Posts Tagged ‘France’
The happy winner – Ridha Khadher posing in front of his bakery
Two hundred and three Parisian bakers entered the Best Baguette of Paris 2013 competition. Wrapped in white paper with identification numbers, the entries were tasted, sniffed, weighed, and measured to determine the winner.
Fifty two entries were disqualified for not meeting the strict guidelines of measuring 55-70 centimeters long or weighing 250-300 grams…
This year’s winner was baker Ridha Khadher. His prize: The privilege of baking bread for the French President, François Hollande.
A contest truly worth winning. Only four ingredients water, a touch of salt, yeast and flour + skill. A lot of skill.
France legalized gay marriage on Tuesday after a wrenching national debate that has exposed deep social conservatism in the nation’s heartland and triggered huge protests in Paris from both sides of the divide. Legions of officers with water cannon braced outside the National Assembly for possible violence on an issue that galvanized the country’s faltering right.
The measure passed easily in the Socialist-majority Assembly, 331-225…
Justice Minister Christiane Taubira told lawmakers that the first weddings could be as soon as June.
“We believe that the first weddings will be beautiful and that they’ll bring a breeze of joy, and that those who are opposed to them today will surely be confounded when they are overcome with the happiness of the newlyweds and the families,” she said…
One of the biggest protests against same-sex marriage drew together hundreds of thousands of people bused in from the French provinces — conservative activists, schoolchildren with their parents, retirees, priests and others. That demonstration ended in blasts of tear gas, as right-wing rabble-rousers, some in masks and hoods, led the charge against police, damaging cars along the Champs-Elysees avenue and making a break for the presidential palace.
Following the vote members of the gay and lesbian community flocked to a square in central Paris, just behind City Hall, to celebrate the vote.
“I feel immense joy, gigantic joy,” said 39-year old Sylvain Rouzel, “at last, everyone has the same rights. This is huge! France was lagging behind. We had to wait 14 years after the civil union to finally obtain the right to get married, with equal rights for everyone. I feel great!”
Paris’ openly gay mayor, Bertrand Delanoe, was among the crowd of hundreds gathered for the street celebration in the Marais, the city’s historic gay neighborhood…
“The controversy that we’ve seen has been a stoked and manipulated controversy that’s really kind of a last-ditch attempt to block the tide of history,” said Evan Wolfson, president of the American activist group Freedom to Marry, which he said worked with the French on the bill. “I don’t think it spoke to a deep or wide opposition among the French people.”
French civil unions, allowed since 1999, are at least as popular among heterosexuals as among gay and lesbian couples. But that law has no provisions for adoption…
France is the 14th country to legalize gay marriage nationwide —and the largest population. If the United States still pretended to any social or cultural leadership we could strike a real blow for civil rights.
Of course, with so-called leadership coming from a mostly spineless White House – and Congress divided between windbags and colostomy bags – there ain’t much chance of the United States providing leadership to a lemming.
This video might rank up there with Katrina & The Waves’ “Walking On Sunshine” when it comes to putting the viewer in a good mood. Toyota does the honors by showing off a quartet of its all-electric i-Road concept vehicles literally sashaying through what appears to be a French seaside town in glorious digital effect style.
Narrow roads, stone streets, windy oceanside drives and traffic congestion are no match for these happy little vehicles, which are 850 millimeters wide (that’s 33.4 inches to you and me, about as wide as a baseball bat is long). If you were wondering how the concept sways back and forth, it’s because of what the Japanese automaker calls its “Active Lean” technology. Note how the fenders move up and down through the turns. “iRoll, iRock, i-Road” indeed.
The video shows the i-Road prototypes in settings more natural and normal than the painted tracks criss-crossing their booth in Geneva. True, they were able to demonstrated turning circle, cornering, some of the engineering that makes this little electric-motorcycle possible. But, winding through real streets is more fun.
A little more range than 30 miles and hopefully, an affordable price – and I’d buy one in an instant. We have only one fuel-affordable vehicle in our immediate family and it ain’t my pickup truck.
One of these would allow for impulsive trips to town during the week instead of saving my extra errands for the weekend family trip to town for grocery shopping – in my wife’s Fiesta.
The French and British governments have promised to punish those found responsible for selling horse meat in beef products at the heart of a growing scandal that started in Britain but is quickly spreading to France.
Benoit Hamon, French consumer affairs minister, said on Saturday that an investigation had found that the horse meat had originated in Romania, although there were links with French, Dutch and Cypriot firms and a factory in Luxembourg.
Owen Paterson, UK environment minister, said more cases of contaminated food could emerge as British retailers conducted tests for horse meat on processed beef products.
