supply a 'minimum service.' The court in Nice told La Poste it would be fined 50,000 francs per day of non-compliance.

In Paris' poster-life, this was actress Sophie Marceau's week, with a total of three different posters.

This is considered to be two 'firsts.' It is the first time anybody has sued La Poste for non-performance. And it seems to open the way for La Poste to hire temporary workers to deliver the mail - in the case of wildcat strikes. Unions fear this will be a wedge in the locked-tight 'right to strike.'

A Toulouse court made a similar decision, but with the financial penalty factor. In Nice La Porte has set up a sorting centre at the Chamber of Commerce.

French Web Life

In case you have been wondering what the Internet is really about, this week's Internet Actu has a neat editorial by Bruno de La Perrière.

He writes that the Internet is not about how to 'make money,' about how to 'gain power,' or about how to 'gain audience,' or a combination of all three.

"Without doubt the Internet is the most wonderful invention since the carrier pigeon - the ancestor of the postman - in short: email."

Not in second place, but after email he includes personal Web pages, on the grounds that they give everybody the means for expressing personal opinions for distribution to everybody else. He writes that this is a 'priceless liberty' - even if mankind has its failings.

He says we should pray that states, regulators, the spies, the money-drunk, the powers, and the audience, 'don't suffocate this precious spontaneity.'

I think I'll pray for this too.

Paris Bourse Starts Hi-Tech Indexes

The Paris stock exchange's standard top-cap index is called the 'CAC40' and it hasn't been doing too badly recently, with a rise in value of 51 percent in 1999.

Two new high-tech indexes have been introduced. The 'IT.CAC50' includes only 'information technology' issues, and retroactively taking the end of 1998 as a base, it has risen by 167.9 percent.

Using the same base, the other index which is called the 'IT.CAC,' has risen by 152.7 percent. This index does include some 'CAC40' paper as well as all of the 'information technology' issues.

I neglected to mention it when it was announced, but the Paris Bourse has cut some sort of partnership deal with the Brussels and Amsterdam bourses - to offset the linkup deal between London and Frankfurt.

Mittel-Europa Web Life

I made a silly double-blooper. Back in the first issue of the year the Au Bistro column had a story about some finance guys registering a name, one that had been used for years by a French non-profit Web community. This item came from the 'discussion-list' named nowEurope, moderated by Steve Carlson in Budapest.

Blooper number one involved me calling Steve's discussion-list photo: paris match, sophie marceau 'Online-Europe,' which is what it was called for years, until Steve found out the name had been registered by another company. This sounds like the French item, doesn't it? Putting in the correct URL for 'nowEurope' was the second blooper.

Steve has software working for him on Sundays - a bit slowly - and this told him that Metropole had put in a link to 'nowEurope,' but called it 'Online-Europe.'

Need I say this is the third poster of the trio?

I am only going to write this once more, so read it carefully: former 'Online-Europe' is now named - and has been for some time - 'nowEurope.'

If you want to follow Internet business life in central Europe, sign up for Steve's active and informative 'moderated discussion list' - which means you can join the discussion too.

Alternative: BeOS Version 5

Jean-Louis Gassée's 'other' operating system called BeOS has moved up to version 5 and it has been available - for free - since Tuesday, 28. March.

This complete operating system is a big download. Before getting involved with the adventure of it, you should check its compatibility list to make sure it will run on your computer.

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