by Michael Fitzpatrick
Article published on the 2010-02-05 Latest update 2010-02-05 09:17 TU
There's vegetables on the front page of Libération, carrots to be precise. That's because the raw-meat-eating French have recently woken up to the benefits of guzzling things fresh and green. The problem is - local producers can't meet the demand - only six per cent of French agricultural land is currently devoted to organic farming, that's the poorest proportion in western Europe, despite the fact that 84 per cent of the French would like to see the sector develop, for health and environmental reasons.
The other problem is, organically produced vegetables cost a lot more to grow than their glow-in-the-dark steroid-guzzling cousins. And there's such a marketing and packaging nightmare to be gone through to earn the organic label that most producers simply give up.
Also on Libé's front page, the very biological Dominique Strauss-Kahn, boss of the International Monetary Fund and a likely candidate in the next French presidential election. Dear old Dom does not like jokes about him, is a very powerful dude, and now speaks English well enough to understand this sort of drivel. So, not another word will be said.
Speaking of vegetables, Le Figaro gives pride of place to socialist Ségolène Royal and centrist François Bayrou. The right-wing paper is happy to do this, since those two potatoes are going backwards so rapidly in the opinion polls, they look likely to vanish off the political map entirely after the forthcoming regional elections. And good riddance, suggests Le Figaro.
The same Le Figaro carries a heartening story about respect for the law and those brave men and women who enforce it here in France.
Last Saturday morning, six adults and nine children presented themselves before the cashier of a cinema in central Paris. They asked for tickets for the eleven o'clock screening of the latest Disney block-buster, The Princess and the Frog. The law-abiding, God-fearing cashier asked the ages of the various minors involved, and was duly informed that one scut was the ripe old age of 2 years and 10 months. Shock, horror! A French law dating from 1927 prohibits children under the age of three from all places of public entertainment.
The whole gang was refused admission. So they went around the corner and bought the tickets from the other, less legally astute, cashier and entered the cinema.
Before the film could begin, a busload of heavily armed police officers arrived, scanning the faces of the bemused audience by means of their powerful torches until the three offending families had been located. There were tears, there were cries of fear, there were recriminations, there were threats of a trip to the local constabulary, but all 15 of the law-breaking good-for-nothings were eventually escorted from the premises by the baton-wielding agents of law and order. The statutes having thus been upheld, the film could finally begin.
Outside, the three families tried to get their money back. No way, José! You'd have more chance of turning a frog into a prince than of getting a refund from a Parisian cinema. Let that be a lesson to any would-be two-year-old criminals who might be listening.
Business daily Les Echos reports that Moody's, the agency which grades national economies and businesses in order to warn the prudent investor where NOT to place his hard-earned sheckles, is considering a reduction of the triple-A rating currently accorded to the United States. The main problem is the size of the American public debt.
Meanwhile, the speculators are circling the Greek, Portuguese and Spanish economies like sharks, buying on the cheap, counting on European Union support to push the value up some day soon. The bottom fell out of the market in both Lisbon and Madrid yesterday, so that's good news for the sharks, bad news for the struggling euro currency.
Enter Dominique Strauss-Kahn in his Superman suit! He shoots, he scores! We're saved!
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