The scandal threatens to affect consumer confidence in Europe’s giant food industry, with pressure rising for greater checks.
The British unit of frozen foods group Findus began a recall this week of its beef lasagne from retailers on advice from its French supplier, Comigel, over concerns that some packs contained high levels of horse meat.
Findus France said it too had recalled lasagne and two other products after discovering that they included horse meat from Romania rather than beef from France as it had thought…
In Britain Findus said it believed the contamination was deliberate.
“The early results from Findus UK’s internal investigation strongly suggests that the horsemeat contamination in beef lasagne was not accidental,” it said.
Paterson summoned Britain’s leading food retailers and representatives of food processors to an emergency meeting at his office in London on Saturday to discuss the crisis.
He said participants were determined to get to the bottom of a scandal which he said was either caused by “gross incompetence or what I suspect is an international criminal conspiracy“.
Britain’s government is under pressure to appear on top of the scandal, which comes less than a month after supermarket chain Tesco and fast food outlet Burger King found horse meat in beef burgers from an Irish supplier.
The original discovery was accidental – essentially a result of retailers worrying about offending religious folks by traces of pork in beef products. The shock has turned to dismay as they learned the classic capitalist ethic of stealing as much profit as possible by diluting the cost structure of beef with much cheaper horse meat.
No one is going to drop dead – or even worse go directly to Limbo – because of the presence of horse protein. Still, being screwed on price is not what you’re supposed to expect from a regulated trade like meat. Obviously, oversight has been limited to neighborhood horizons.
Poo La La
Staff at a chemicals factory in north-western France are working to stop a gas leak that has spread a foul smell to Paris and south-east England…
Thousands of people, from as far away as Paris and London, have complained of nausea and headaches.
The gas is mercaptan, an additive to natural gas said to be harmless…It leaked on Monday from a plant run by a French subsidiary of the US chemicals manufacturer Lubrizol near Rouen, 120km north-west of Paris.
Winds blew the cloud over northern France on Monday night and then into England on Tuesday.
Authorities will investigate what caused the leak and whether the company should be held responsible, the ecology minister said.
Tuesday evening’s French Cup football match between Rouen and Marseille has been postponed because of the stink.
“We did not want to find ourselves with 10,000 fans 2km from the factory and with no means of confining them or evacuating them if necessary,” local government official Florence Gouache told AFP news agency…
There is no word on the cause of the leak. The factory has been closed.
In Britain, the Health Protection Agency said: “The smell drifting over Southern England today poses no risk to public health…”The odour, which is similar to rotten eggs, has been noticed by people mainly in Kent, East and West Sussex and some parts of Surrey.”
Emergency officials in southern Kent advised residents “to keep doors and windows closed due to a gas cloud”.
Phew! Also a favorite homemade boobytrap in high school chemistry classes.
A French court has found a psychiatrist guilty of involuntary homicide over a murder by one of her patients…Daniele Canarelli was given a suspended prison sentence of one year, in the first case of its kind in France.
Her patient Joel Gaillard murdered a man in March 2004, 20 days after Gaillard fled a consultation with Canarelli at a hospital in Marseille…
While accepting that there was no such thing as “zero risk” in such cases and that doctors could not predict the actions of their patients, the court found that Canarelli had made several mistakes in Gaillard’s treatment.
In contrast to other medical professionals who have to make quick judgements about their patients, Canarelli had a longer period of time during which she should have realised Gaillard’s treatment was failing, the court found.
The court’s Fabrice Castoldi said Canarelli should either have placed him in a specialised unit for difficult patients or referred him to another team.
Gaillard killed 80-year-old Germain Trabuc with an axe in March 2004 in the town of Gap.
Sorry, but, I am automatically suspicious of courts ruling on science and medicine. Questions of law don’t have to produce answers about justice – and this could be one of those cases. Society – and the voices of those who assign themselves the role of overseer of law and order – demands someone be found guilty of the crime. Since they couldn’t do so to Gaillard, they chose his doctor.
Daniele Canarelli may be guilty of professional mistakes; still, I’m not certain if any doctor is supposed to be omniscient, especially dealing with mental illness. Laying criminal responsibility upon someone not sworn to protect and serve as a copper smells of everything but justice.
We’re French. We have more nuclear weapons than anyone else in Europe.
The sperm count of French men plunged by a third between 1989 and 2005, a finding which fuels concern that environmental pollutants or lifestyle are crimping fertility…
Exceptional in scope, the study is believed to be the first country-wide, long-term probe into sperm quality, the team said.
“This constitutes a serious public health warning. The link with the environment particularly needs to be determined,” they warned in the European journal Human Reproduction.
Researchers examined data for semen samples provided by 26,609 men at 126 in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) centres in France over 17 years…
Over this period, the sperm count — fell continuously, by an average annual rate of about 1.9 percent, totalling 32.2 percent…
Speculating on the source of the declines, the scientists point to suspects which have already been fingered in lab research.
They could be chemical pollutants called endocrine disruptors that change hormone levels.
“They might also be linked to other known semen-altering factors that would have changed over the study period, like an increase in body-mass index, stress, nutrition or infections.”
At least it’s a new excuse to offer the Pope when he whines about birth control.
A self-styled guru has been sentenced to eight years in prison for cheating three generations of an aristocratic French family out of their fortune by making them believe they were under threat from a secret masonic plot.
Thierry Tilly convinced 11 members of the De Vedrines family to barricade themselves into their turreted manor house, Château Martel near Monflanquin, a medieval village in the Lot-et-Garonne in south-west France.
In what the court described as a “machiavellian plot”, he tricked them into handing over up to 4.5 million euros, and eventually made the family flee to Oxford, persuading them he was a former secret services agent and there was a plot against their lives. The family members, aged 16 to 89, described being in his sway for around nine years until 2009.
Tilly, 48, who met the family when he worked as an administrator at a school run by one of the De Vedrines sisters, was convicted of psychological abuse and deprivation of civil rights.
His accomplice, Jacques Gonzalez was sentenced to four years in prison.
I’m hard-pressed to come up with more than a modicum of sympathy for the gullible holders of inherited wealth. There are beaucoup private banks ready and willing to aid them in managing their money – starting with HSBC which is #1 as I recall. Inheriting lots of buck$ brings with it a responsibility to manage affairs for yourself and your family – or, don’t be a cheapskate, hire someone capable.
If you are hustled by some creepy con artist? What? Did you think you weren’t a target?
French archaeologists have uncovered a rare, near-complete skeleton of a mammoth in the countryside near Paris, alongside tiny fragments of flint tools suggesting the carcass may have been cut into by prehistoric hunters.
The archaeologists say that if that hypothesis is confirmed, their find would be the clearest ever evidence of interaction between mammoths and ancient cavemen in this part of Europe…
Archaeologists came across the giant bones by accident while they were excavating ancient Roman remains in a quarry near the town of Changis-sur-Marne, 30 km east of Paris.
The mammoth, which the archaeologists have named “Helmut”, is thought to be between 100,000 and 200,000 years old and is only the fourth near-complete specimen to be found in France…
Scientists believe Helmut, a woolly mammoth, may have become stuck in mud or drowned…
Mammoth remains are commonest in the frozen climates of Siberia, where around 140 specimens have been found including some of the world’s best-preserved carcasses.
The prehistoric animal disappeared from Western Europe around 10,000 years ago, most likely due to climate change and hunting.
We evolved as omnivores, folks. If digestible, we ate anything we could kill, find as some other critter’s leftovers, or pluck it out of a bog for lunch.
The quest for scarce goods meant we ate anything that wouldn’t kill us.
BTW – President Hollande and Valerie Trierweile aren’t married – they’re partners
French ministers grappled Wednesday with the issue of same-sex marriage and adoption rights as the Cabinet approved a draft bill in the face of fierce resistance from the Roman Catholic Church and social conservatives.
Extending the right to marry and adopt to same-sex couples was one of President Francois Hollande’s electoral pledges in campaigning this year.
The bill is expected to go before the National Assembly and Senate in January, and is likely to be voted on in February or March. If passed, it would mark the biggest step forward for French gay rights advocates in more than a decade…
An opinion poll released Wednesday by polling group Ifop and Le Monde newspaper found 65% of those surveyed support equal marriage rights for same-sex couples — a clear majority of the population…
Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, the archbishop of Paris, voiced his opposition to the proposed legislation at a meeting of French bishops in Lourdes over the weekend…
Golly gee! There’s a surprise.
Other religious groups in France, including Muslims, Jews and Buddhists, have also expressed their concern over the draft bill, and more than 100 lawmakers are against the legislation…
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has said the proposed changes are a matter of justice and equality that reflect the evolving nature of society…
A law legalizing civil unions was introduced in 1999 in France under a previous Socialist government.
Known in France as the PACS (pacte civil de solidarite), the civil union agreement can be entered into by gay or straight couples and confers many but not all of the rights of marriage.
Something the religious conservatives hate to admit is that civil unions are already more popular than marriage. Among other reasons, there is no need for religion to validate anything.