...Continued from page 1

Meanwhile, on the right, there are two camps. The one led by Philippe Séguin is a temporary patchwork of three major centrist-right-wing parties, and this group is closest to Delanoë's socialists in the polls - although not very close.

The other right-wing group revolves around the current mayor, Jean Tiberi, who has been ousted from the right's main-stream for lese-majesty. His seasoned crew of long-standing cohorts - known as the 'families' - are putting on brave faces.

If this group decided to join the main rightist group, Delanoë's socialists might have a close run of it, but the city's Greens are only a couple of poll points behind Tiberi's faction, and they would likely throw their weight into Delanoë's camp - like the arrangement they have with the socialists nationally.

Euro Dining Tip

If you are fastidious about what you eat and fear that eating beef in France - or anywhere in Europe - may expose you to 'mad cow' disease, be aware that there a plenty of substitutes for beef.

One of these, of course, is the fishburger. It is well-known by all that many fish come from the sea, which covers such a large part of the planet that it is impossible to pollute completely.

Although fast-food outlets in Paris do not explicitly claim that the fish they use in their 'fishburgers' arephoto: art squat elevator actually from any of the planet's seas, they are having a good success with the product.

The other ingredients of 'fishburgers' are harder to identify. There is usually a whitish sauce, sometimes referred to as 'tartare,' and occasionally some sort of green substance, plus a bread-like top and bottom that are supposed to resemble bread, but neither look or taste like it.

The Rivoli 'art squat's' installation that looks somewhat like an elevator.

The fast-food chains are also experimenting with 'chicken burgers' - another oxymoron - 'egg burgers,' and various concoctions containing cheese - as in 'cheese sandwich,' which used to be a common staple of neighborhood cafes.

All of these efforts are wasted on the numerous fatalists, who honestly consider that everything is polluted and has been for some time - and an industrial cheeseburger containing a rubberized patty of 'beef' or two cannot cause more harm than has already been done.

If all of this leaves you less than hungry, horsemeat has broken out its 20-year-old doldrums and is finding eager buyers again.

The figures for the last two months available are plus 32 percent for November and plus 59 percent for December. But even with these impressive percentages, the sale of horsemeat only represents about three percent of all meat sold in France.

The demand has risen so much that hypermarchés have resorted to importing horsemeat from Uruguay, Argentina and the United States.

Next 'Strike of the Week?'

The one and a half unions that staged last week's successful transport strike in Paris, have succeeded in creating enough envy by other transport unions - that there are rumors of a re-play this coming Thursday. This time they will be going for total 'total.'

Winter Sports News

As of today, 'winter' is 46 days old. It may be a bit more tired and even more slushy, but if you are interested in the state of snow at French winter sports stations, try hitting the Hiver,SkiFrance and Net4Ski Web sites.

The ex-ski champion Edgar Grospiron has an exceptional site, called Ridearth. Especially conceived for actual fans or practitioners of speedy downhills, it features all sorts of current white snow activities, including morsels of techno-ski music.

Web Life:

Chickening Out of Mobile Internet

Just over a week ago, the US Government auctioned off 422 licenses to operate second-generation mobile telephone services, for a total of $17 billion. If this amount is divided by bandwidth - MHz - its result is $4.07 per MHz.

The European council decided in late 1998 that the introduction of third-generation mobile telephone services - UMTS - should be coordinated and progressive - with all licenses to be awarded by 1. January 2002.

Six European countries opted for simple auctions and seven others opted for 'best' proposals and set fixed prices.

In April of 2000, four licenses were auctioned in Britain for a total of 38.5 billion euros, and an auction yielded 50.8 billion euros for Germany. Spain's sale of four licenses netted it 516.8 million euros last year.

Germany's auction resulted in a price almost identical to the recent US price per MHz, showing that there is some trans-Atlantic agreement about the potential of these extended mobile services.

In France the Finance Ministry fixed a price of a little less than five billion euros per license. Deutsche Telekomphoto: champs elysees friday dropped out of the French competition in November, the Suez-Lyonnaise-Telefonica consortium quit in January and Bouygues threw in the sponge on Tuesday, 30. January.

In Paris this winter, every sunny Thursday is followed by a Friday like this one.

This has left only two successful candidates for the four licenses on offer - the France Télécom-Orange-Itinéris group and Cegetel-SFR. The government had earmarked the license fees for financing a part of the national retirement fund, which will now be short by 10 billion euros.

The new European UMTS standard is still in development, while the US standard is ready to go tomorrow. Even if French operators fear the development costs, it doesn't explain the devil-may-care attitude of Britain and Germany - unless they are having second thoughts after their daring plunges of last spring when the telecoms world was a rosier place.

Your Paris Web URLs

If you have any favorite Paris Web sites you think other readers should know about, please send them in. If they haven't been featured before and they don't crash my browser, you'll get a modest 'thankyou' here.

The 'Official' Weather: 100% 'Winter'

Météo France is the official source for France's TV-weather people - if you don't get French TV where you are, you can get the weather from where they get it. Because it is 'official' - meaning: as true as possible - don't expect forecasts to exceed 24 hours even though TV here sometimes goes out on a limb with imaginative seven-day forecasts.

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