Monday, June 28, 2004


Grève x 4

There was widespread disruption of French train service today, halting rail service to Spain, due to power cuts by striking electricity workers who oppose the planned privatization of Electricité de France. The action delayed service to 150,000 passengers during the morning rush and service on more than 200 train routes was delayed at the Gare Saint-Lazare. Saboteurs severed electric cables and broke equipment in Nanterre, according to EDF. Immediate suspicion fell on CGT union members who's national spokesman has condemned that acts and declared that he is not solidarity with their perpetrators, though local offices blame the government and suggestively say that all theories as to who may be behind the sabotage are possible.

Other power cuts caused heavy delays on 8 lines of the Paris metro and the RER A, though RATP officials foresaw a return to normal service by 10 am.

The Assemblée Nationale is to vote to-morrow on the proposed privatization and in response labor unions CFDT, CFTC, CFT and Force Ouvrière are calling for a "mobilization equal to the historically high stakes."

Striking workers continue to occupy 22 transport stations, in some cases preventing hydraulic generation in the Massif central region. A 2,000 megawatt drop in production was recorded at power stations in Cruas, Fessenheim, Chinon and Nogent-sur-Seine. This affected operations at the Saint Nazaire shipyard, the the Peugeot assembly line at Dompierre and the Vicat cement works in Créchy. A 400,000-volt power line feeding north-eastern Spain was also turned off.

As part of so-called "Robin Hood" operations, seven Paris-region hospitals and charitable organizations got electricity for FREE. Some households that had failed to pay their bills had power restored to them briefly.

Socialist leader François Hollande said that EDF employees are "fighting for the preservation of [EDF's public enterprise] statute. It's not for them. It's for us."

[Cue: Californians nodding...]


Employees at France 3 are calling for a 24-hour strike for midnight to-night to protest proposals made by the executive board. CFTC rep Sélim Farès says that more than 40% of France 3 employees may participate and that local newscasts should be affected.

Executives at France 2 are threatening to fire Jean-Marc Surcin, a union representative, for refusing to return to work at an opinion program instead of at the documentary division where he now is. CGT, CFDT, SNJ and SRCTA have taken umbrage at his treatment and Lord only knows what it may set off...

Rocket launchers: to shoot down which planes, exactly?...

The Ivorian media are abuzz following reports that France's 43rd marine infantry battalion, stationed at the French military base of Port-Bouët in Abidjan, has received a shipment of surface-to-air and air-to-ground missiles.

A customs declaration obtained by and dated June 18 of this year indicates that the 43rd mib received air-to-ground and ground-to-air rocket-launcher tubes, flame throwers, grenade launchers and torpedo launchers. This comes after French denials that Leclerc tanks would be dispatched to IC, perhaps in response to what had only been calculated misinformation in the first place.

Just what peace are they planning to keep? One might well ask... The only military air-craft in the country belong to the FANCI, one of whose soldiers recently just lost it, according to the official version, and murdered a French soldier in cold blood.

Cantona: French 'arrogant and selfish' (!!??)

Unlike a certain somebody, it seems Eric Cantona was rooting for England. The Beeb writes that Man U legend Eric Cantona has reportedly said that "I am French but I was supporting England. It’s my country, I don’t want to know about France — I was born there but I feel English.”

Cantona also bemoaned the nastiness of the French press in reacting to France's elimination from Euro 2004:
[The French] are arrogant and selfish and always need people to tell them they are the best. [... In England], when a player is good like [Wayne] Rooney, they say he is good. They give him an incentive. They support him — the team-mates as well as the fans. [...] The French have only negative things to say about everything and everyone.
Depardieu Busts Tibia

Actor Gérard Depardieu fell off his scooter while riding down avenue du président Wilson in Paris this morning and fractured two bones in his leg. Doctors say his condition is good.

Depardieu's son Guillaume, who refuses to speak with this father and who cut an iconic figure riding motorcycles in the brilliant 1999 Carax film Pola X, had a leg amputated in 1996 when an infection set in during hospital treatment after he crashed his motorcycle. The two starred together in the very dull 1991 film Tous les matins du monde.

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