Tag Archives: France

Angry Truck Driver versus Migrants at Calais

Calais is a town in Northern France. The gentleman in the video is speaking Hungarian (from what I’ve been told). There are subtitles in English (lots of swearing!).

How many women and children can you spot in the video?

The funniest part? Scroll ahead to the 5:00 minute mark and watch the driver try and scare these poor “refugees”!

DCG

“Who wants their son to live the life of a handicapped person? Maybe some families want this, but we don’t.”

AFP Photo

AFP Photo

France24: Parents of an extremely premature baby, currently in hospital in the city of Poitiers, have asked doctors to take their child off life support, or “passive euthanasia”. The doctors, however, say they need more time to evaluate the baby’s condition.

“We made this decision over a week ago,” said the baby’s mother, Mélanie, who was interviewed by France Info. “Who wants their son to live the life of a handicapped person? Maybe some families want this, but we don’t.”

The baby boy, named Titouan, was born on 31 August, four months before his due date. He weighed just under 2lb at birth and suffered from an intracerebral haemorrhage. For now, the doctors at the University Hospital Center of Poitiers (CHU) are unable to judge the extent of the damage to his brain.

“If we want to be able to fully understand the consequences [of the haemorrhage], we can’t rush this. We need a few weeks to evaluate his condition,” said Professor Fabrice Pierre, of the department of gynecology and obstetrics at Poitiers CHU, on French TV channel France Bleu. “Currently, we are not giving him intensive treatment; we are simply giving him life support to give us the time to do a proper evaluation.”

The baby’s parents, Mélanie and Aurélien, who are both in their 30s, say that doctors have already told them that their son will be paralysed on one side and that it is very likely he will be “severely disabled.”

They accuse the “inhumane” doctors of prolonging their son’s suffering.

Currently, euthanasia is illegal in France, though the 2005 law says that doctors are allowed to end or refrain from using treatments or care that result in the artificial prolongation of life, as long as the family agrees with the doctor’s decision. This is often referred to as “passive euthanasia,” or withholding treatments necessary to the continuation of life.

Importantly, the 2005 law also puts the decision in the hands of the doctors.
Faced with the repeated demands of Titouan’s parents, CHU’s neonatal unit sought out the advice of an ethics panel. They have yet to make a decision.

Earlier in the year, French President François Hollande announced that the government planned to enact a tightly-framed law allowing “medical assistance to end one’s life in dignity”.

Close to nine out of ten French people (89%) interviewed said they would be in favour of a law authorising euthanasia, according to a survey published in French daily Le Parisien at the end of June.

In situations when a person is too sick to make the decision themselves, 53% said the family should make the decision, 41% said a doctor should only 6% said a judge should make the decision.

In June, The Council of State, France’s top administrative court ruled in favour of so-called passive euthanasia in the high-profile case of Vincent Lambert, a tetraplegic patient who has been in a state of minimal consciousness for the past six years.

See also:

DCG

France and multiculturalism: One in Six French People Say They Support Isis Caliphate

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IBTimes: Almost a sixth of the French population (16%) have a favourable disposition towards the terror group Isis (now known as the Islamic State), according to a new poll.

The survey, conducted by ICM Research, asked people across the western European countries of Germany, UK and France whether their view of IS was favourable or unfavourable.

The participants were asked: “From what you know, please, tell me if you have a very favourable, somewhat favourable, somewhat unfavourable or very unfavourable opinion of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant otherwise known as Isis?”

A breakdown of the age groups participating in the poll revealed that the younger the respondent, the more likely they were to have a favourable view of IS.

Twenty percent of French people between the ages of 35 and 44 had a favourable opinion of IS while 22% of 25-34 year-olds asked were also favourable to the group.

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The highest opinion of the group came in the youngest age group, the 18-24 year-olds.

France, a country with a population of 66 million, has a Muslim community of 4.7 million (as of 2010) and a large number of this community have emigrated from North Africa.

