...Continued from page 1

Today's edition of Le Parisien says that 40 percent of France's ATMs are empty - while I topped up a bit of cash from my usual ATM.

The employers' offered 'bonus' has now risen to 3000 francs for this year and 4800 for next, with an offer of bullet-proof vests thrown in. Negotiations are expected to continue tomorrow. Cash machines are also expected to be empty tomorrow too.

Police Arrest Dozens

Combined police forces specializing in serious crime arrested 21 suspects between the time of the Nanterre hold-up on Friday and last Tuesday.

Some of the suspects arrested in the Paris area were characterized as 'very dangerous.' A rented garage was found to contain an arsenal and a hide-out in the 15th revealed a cache with a rocket-launcher, five machine-pistols, four assault rifles, six hand-grenades and a dozen assorted pistols.

Police also recovered 300,000 francs worth of counterfeit money, and two stolen paintings. Questioning of the suspect captured after the Nanterre hold-up on Friday has had no result.

France's Monsoons

Paris got off pretty easily last Thursday when monsoon-like downpours drenched the city in the afternoon. Accompanied with thunder and hail, streets were turned into rivers and métro traffic was halted on some lines for short periods.

All the same, the Musée d'Orsay was closed on Friday due to a flooded cellar that had caused the electricity within the building to fail.

On the Quai du Louvre outside the club's café, rain was so heavy at times that the opposite side of the Seine was invisible. For drivers on the quay, it was like commuting through a car-wash.

But when the highly unstable weather front bumped into the cooler air near the channel, thephoto: monsoon, ave leclerc weather took a devastating turn for the worse. On one day the Calais area was hard hit and two towns west and northwest of Rouen were nearly completely wrecked and at least two people were killed.

On the way to the club last Thursday, before it started to rain hard.

The mayor of Barentin likened the storm to a bombardment, which swept his town away. About two-thirds of May's normal rainfall fell on the town in 30 minutes. A two-metre high wave in the town centre hurled cars around like ping-pong balls after a underground water drain exploded.

At the same time throughout France, lightening was recorded on Wednesday striking the earth 20,000 times. Since the beginning of the month, lightning impacts have averaged 10,000 per day.

Temperatures continue to remain about five degrees above normal - which would be about right for mid-July.

Conscription's Last Gasp

Technically, conscription into the armed forces no longer exists in France. For those born after 1. January 1979, military service consists of one day of 'orientation' and it is mainly used by the armed forces for a bit of PR, and to detect illiterates.

But for 300,000 young men born before 1. January 1979, conscriptionphoto: bar tour d'argent is still very real. These are in their early 20s and many of them are students. Others have been lucky enough to find their first jobs.

This old bar recently re-opened, with the optimistic name of 'Tour d'Argent.

They find the arbitrary date to be unfair, because all conscription will end on 31. December 2002. However, the armed forces are seeking to recruit 150,000 men and strenuous PR efforts are not bringing in enough volunteers.

Some of those affected are writing their theses and others have just come out of high-tech schools and landed in go-go Internet jobs. Ten months out of their lives right now could be a personal disaster.

On Saturday, 2-3000 demonstrated on the Champ de Mars. Some are organized into a collective - named 'SN' for 'sans nous.'

Sports News

Short and to the point: Paris own football club, PSG, gained entry to some important championship round sometime in the future by scoring two goals against their opponent's two scored goals.

In France a tie is usually referred to as a 'match nul' but in PSG's case, it was a major victory, according to Le Parisien. I hope so, but it doesn't sound very exciting.

French Web Life: Another Week's Short Version

Paris' Peace Wall, Still

The URL for Paris' Peace Wall on the Champ de Mars is: 'Mur Pour la Paix,' which is a Dot-Com and not a Dot-Org. You can also learn how to read the word 'peace' in 31 languages.

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