France: Strikes Against Emmanuel Macron Enter Third Week

The strikes against pension reforms have massive support in France (Picture via: libcom.org

Though the situation for those needing to use public transport in France has improved slightly in the past week on nationwide strikes in protest at the government’s proposed reforms to labour law and retirement pensions entered their week. Official spokespeople claim there has been progress in negotiations with unions, but there is little observable evidence to support this.

However, the crisis hitting France, one of the world’s biggest economies at the height of the holiday season is far from over.

Anti-government protesters maintained the pressure on President Emmanuel Macron with a new march through Paris in yesterday afternoon. Some workers are determined to to maintain the general strike throughout the holiday period and into the New Year.

SNCF, the state owned rail system said about 60 per cent of trains were at a standstill, down from 90 per cent earlier in the strike but enough to disrupt life in the nation. Provincial cities have suffered fewer problems but in Paris tourists and commuters alike are still struggling to move around the French capital, due to buses and the subway system as well as local train servuces being hit by the industrial action.

The centrist Macron, a former investment banker, wants to raise the retirement age to 64 and says the current pension system costs too much; unions say the pension reform is part of Macron’s plans to dismantle hard-won worker rights, and want to preserve a system that allows some workers to leave as early as their fifties.

Many protestors are angry that while Macron says the nation cannot afford to pay pensions the president is still inviting uneducated, unskilled, uncivilised, unemployable third world migrants to the country where they are fed, housed, educated and cared for at the expense of French taxpayers.

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Paris brought to a standstill by anti-Macron transport protests

On Friday, public transport workers in Paris staged a coordinated walk-out against Macron’s planned pension former which caused the worst disturbance to the French capital’s public transport network in more than a decade.

The strike represents the first major action taken against President Macron’s plan to standardized ‘universal’ pension system. The plan would see one single points-based pension system created out of the 42 different systems which currently are in place right now, the Local reports.

Massive traffic jams and large crowds waiting at the platforms with at least a few lines still working were both triggered by the protest.

Yellow Vests block Major Roads, Cause Transport Chaos In France

Reuters reports French “yellow vest” protesters wreaked havoc with road transport on Tuesday by occupying autoroute toll booths and even torching some of them. France’s biggest toll road operator, Vinci Autoroutes , said there were demonstrations at 40 of its sites and that several highway intersections had been heavily damaged, mainly in southern of France.

The Bandol toll station, near Marseille in the south of France, suffered fire damage on Tuesday and the A50 highway was closed, said Vinci, whose network is mainly in the south and west of the country.

“Motorists should take utmost care as they approach toll gates and motorway access ramps due to the presence of numerous pedestrians,” Vinci said in a statement.

People have died in roadside accidents at yellow vest roadblocks in recent weeks, mostly at roundabouts blocked by groups of demonstrators. The ‘yellow vests’ protesters – named after the fluorescent jackets French motorists must have in their cars – have blocked roads and roundabouts across France since mid-November.

The demonstrations began as a protest against fuel tax increases, but have since grown into a bigger backlash against the policies of French President Emmanuel Macron.

Over the past four Saturdays, demonstrators have torched cars, looted shops and clashed with police in Paris and other French cities, although protests in the capital last weekend were smaller and more peaceful than previous ones.


Index of posts on France

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Having Sex on the Subway With Google Translate

Last week, Prague subway authorities announced the idea that a special “Love Train” service will be introduced on the city subway. The idea was that on these Love Train a special carriage would be reserved for singles to meet, get to know each other and maybe make dates and begin romances.

The story went viral on the internet after Mexican news service Vanguardia.com.mx posted a version translated by an online translation service which reported that the Prague subway had introduced special wagons, in which couples could make love.

Title of the article which appeared in the Europe section was unambiguous, it read:

Sex in the subway in Prague is allowed.

In the original Czech version of the text said the Prague transport department was to make cars destined for the lonely, there was no mention about sex.

The poorly translated article caused a sensation. It was linked by hundreds of Mexicans and Spanish speaking Americans on Facebook and Twitter. The Prague tourist office reported a spike in bookings, mostly from people who are married – but not to each other.

And the article that was mistranslated: Prague plans subway Love Train for singles

We wonder what will happen when Boggart Blog breaks our latest exclusive; Cameron and Miliband come to an accommodation on same sex marriage which our favourite online translation service turns into “Cameron and Miliband meet in hotel for gay sex.”

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Only Three Steps To Heaven … or you can take the lift

“There are only three steps to heaven”, the late, great Eddie Cochran used to sing in the days when I was nicking me dear old Dad’s Brylcreem and trying to comb my hair into a quiff (by the end of the day it had always reverted to the standard schoolby fringe)

In these increasingly idle times we don’t even need to take three steps to heaven, we can just ride in the lift.

Japanese construction company Obayashi wants to build an elevator to space and transport passengers to a station about a tenth the distance to the moon.

The elevator would use super-strong carbon nanotubes in its cables and could be ready as early as 2050, according to Tokyo-based Obayashi.

The cables would stretch some 60,000 miles, about a quarter the distance to the moon, and would be attached to Earth at a spaceport anchored to the ocean floor. The other end would dangle a counterweight in space.

The elevator would zip along at 125 mph, possibly powered by magnetic linear motors, but would take about a week to get to the station. It would carry up to 30 people.
Up above, the space station would have living quarters and lab facilities. Solar panels connected to the station would generate electricity that would be transmitted to the ground.

NASA has also investigated space elevators, awarding $900,000 in 2009 to LaserMotive for developing a laser-powered robotic climber. Aside from the tremendous hurdles for the technology involved. While space elevators could significantly reduce space-related costs compared with rocket launches, the infrastructure could cost tillions to build a report said.

Well that no doubt will have the space freaks cluthching their naughty bits and rocking to and fro in ecstacy but as usual with these ever-so-easy ideas to conquer the laws of nature people have not thought it through properly.

Who would ever want to spend a week in a lift with 29 other people? I have been in some very well appointed lifts, in the Empire State Building, No 1 Canada Square The Kaknäs Tower in Stockholm, and a few others but I don’t recall one with bedrooms, showers and a restaurant. And where would the toilet facilities go?

Would there be separate flushing loos, say one per 4 people, or would space trekkers all have to share the same bucket behind a curtain in the corner?

Forget about the scientists delusional notion of doing experiments in a space laboratory and unravelling the secrets of the universe, a week crammed into a lift with the odours of 30 peoples’ body functions, the protucts of wich are decomposing somewhere very near by would be enough to finish of Bear Grylls let alone a bunch of wussy scientists.

The space lift is one of those ideas that as a mathematical experiment might look fine on paper but as a real world business venture we can’t see it getting off the ground.

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57383872-1/japan-plans-snail-paced-space-elevator-for-2050/#ixzz1nQWJQEYY

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Former Lib Dem MP Lembit Segways Into Insanity.

Since losing his seat at the election former Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik has been looking for ways to regain his position on the periphery of the public stage. Having failed in his attempt to launch himself as a stand up comedian Lembit is now trying to get himself arrested for riding one of those ridiculous Segway scooters in the streets of London.

For anyone not familiar with the sheer whackiness of this vehicle (?) here’s a picture of Lembit on his machine followed by his puff piece informed and balanced article on the virtues of the “eco-friendly” Segway.

“I’ve found it nothing less than preposterous that our Department for Transport seems unable to formally permit the use of these eco-friendly and mobility enhancing machines on Britain’s highways and byways,” Lembit says with regard to the reluctance of local councils to approve the Segway for use on pedestrian pavements.

Well if as Lembit says it is a form of transport then transport, cars, vans, lorries, buses, motor bikes and bikes all have to run on the road not the pavement. We know chavs ride their bikes on the pavement but hope that former Lib Dem MPs are not chavs. And in order that vehicles can to run on the road the driver has to be in full control at all times. Look at Lembit on his Segway. Where’s the steering wheel. OK there are handlebars sort of but the two wheels being mounted on a single axle cannot be steered. So how can anyone control them. To have chavs and nutty ex-MPs careering about the pavements on these things would terrify the more nervous pedestrian while robust types might be tempted to try a stiff arm tackle on the rider. I once saw a robust pedestrian who looked as if he might have played rugby in his youth stiff arm a pavement skateboarder. Hilarious.

Clearly then for the safety of little old ladies and pregnant women the Segway cannot be approved for use in pedestrian areas and the sight of a Segway rider wobbling and weaving along a carriageway would be just too tempting for White Van Man.

And then there is the safety of people fool enough to ride Segways. The makers claim they are perfectly safe but do you remember what happened when George W Bush tried to ride one? Well OK he was a special case but can you imagine the outcry from the Politically Correct Thought Police if we try to OK the Segway but exclude special needs people from riding them?

But it is not only those with special needs who are at risk from The Segway. Have a look at these Segway disasters.

Sorry Lembit, we don’t know how much Segway are paying you to promote their product but I hope you are not on commission because you ain’t going to sell many. Even the USP you mentioned, that they are eco friendly, is wrong. They run on electricity which from memory comprises about 2% from green sources, 30% from nuclear generators and the rest from fossil fuels. And they are made out of plastic and metal so there is a carbon footprint there which cannot be offset against the carbon footprint of growing your own feet, Segway drivers still have to grow a pair of feet because they need to stand up on their electric pogo stick transport technology.

No, the Segway should be banned, they are more useless than the Sinclair C5. Anyone who thinks of buying this oddball machine whose designers failed to recognise the advantages of front – back wheel alignment for two wheeled vehicles, should be banged up in a secure unit for the safety of themselves and others and publicity junkie ex – MPs should be offered rehabilitation.

Sadly none of that will happen. The best thing about the Segway is the price, £5000. The only people daft enough to want one and with that kind of money to spare are likely to be celebrity arseholes looking for a photo opportunity. And as we need a few less of them the Segway’s record for road and pavement safety could be an advantage.

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Road Tax Cash Spent On S & M Dominatrices.

The Labour leadership, somewhat pointlessly in view of the by election result in Norwich,is mumbling threateningly about creating new road taxes on a pay per mile basis. The plan is to to punish us for using our cars rather than the public transport that does not exist any more after twelve years of Labour incompetence. Motoring organisations and lobbyists for the car industry and oil companies have pointed out that with 70% of the price of a gallon of petrol going to the government in various taxes we are already paying per mile for our driving.

Aside from bearing the burden of punitive taxation motorists have serious concerns that money from fuel taxes and vehicle excide duty is not always spent on transport related projects.

We sent our top investigative reporting team to find out where the cash that should be paying for having potholes in roads filled in is actually going. The first items of information they sent back suggest this could be a bigger scandal than the MPs expenses debacle.

How for example does the government think it can justify the £2 million bulding an S&M dungeon in the basement of Portcullis House for use of stressed out MPs in need of rest and recuperation or paying £1million in consultancy fees to “Moats R Us” for information on embarrasing items found during the cleaning of the defensive ditch at the shadow tranpost minister’s castle.

What benefit to the taxpayer can be claimed from an item invoiced as: “Very expensive presents for Barack Obama to thank him for the crappy DVDs that will not play on a British player and to guarantee Gordon gets to stand next to him for photo ops” or the £5million spent on “special projects to keep the EU sweet so Tony can be the President of Federal Europe.”

Another puzzle is £250 million compo for the rail operators because the Transport Ministry cocked up the franchise system so badly nobody knows who runs trains to where or when. At least that is sort of transport relsted though.

And while we accept £1 billion for a public enquiry into the third runway at Heathrow the matter of £75 billion for “buying off the opponents of runway three at Heathrow because we’ve already trousered the bungs to make sure it gets built.”

At the moment the government is awaiting tenders from parties interested in providing government as a managed facility. Companies led by Messrs Campbell, Clegg, Farage and Griffin are said to be interested in taking on the duties of elected government.

This looks like another story broken by Boggart Blog that will keep news organisations ready for months.

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