However, the poll was commissioned on behalf of Russian news agency Rossiya Segodnya, likely to take a swipe at the western countries in question.

The Islamic State and its march through Syria and Iraq have continued to attract worldwide media attention following the shocking video of US journalist James Foley’s murder.

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The group’s aims are to bring every corner of the world under their radical Islamic ideology and they have already declared a “Caliphate” straddling the Syrian-Iraqi border.

France has witnessed a growing threat of terrorism in recent years as hundreds of young French Muslims are believed to have flocked abroad to fight for jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq, with the potential to return home as radicalised members of society.

For the ICM poll’s data collection, the company interviewed 1,006 French nationals by telephone between 11-21 July 2014. The poll had a margin of error of 1.5-3%.  A representative for ICM was unavailable to answer IBTimes UK’s questions about methods of participant and location selection.

white flag

DCG

Red faces as Paris buys too-big metro escalators

homer-doh-square

France24: The finger pointing has begun already in Paris, with all sides bickering over who will foot the substantial bill which runs into millions of euros.

The infamous escalators, installed less than ten years ago, feature stairs ten centimetres wider than those normally used on the city’s metro system. The state-owned Paris public transport operator RATP had incorrectly thought that this would help boost capacity.

But it now transpires that the stairs are simply too wide to fit properly into the pre-existing spaces allotted to them, causing regular malfunctions.

This is a problem that has not only become a daily gripe for Paris’s already fractious commuters, but has also forced RATP to spend tens of thousands of euros on repairs.

“We had to put in place additional monitoring (of the new escalators) every four months that generally led to maintenance operations being carried out,” David Courteille, responsible for electromechanical engineering at RATP, told French daily Le Figaro. Such operations are normally carried out every six months on the rest of the operator’s escalators, he said.

These constant repair jobs cost RATP tens of thousands of euros each year for each escalator. In comparison, the operator normally spends 100,000 every ten years on renovations for each of its normal-sized escalators.

Now, the operator has decided to cut its losses and will begin replacing the faulty escalators, located on metro lines 14, 6 and 13, between now and 2015 – a measure set to cost at least six million euros, RATP’s maintenance chief Olivier Saiz told the newspaper..

“We have estimated between 200,000 and 500,000 euros for the price of each new escalator,” he said.

RATP though is hoping not to have to foot the bill. It is seeking compensation from Constructions industrielles de la Méditerranée – the French company from whom it ordered the malfunctioning escalators back in 2006 and 2007 – which it accuses of having made “design flaws”.

The story comes hot on the heels of another transport faux pas in France. The national rail company SNCF said in May that it had ordered 2,000 trains for an expanded regional network that were too wide for many station platforms, entailing costly repairs.

Those choosing to travel to France, remember, you’re paying for their transport network mistakes.

DCG

Socialist Utopia: Proposed law would increase Paris hotel tax by 500%

rainbow

Earlier this week I blogged about how France was begging its citizens to lighten up with tourists in order to encourage tourism. This was due to the fact that international surveys repeatedly found that foreign visitors rated the French capital as one of the world’s most hostile places. The tourist board had even gone as far as issuing service industry workers a “politeness manual. Three years earlier, the city paid “smile ambassadors” to be friendly to tourists at the city’s big attractions.

So what’s their next great idea to attract more tourists? Tax them more:

Tourists visiting France may find their hotel bills going up dramatically if a proposed law to impose huge increases in hotel taxes is approved.

The tax on taking a hotel room is currently between one and 1.50 euros. The proposed law would see this charge rising to eight euros, with an extra two euros per person per night in the Paris area. (One euro = $1.36 US dollar.)

The increased charges would apply to the top-end hotels, from one to five euros for three-star establishments, and from 1.50 to eight euros for four and five-star hotels.

The bill’s authors say the measure would raise 140 million euros a year, with the cash earmarked for much-needed investment in public transport used by tourists, particularly in the Paris region.

