horz line

Collapse At Roissy

photo: cafe la consigne

A café terrace nearly too bright.

Moore Film Takes Cannes' Top Award

Paris:– Monday, 24. May 2004:– Early Sunday morning a 30–metre section of the new Terminal 2–E collapsed at Charles–de–Gaulle airport, killing four people and injuring three others. They were apparently all airline passengers.

Witnesses saw dust falling from the structure's ceiling, heard crunching, saw cracks appear and alerted airport authorities, who evacuated about 80 personnel and passengers from the danger area. Immediately afterwards the multi–ton overhead terminal section's roof gave way, and the whole elevated passenger 'jetty' crashed to the level of the runway.

The 'plan rouge' sent 250 rescue specialists into action and rescue workers quickly arrived on the scene to search the wreckage for victims and survivors. Search dogs indicated that there were few, if any, remaining trapped in the in the twisted wreck of the steel, concrete and glass tube. An emergency hospital was set up on the spot.

The accident occurred about 7:00 in the morning when there was little traffic other than three Air France flights, from Newark and Johannesburg which were disembarking, and a flight to Prague was embarking. There were other passengers in the area waiting for other flights.

About 60 scheduled flights were shifted to other terminals at the same airport, with delays but no cancellations. The new 2–E terminalphoto: warm air night cafe was opened last June, in a somewhat unfinished state, as I noted in July when I passed through it on the way to New York City. On Monday airport officials decided to close the whole 2–E terminal because more cracks were appearing.

Before the wind came and blew the warmth away.

Both the Minister of Transport, Gilles de Robien, and the Minister of the Interior, Dominique de Villepin, were at the accident scene on Sunday. The director of Aéroports de Paris, Hubert du Mesnil, guessed that the sole cause of the accident was the collapse of the structure, rather than any sort of attack.

Officials do not have any idea why the new terminal is falling apart. On Sunday the building was not under any of the relatively minor stresses that it should have been built to withstand. In light of the new cracks showing up today, there is talk of tearing the whole thing down and rebuilding it.

Aéroports de Paris was reported to have spent about 750 million euros on the building that is the principle Air France international terminal. It is also used by Air France partners AeroMexico, Alitalia, CSA, Delta, and Korean Airlines.

Until now about six million passengers have passed through the new terminal, which was designed to handle up to ten million by the end of this year. It was to be a key element making Charles–de–Gaulle airport into a primary airline hub with more traffic than London or Frankfurt. The 2–E terminal was designed to handle 17 passenger jets, including the coming jumbo Airbus, the A380.

Aéroports de Paris announced late on Monday that it was abandoning Terminal 2–E and its operations were to be carried out at other Roissy terminals.

'Fahrenheit 9/11' Wins Palme d'Or

On Saturday night France–2 TV–news announced that Michael Moore's film, in competition at the 57th Cannes Film Festival, had been awarded with the top prize, the 'Palme d'Or.'

Near the end of the news broadcast the film director was also interviewed on a live feed from Cannes. He said he was 'completelyphoto: place dauphine overwhelmed,' adding, "It's an enormous surprise." According to Reuters, the triumph of the film was no great surprise after the standing ovation it received after its official screening in competition last Monday at the Grand Théâtre Lumière.

But it was the first time since Jacques Cousteau's 'Le Monde de Silence' won in 1956 that a documentary has been honored. However, winning at Cannes was not a first for Mr. Moore, who won an award for 'Bowling for Columbine' two years ago.

In the Place Dauphine.

During the press conference following the awards, Mr. Moore was quoted as saying that he expected the right–wing press in the United States would claim that the Palme d'Or was a strictly French prize. But he also noted that four of the jurors were American – Kathleen Turner, Jerry Schatzberg, and Edwidge Danticat. The festival's president was Quentin Tarantino.

The sole French juror was the actress Emanuelle Béart. Other jurors were British actress Tilda Swinton, Belgian actor Benoit Poelvoode, Finnish critic Peter von Bagh and the Hong Kong director, Tsui Hark

During the TV–news interview, Mr. Moore said he was positive that the film woud be shown in cinemas in the United States, with emphasis on 'this summer.' He said, "Americans have a right to see it." The film is slated for a run in French cinemas beginning 7. July.

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