|New Terminal at Paris Airport Collapses
My own mom passed through Roissy - Charles de Gaulle to-day, hours after Sunday morning's partial collapse of the new 2E departure terminal.
|(continued from 1st column...) This will be terrible for Andreu's career but clearly the heaviest immediate suspicions will fall on the engineers and contractors who worked on the place. Graff told Le Parisien that the terminal was built by the GTM construction company. However the Times reports that it was built by construction firm Eiffel architecture firm Laubeuf (incorrectly identified as a construction company).
According to the Times, the terminal cost $900 million and was projected to handle 10 million passengers a year as part of French plans to turn Paris in Europe's largest air-travel hub — only one of the things that has been seriously called into question by yesterday's catastrophe.
Le Monde's editorial to-day talks of a wound to French pride and of grave longer-term consequences. "The display of beauty and power made in the form of this building thus turns dramatically toward a show of weakness. [...] As the world's eighth largest airport, Roissy had begun expansions that were to allow it to rival London and Frankfort. The new Airbus A380 was to dock at terminal 2E. The 'earthquake' may call this ambition into doubt. Not to mention the consequences for the recent privatization of Air France and the one planned by the government for Aéroports de Paris ¶ Ultimately, an earthquake for French architectural know-how and its exportation abroad..."
French Surgeons Threaten to Leave France en Masse
The AFP is reporting that, citing a profession-wide crisis, a collective of French surgeons calling itself "Chirurgiens de France" is threatening to "leave French territory" if its "appeal isn't heard."
"Most liberal surgeons are to-day ready to leave French territory entirely if their appeal isn't heard," a press-release read, according to the AFP.
The group's grievances include sky-rocketing insurance premiums (which have increased by €15,100 in the last 11 years). On the other hand, they say that doctors' fees haven't been raised in 14 years. They also say that a crisis in staffing is looming, asserting that 50% of the positions for surgical interns in the Paris region went unfilled in 2003.
The AFP also reports that a whopping 83% of the French public feel that the "lack of personnel" is the greatest problem they encounter in Public hospitals. Sixty-six percent complain of insufficient supply while 43% complain of the 35-hour work week rule. Nevertheless, 67% said they were satisfied overall with the French health system (which probably accounts for France's high average longevity). That percentage rose to 69% among hospitalized persons and to 72% among those of retirement age. Eighty-two percent have a "good opinion" of French public hospitals. Almost one in two (43%) said their views on French hospitals had improved in recent years (31% said they had worsened). Only 4% want the hospital system to be privatized and 37% expect the current situation to be maintained over the next 50 years. The results of the study are available here.
It Finally Happened: Socialist Party bounces pro-Israel candidate to court Muslim vote
According to Moroccan newspaper Le Matin, the Socialist Party has bumped euro MP François Zimeray — reputedly a fierce defender of Israel — from its list for next month's European elections the better to court the Muslim vote. Looks like the PS may have gotten rid of Pascal Boniface but kept his strategy... Meanwhile, debates on Israel at the European parliament haven't always been proud occasions, according to DF.
Expect this matter to make lots of news in the coming days.
Many French Feel Islam Undemocratic
Forty-seven percent of French people feel that Islam is incompatible with democracy, according to a survey published in the right wing French newspaper FranceSoir and repeated here. A third disagree and twenty percent are undecided.
France Won't Cancel All of Iraq's Debt
Reuters reports that France has agreed in principle to cancel as much as 50% of Iraq's current French debts but is as yet refusing to go as far as the 80-90% sought by the US. Iraq currently owes France about €3 billion, largely in unpaid bills from the 1980s when France sold Iraq gargantuan amounts of military technology and built enormous large-scale constructions (Saddam International airport, for example).
Turkish Imam Finally Expelled
Turkish Midhat Guler, accused of inciting terrorism and placed under house arrest, was forcibly repatriated on Friday, according to al-Jazeera. See here for more about Guler's case.
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
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