The 'Fake Voters,' Part II

photo: bistrot vivienne

A popular bistro in the city's business centre.

Joblessness Breaks 10% Barrier

Paris:- Sunday, 4. June 2000:- Last week's item here about election fraud in Paris blasted off during the week, going into action quite a bit sooner than its expected begin 'before summer.'

At the beginning of the week, 15 personages where placed under suspicion of having participated in electoral fraud, as a result of an investigation launched by an ancient complaint lodged by the Greens party.

On Wednesday afternoon, a Greens member of the Assembly National, denounced leadingphoto: resto paris hanoi, rue charonne politicians holding high offices by name, and was immediately sanctioned for inadmissable statements by the Socialist President of the Assembly.

A more modest bistro in Paris, east of Bastille.

Besides the forceful put-down, he lost a quarter of his parliamentary salary for a period of a month. Right-wing deputies applauded the penalty, as did a few Socialists - while outside the chamber, the Greens deputy was unrepentant.

Who Profits From Falling Unemployment?

As unemployment officially fell below the magic ten-percent barrier in France for the first time since 1991 last week, this is exactly the question posed by Le Parisien.

'Women, men, the young, the long-time unemployed,' all, in one manner or another, benefit, according to the paper. In fact, the paper noted, everybody benefitted - everybody except the 9.8 percent of the working population which is still unemployed - which the paper neglected to mention as beneficiaries.

The next goal - dream - of the present government, which has seen unemployment drop fromphoto: fete lutte ouviere 12.6 percent to its present rate, is to get the number of unemployed to below the two million barrier by 2002.

I should not mock the success the government is having with this problem, but I can't help remembering that about two million people have been out of work for nine years. This is a long time to sit around.

The unemployment-rate drop was general throughout France. But there are areas in the extreme north and in a band that covers the whole south of the country, where unemployment is above the national average.

Thus, in Languedoc-Roussillon the rate fell to 14.5 percent from 15.6 percent in the period between September 1999 and March of this year.

Paris' Cadillac Toilets

An independent Greens member of the Paris city council thought there was some funny business going on when an 800,000-franc item of the budget turned out to be for a public toilet in the Parc de Bagatelle.

There was another interesting bid for a public works project, for re-equipping seven Paris cemeteries with toilets, for the globalphoto: trash can railing amount of 1.8 million francs.

The city council member also pointed out that the sums for the toilets in the cemeteries were not for new toilets, but for the renovation of the old ones.

While toilets get upgraded, Paris seems to lack enough trash cans.

The answer from the parks and gardens department was agreement with the high cost, but it pointed out that there are two reasons - sanitary standards are more draconian, but most of the apparent extra cost is for making the toilets accessible for the handicapped.

"It doubles the price," they said, adding that moms with baby poussettes appreciated the enhanced ease of use features as well.

Paris 'Rolls' No More

The popular newspaper Le Parisien was very upset last week, on behalf of the city's motorists, on account of all the road works that are going on simultaneously in the city.

Between new corridors for buses and urban heating systems, half of the big roads circling just inside the Perifreak! are out of action. Then, if motorists can reach to thecity's centre, they run into more major public works.

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