The bill, in the form of an amendment to existing legislation, was approved by the National Assembly this week. It would need to be voted in by the Senate before going into law.

The hotel trade, already up in arms over the growth of online short-term rental sites such as Airbnb, is not amused.

“If this were approved it would signify a complete breakdown of relations between the government and business,” France’s UMIH hotel union said in a statement.

“This has been proposed without any consultation with the hotel industry and goes against everything the government has promised in terms of boosting competitiveness.” “It’s totally irresponsible,” added UMIH president Roland Heguy.

The amendments were put forward by Socialist National Assembly member Olivier Faure in response to an urgent call from transport chiefs for tourists to contribute to the six-billion-euro cost of overhauling Paris’s public transport network.

“It makes sense,” said Jean-Paul Huchon, the head of the capital’s transport authority. “The 40 million tourists who visit Paris every year are big users of the public transport system, and their contribution will increase the competitiveness of Paris as a whole.”

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With a debt level that was the equivalent of 91% of French GDP, I guess they need to find money somewhere.

Bonjour!

DCG

Socialist Utopia: France begs its citizens to lighten up with tourists

 

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France24: Speaking at the launch of a new master-plan for tourism at a national conference, Commerce Minister Fleur Pellerin said France needed to “recover a sense of hospitality”, as “too often we mistake service for servility”.

Accompanying her was Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who said the government now aimed to attract 100 million tourists a year compared to 83 million in 2012.

Fabius, however, warned that the famed French surliness was a pothole on the road to tourism victory: “The logic is simple. An unhappy tourist is a tourist who never comes back.”

No doubt there are many Parisians, in particular, who would not find that a matter for regret. Every summer they must endure an invasion of big bottoms in bad shorts, booming foreign voices and boors who fail to realise that under the French code of courtesy, any approach from a stranger should begin with a polite “Bonjour” – and be followed by at least a minimal effort to start the conversation in French.

But the fact remains that international surveys have repeatedly found that foreign visitors rate the French capital as one of the world’s most hostile places – although France is currently also the world’s most visited country.

The TripAdvisor website found foreigners voted it the rudest city in Europe, and other researchers have reported that visitors thought it had the least friendly locals, the most unpleasant taxi drivers and the most aggressive waiters.

On the other hand, Parisians themselves reportedly do not enjoy Parisian manners either. A survey two years ago by Paris transport operator RATP found that 97 per cent of Parisians believed their fellow citizens “were ill-mannered and lacked civility” – statistics which do not bear too much looking into, as they suggest that those complaining must be rude themselves.

In desperation, last year the Paris Tourist Board issued service industry workers a “politeness manual. Three years earlier, the city paid “smile ambassadors” to be friendly to tourists at the city’s big attractions.

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Pellerin told the conference that the situation was no joke: “Tourism is not an amusing or a secondary matter … the stakes are the same as exports.”

The issue has become more pressing as the French economy languishes with high unemployment. It is further highlighted by the fact that bitter rival London now claims it has unseated Paris as the world’s top destination for foreign tourists. While French authorities insist the City of Light still holds the crown, in 2012 London was closing in; there were 29 million visitors to central Paris, which does not include the palaces of Versailles and Fontainebleau, and 27.6 million to Greater London, a much larger geographic area.

Fabius announced other measures to help boost Parisian appeal. The government aims to classify more areas as tourist zones, which would allow them to open on Sundays, particularly the area around the popular department stores such as Galeries Lafayette and Printemps.

The move is strongly opposed by shop assistants’ unions, which are striking this week over the issue. But Fabius says, “A tourist who finds the shop closed on Sundays will not wait until Thursday.”

He also announced a three-year redevelopment of the shabby Gare du Nord railway station, beginning with the cramped Eurostar terminal whose trains take passengers to and from Britain and Belgium.

“It’s the biggest train station in Europe. It must be able to stand the comparison with St Pancras in London,” he said. St Pancras, the arrival point for the Eurostar trains in the UK, reopened in 2007 after a glossy €10 million facelift.

