Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Very light rail

Now in France:

PARIS, Nov 22 (AFP) - France was gripped by a nationwide train strike Tuesday, prompting a rare intervention from president Jacques Chirac, who pleaded for unions to go back to negotiations and said their fears over privatisation of the state rail company were unfounded.

"It is a public company and it will remain one whatever happens... I will naturally vouch for that," Chirac told reporters after a meeting with union representatives.

As passengers braved the train strike in near-freezing temperatures, the state-owned rail company SNCF also sought to defuse the conflict with a 120-euro cash bonus for staff, to be submitted to the main unions during talks underway Tuesday.

Across the country, around one in three trains was operating....

And don't think you can while away the delays in a restaurant. You won't be able to afford to do so:

... the Dutch love affair with France has been dying down over the past few years.

....For one thing, France's burdensome bureaucracy can make life tough for new arrivals. But what is really chasing them toward other countries are rising property prices in the French countryside.

"Government taxes and vendors who think all foreigners are loaded with money are pricing France out of the market," [says Jan Karst of the international financing company, Hypomatch. ]

....When they do come, "people go to restaurants less often, and spend less time in caf├ęs," she said.

And they often bring their own food.

No comments: