Health and Safety, In the News, Transports: Métro, Taxi, Trains and Planes

Paris tourist warning: 53% of violent transit thefts tied to phones

53% of violent thefts in Paris m and transit métro and transit thefts involve smart phones, including the ubiquitous iPhone. City officials even call it the "iPhone effect."

This is easy to understand. My wife lost her iPhone on the Muni bus here in San Francisco. The thief scoped the riders near the door and as the bus doors opened, he grabbed the phone and ran out the door. The doors closed and she barely knew what happened. I could see this easily happening in Paris. On the other hand, your odds aren't so bad. If you're standing at rush hour, you're usually surrounded by ten other people staring at their little screens. Still, a word to the wise...

In the News, Transports: Métro, Taxi, Trains and Planes, Understand France and the French

Paris bid to ban SUVs?

Those French, so logical and practical, yet so infuriating to the American sensibility of freedom and waste. Ten years after the Hummer was introduced as the ultimate extension of small apartment masquerading as automobile, this seems like a sensible step, especially in cities where there are no mountains to climb or icy roads to navigate. Bulky, gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles (SUVs) could be banned from the chic but traffic-clogged streets of Paris within 18 months following a resolution passed by the city council.

In the News

French jobless rate hits 25 pct among young

Huge issue in France and the not surprising effect is that most college grads want safe jobs in the government bureaucracy if they can get one at all. French parents worry they are preparing their kids for a lifetime of unemployment, made worse by a lack of ambition and risk-taking. PARIS (Reuters) - France's youth unemployment rate rose to a record 25 percent in the third quarter, well above the European average, and the overall jobless rate remained stuck at 9.7 percent in the latest gloomy news for euro zone growth. The jobless rate among people aged 15-24 years rose from 24.2 percent in the preceding April-June quarter, the highest level on records going back to 1975, data showed on Thursday.

Architecture and Design, In the News

Paris Skyline Ready to Tour Montparnasse heights

Hidden in the fine print of all the articles on this however, is that the development will only be allowed to take place in the 13th arrondissment, leaving almost all of what tourists think of as "classic Paris" untouched. ... One of the striking things about Paris is that, for a major city whose metropolitan area includes nearly 12 million people, there are very few buildings more than five or six stories tall. Since 1977, soon after the construction of the 689 foot tall Tour Montparnasse, a building that sticks out like a sore thumb and is widely disliked by Parisians, there has been a height limit of 121 feet on all new buildings. ... But on Tuesday, Le Monde reported, the Paris City Council voted to raise the height limit to a revolutionary 590 feet, meaning that in the next few years, the Paris skyline will have a growth spurt.

In the News

Air quality balloon hovers over Paris

Why is now that it seems every other country and city comes up with bigger ideas than we see in America?

This big weather balloon in Paris changes color with the air quality. I hope it doesn't become a fixture as old as the Tour Eiffel, but I love the vision of this other-worldly object floating above the city. Paris, London, K-L, Shanghai...the list goes on and on of cities breaking the horizon with new ideas.

In the News

Amazing story: Infant in Paris falls 7 stories, bounces and lives!

An astounding story of fast thinking and fantastic luck.

A baby boy survived a fall from a seven-story window in Paris by bouncing off a café awning and into the arms of the doctor who saw the infant fall Monday evening.

The 18-month-old toddler was playing unsupervised with his 3-year-old sister when the accident occurred.

[From Doctor Catches Infant Who Fell Seven Stories | AHN]

If you click through, the other amazing coincidence is that the cafe was closed for a holiday and the awning should have been folded up. It had jammed and had been left open.

In the News

French politics will not be swayed by Bin Laden tape, Sarkozy says –

The other report cited was Christian Science Monitor; this from CNN which is more ominous:

Paris, France (CNN) -- The French government will not be swayed by a threatening message apparently recorded by Osama Bin Laden, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday.

"It goes without saying that France does not let its politics be dictated by anyone, and certainly not by terrorists," Sarkozy said while attending the European Union summit in Brussels Friday.

Bin Laden warned France to get its troops out of Afghanistan and not to oppress Muslims at home in a tape broadcast by the Al-Jazeera network Wednesday and authenticated by the French Foreign Ministry on Thursday.

In the News

France to leave Afghanistan – Bin Laden attack cancelled?

France denies any connection between its decision to remove troops from Afghanistan in 2011 and Osama bin Laden’s pledge to attack French troops.

Interesting turn of events. I'm happy that the threat may be decreased, but it's hard not to be a bit cynical about the timing. I don't think we should any longer be occupying Afghanistan either, but I don't think bowing to the demands of Bin Laden is exactly the way I'd go about announcing a departure. But I'm not the King of France either, so what do I know?

In the News

New Bin Laden Tape Warns France

This is not a happy development since we're three weeks from our annual Thanksgiving trip to Paris.

PARIS — Osama bin Laden warned France in an audiotape broadcast by Al Jazeera television on Wednesday that it would face killings and kidnappings if it did not withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

He also justified the kidnapping of five French citizens in Niger last month, saying that France mistreated its Muslims.

“The equation is very clear and simple: as you kill, you will be killed; as you take others hostages, you will be taken hostages; as you waste our security we will waste your security,” Mr. bin Laden said.

[From New Bin Laden Tape Warns France -]