Fabius said that from next year, special lanes would be reserved for taxis and buses on the route from Charles de Gaulle airport to Paris, and taxis would charge a flat rate for the trip. Work would also begin in 2017 on the long-planned Paris-Charles de Gaulle express rail line, which will connect with Gare de l’Est.

Underlining the importance of the initiatives, Fabius said, “Tourism is an industry that provides tens and tens of thousands of additional jobs in France… Let me give you just three figures. There were 25 million tourists [worldwide] in 1950; today there is one billion. In 2030 there will be two billion. We must capture a big share of those tourists and at the same time, more French people must be allowed to benefit from tourism.”

And he called for tourists to be welcomed more warmly at French railway stations and airports, saying, “The first contact is often the determining factor.”

Who knew socialism would make people so cranky? /sarc

DCG

Todays Fun Facts.

 

Don’t know if true, but these “facts” are interesting

Q: Why do men’s clothes have buttons on the right while women’s clothes have buttons on the left?
A: When buttons were invented they were very expensive and worn primarily by the rich. Since most people are right-handed, it is easier to push buttons on the right through holes on the left. Because wealthy women were dressed by maids dressmakers put the buttons on the maid’s right!  And that’s where women’s buttons have remained since.

Q: Why do ships and aircraft use ‘mayday’ as their call for help?
A: This comes from the French word m’aidez – meaning ‘help me’ — and is pronounced, approximately, ‘mayday.’

Q: Why are zero scores in tennis called ‘love’?
A: In France, where tennis became popular, the round zero on the scoreboard looked like an egg and was called ‘l’oeuf,’ which is French for ‘the egg.’  When tennis was introduced in the US Americans (mis)pronounced it ‘love.’


Q. Why do Xs at the end of a letter signify kisses?
A: In the Middle Ages, when many people were unable to read or write, documents were often signed using an X. Kissing the X represented an oath to fulfill obligations specified in the document. The X and the kiss eventually became synonymous.


Q: Why is shifting responsibility to someone else called ‘passing the buck’?
A: In card games it was once customary to pass an item, called a buck, from player to player to indicate whose turn it was to deal.  If a player did not wish to assume the responsibility of dealing he would ‘pass the buck’ to the next player.


Q: Why do people clink their glasses before drinking a toast?
A: It used to be common for someone to try to kill an enemy by offering him a poisoned drink. To prove to a guest that a drink was safe it became customary for a guest to pour a small amount of his drink into the glass of the host. Both men would drink it simultaneously.  When a guest trusted his host he would only touch or clink the host’s glass with his own.

Q: Why are people in the public eye said to be ‘in the limelight’?
A: Invented in 1825 limelight was used in lighthouses and theatres by burning a cylinder of lime which produced a brilliant light. In the theatre, a performer ‘in the limelight’ was the centre of attention. 

Q: Why is someone who is feeling great ‘on cloud nine’?

A: Types of clouds are numbered according to the altitudes they attain, with nine being the highest cloud.  If someone is said to be on cloud nine that person is floating well above worldly cares.

Q: In golf, where did the term ‘Caddie’ come from?
A. When Mary Queen of Scots went to France as a young girl Louis, King of France, learned that she loved the Scots game ‘golf.’  He had the first course outside of Scotland built for her enjoyment. To make sure she was properly chaperoned (and guarded) while she played Louis hired cadets from a military school to accompany her.  Mary liked this a lot and when returned to Scotland (not a very good idea in the long run) she took the practice with her. In French, the word cadet is pronounced ‘ca-day’ and the Scots changed it into ‘caddie.’

Q: Why are many coin banks shaped like pigs?
A: Long ago dishes and cookware in Europe were made of a dense orange clay called ‘pygg’.  When people saved coins in jars made of this clay the jars became known as ‘pygg banks.’  When an English potter misunderstood the word he made a container that resembled a pig.  And it caught on.
                   

Now you know! 

~Steve~                                       H/T    I_Man