Monday, May 9, 2011

9 May 2011: News of the day

What I've seen in Le Parisien today.

Velcom, the free bike rental scheme in the northern suburbs of La Plaine Commune (St Denis and surrounding towns), is a flop. Vandalism and theft resulted in all bikes being removed from stations a few months ago. The ones in good shape were put back recently after having computer chips installed to help track them (not sure how that works). They, too, are being vandalized and stolen, so it looks like the whole expensive scheme is going to be put to an end. Even in moderately more civilized Paris, Vélib suffers far more vandalism and theft than planners expected (but less than Jimmy said would happen, but he's very pessimistic about people in general and Parisians in particular).

A policeman, chasing a purse snatcher, was stabbed (as was the victim of the purse snatching). Took place in the capital of Parisian crime, contraband, drug dealing, etc., Barbès.

French notaries do far more than just witness signatures. They are more like lawyers, in charge of all matters dealing with real estate, inheritance, etc. There are less than 10,000 notaries, but they do more than 5 million euros in business each year. Their use is required in many types of contracts. They are private, but operate under a public mandate, and are often accused of cheating, lying, embezzling, etc. They are a clique subject to their own rules and their own justice system. A new book is out claiming that recent government procedures granting notary status to people were illegal (mostly for technicalities), meaning that the people named as notaries aren't notaries, and that all the contracts they've worked on can be contested in court.

The very studly minister for European Affairs Laurent Wauquiez wants to introduce workfare in France. Why not? Except of course that it would cost a fortune to administer it.

Italians fear a huge earthquake in Rome on Wednesday, based on the prediction of Mussolini's astrologer or something. Hee.

François Blaquart, the national technical director of the French Football Federation, is very hurt that people would take his racist proposals for French football as meaning he is a racist. He might even let himself be fired!

Le Parisien give suggestions to national team coach Laurent Blanc on how he can defend himself during his deposition in the investigation on the racist quotas in French football. Thanks, Le Parisien! That's certainly the role of a newspaper.

In a solemn and emotional ceremony, the Mayor of Rouen presented the NZ Ambassador to France with a mummified Maori head from the city's museum, so that it can be returned to Aotearoa to be buried in its tribal lands.

A group of buildings in the very chic St Germain des Près neighborhood, formerly occupied by the French Customs service, have been sold to private investors. The buildings included listed monuments, and have been carefully restored, but with the most modern equipment (raised floors for AC and cabling, etc.). The architects note that the government agents were very hard on the building, requiring a large investment to restore the buildings. But I thought that only public ownership was able to preserve France's historical heritage??? Private bad, public good, right? Note that the new owners are not only private, but they're a private equity fund, the Carlyle Group, from AMERICA! Horrors!

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