Tuesday, June 14, 2011

14 June 2011: News of the day

Reading Le Parisien:

Top story gets four pages: crime in the dreadful suburb of Sevran, where half the population lives in housing projects.

  • Story 1: A city where children can't go outside for recess for fear of a stray bullet. A mayor who calls for UN peacekeepers.
  • Story 2: A center for drug dealing, with clients coming from far and wide, where grass is smoked in plain view, near kids.
  • Story 3: Heavy police presence, with choppers, etc.
  • Story 4: Fears of schoolkids.
  • Story 5: Some buildings, those with former youth "leaders", manage to clear out the dealers, but they just go to the next building.
  • Story 6: Residents keep their mouth shut for fear of reprisals.
  • Story 7: Residents feel abandoned by politicans and civil servants.
  • Story 8: Map and key figures.
  • Story 9: The closing of the Kodak and Westinghouse factories has made poverty and unemployment a way of life.
  • Story 10: People want to leave, while others have hopes for the urban renewal projects underway.
  • Story 11: Within the city, the residents of each project keep to themselves.
  • Story 12: Some neighbors work together, including on new community gardens.
  • Story 13: The president of the business association says things aren't so bad: "It will never be Harlem" (which shows he doesn't know Harlem).
  • Story 14: The municipal cinema and other culture venues are places of stability and security.

Chirac's "joke" about voting for a Socialist candidate for P12 still making news.

A page on a new campaign against spousal rape will be making waves.

It's national blood donor day. But I can't give, because I'm gay, and France has a crazy policy not based on risky behaviors, but on identity. That said, I would rather the activists who attack the ministry of health on this discrimination devoted their energy to reducing the prevlance of HIV among gay men, in particular among young men. Do that, and there's no excuse for discrimination.

The Sarkozy government is plowing ahead with its pseudo-populist law on bonuses. Companies that paid bigger dividends in 2010 than in recent years must negotiate a deal for a bonus, which will be exempt from payroll taxes. So only employees in listed companies, and only the ones that paid dividends in the required way, are eligible, creating huge and unfair disparities based on the accident of the company they happen to work for. Unions and employer organizations are both opposed.

France is going to require new testing for foreign-educated physicians. The result will be fewer doctors for night shifts, rural areas, and tough neighborhoods, where French doctors don't want to work.

All is well in the Marais, where all were freaking out at the thought of a McDonald's opening. Instead, it will be a home decor store.

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