Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Ambiel, Leeches, etc.

Ambiel Sullied, Defamed Discredited... Could be Fined €2,000

Back in April I blogged the emerging scandal of Raffarin communications director Dominique Ambiel's arrest in the presence of an underage prostitute in the middle of the night in Paris.

The Paris prosecutor's office (somewhat like an American District Attorney but not really) sought to haved Ambiel fined €2,000 for "insulting behavior to an officer of the law" and for having "sollicited, accepted, or obtained in exchange for payment, sexual relations with a minor who practices prostitution" (a crime punishable by three years in prison and a €45,000 fine).

Red in the face, Ambiel told the court, which has postponed judgment until September 6, that "all of this is entirely alien to me. I am dumbfounded. I have a nine year-old daughter, 80 year-old parents have taken this like an assault. [...] I have been sullied, harassed, discredited, defamed. I have been crucified for two months

French leeches for sale in US

The AFP reports that French company Ricarimpex has received FDA approval to sell medicinal leeches in the US for the purpose of treating blocked veins and skin grafts.The Biorica Web site claims the company has been breading hirudo medicinalis since 1850. (Little did you know it, reports NPR, but "for years now, leeches have been used in a variety of medical techniques."

Crony Diplomacy

In awarding the Algerian ambassadorship of France to Hubert Colin de Verdière, Jacques Chirac has given another close friend an important diplomatic posting (see below). Since Daniel ("shitty little country") Bernard's death at the end of April, the position had been vacant. Bernard had replaced Colin de Verdière when the former took up his position in London (the city in which he famously referred to Israel as "that shitty little country"). The AP writes that some feel that Colin de Verdière could steer the Algerian market, which some say is "Americanizing," back toward France.

EDF Reform Passes as Expected

The liberalizing reforms of EDF passed the Assemblée Nationale 376 - 180, with the vote split straight down ideological lines. (See here for the text of the law.)

According to swissinfo, EDF executives say that by midday 12% of their workforce was on strike (On June 15, as many 33% had picketed. On May 27, 41.3%.). From 3,000 to 6,000 demonstrators marched in Paris from place de la République to l'Opéra. At least 36 transport stations were shut down during the day and workers reduced output at a ten nuclear power stations as well as thermal and hydraulic plants.

Meanwhile at France-3... there were almost no regional newcasts to-day. Of the 24 normally broadcast, only 7 actually aired. (Try the Web casts. It works in Pays de Loire and Picardie, at least...)