All Quiet on The French front????

Protesters storm Paris Euronext building in anger over pension law

PARIS, April 20 (Reuters) – A group of protesters briefly invaded offices of stockmarket operator Euronext in Paris’ La Defense business district on Thursday, saying big companies must pay up to finance pensions, as part of wider protests against a rise in the retirement age.

“We are told that there is no money to finance pensions,” said Sud-Rail unionist Fabien Villedieu. But there is “no need to get the money from the pockets of workers, there is some in the pockets of billionaires.”

Waving union flags, the group of a few hundred protesters occupied Euronext’s lobby, engulfed in red smoke from flares, and chanted words popular with pension protesters: “We are here, we are here, even if Macron does not want it we are here.”

They also shouted: “Macron resign!”

Earlier this month, similar scenes occurred at Blackrock’s Paris offices.

At the weekend, Macron signed into law the rise in the retirement age which means citizens must work two years longer, to 64, before receiving their state pension.

That was after three months of protests that brought huge crowds onto the streets and at times turned violent. Opinion polls show a vast majority of voters oppose the pension reform.

Macron and his government say they want to move on and work on other measures to do with working conditions, law and order, education and health issues.

But the protesters in La Defense on Thursday, as well as those who heckled Macron during a visit to France’s eastern Alsace region on Wednesday, made clear many were not ready to move on.

“We’ll continue until the (pension law’s) withdrawal,” protesters shouted in La Defense’s central square, standing by a banner that read: “No to the pension reform”.

Macron himself faced protests on Thursday during his second public outing since signing the bill into law.

While he was visiting a school in the southern French town of Ganges, smiling and taking selfies with pupils, protesters held a few hundred meters away by police also chanted against the pension reform.

“There is a bit of everything,” Macron said in the schoolyard, shrugging off the protests. “There are people who are happy, and people who are not happy.”

Reporting by Noemie Olive, writing by Tassilo Hummel, editing by Ingrid Melander

France Bans GMO Growing

Effective Immediately: France Bans All GMO Cultivation

“I do not want”

Heather Callaghan
Activist Post

The French National Assembly has made a sweeping declaration with a new bill, effective immediately. No more genetically modified crops.

On Tuesday, the French lower house of parliament adopted a law immediately banning cultivation of any GMO corn, due to environmental safety concerns.

Recently, they also made a halt decree to prohibit planting the only GM crop allowed in the EU – Monsanto’s MON810 corn, with built-in insect resistance.

Jean-Marie Le Guen, the minister in charge of relations with parliament, said:

It is essential today to renew a widely shared desire to maintain the French ban. This bill strengthens the decree passed last March by preventing the immediate cultivation of GMO and extending their reach to all transgenic maize varieties.

Farmers and seed companies are challenging the rule, as they have blocked similar decrees before, viewing safety concerns insufficient. But Le Guen bound the rule so that member state decisions could not be litigated against.

The ban heads back to the Senate for final approval – if rejected, the French National Assembly gets to cast the final ruling. Future strains will be banned even if the EU states approve more.

Of course big biotech companies are not satisfied to let bans rest. If companies like Monsanto have any say, they’ll be back. The EU actually wants to give them that final say.

Additionally, DuPont and Dow Chemical are poised to crash the EU again, if allowed. They already jointly developed Pioneer 1507 GM corn and most of the member states did not gather enough votes to block it.

It appears these companies have money, power and persistence on their side to keep pushing despite wide-spread consumer and safety concerns.



Happy Cows and Vin Bovin

Why Is France Feeding Wine to Their Cows?

A Languedoc-Roussillon winemaker is experimenting with feeding cows wine after learning of studies that say happy animals create better meat.

Mon Jul 16, 2012
  • The French have taken a clue from the Japanese who serve beer to cows to create supple, tender Kobe beef.
  • The French cows are getting a daily dose of up to two bottles each of wine.
  • The daily cost of feeding the cows tripled from $6 to $18, which has led to a steep increase in the cost of the meat.

Dairy cows in the French countryside oblvious to the Tour de France peloton behind them.

First there was Kobe beef, Japan-born cows raised on beer. Now, the French have experimented with what is now called “Vinbovin” — cattle being served two or three bottles of Languedoc wine a day.

The idea came from the president of an association of wine, Jean-Charles Tastavy. Languedoc-Roussillon winemaker Jean-Charles Tastavy conceived of his plan after hearing of studies in Spain and Canada that highlighted the merits of keeping animals happy to yield better meat.

“Why don’t we do what others are doing elsewhere?” Tastavy said.

With the assistance of the General Council of Hérault and FDSEA, an association has been created, the brand “Vinbovin” trademark was created and the rules made.

2 or 3 glasses of wine a day

“For each animal, alcohol intake should be equivalent to the amount recommended by health authorities for a man, namely two or three glasses of wine a day. For cattle, it is 1 liter to 1 liter and half,” explains Tastavy.

In 2011, the draft of an essay, a first in France, was launched. And it is Chaballier Claude, who owns a ranch where the bulls are in surplus for slaughterhouses, which agreed to embark on this adventure. A second experiment is scheduled from August to September.

After the last harvest, three cattle received grape pomace supplemented by the rolled barley and hay at will, all washed down with water. Then, two liters of wine from Saint-Genies of Mourgues replaced the marc. “The cattle liked the menu and ate with relish,” said Chaballier.

Gourmet marriage

This marriage of gastronomy with wine livestock has fallen short of expectations placed by the initiator. “It has been eaten,” remembers the breeder, within the “attractive returns” of an animal that has developed and particularly “tasty bits.”

For Chaballier, remains a downside: the price. The value of daily meals of broilers in wine tripled, from 5 to 15 euros, or a kilo of meat around a hundred euros for the noblest parts.

A luxury meat

This concept of luxury, Laurent Pourcel, Michelin-starred chef, does not deny. But in his view, there should no hesitation on the part of farmers to produce this meat that has a “very special” texture — “beautiful, marbled, tender which caramelizes during cooking.”

“She has a fine taste, very strong,” the chef Pourcel said. “Allowed to go stale and relax, the better it is.”

Pourcel has already convinced some of his confreres in a presentation made at his restaurant.

“All the great Parisian restaurants will take,” predicted the chef, stressing that this meat is an outlet for farmers and growers in the region.


Monsanto & the EU

Monsanto Promises Pain to EU, Assault Underway

July 10 2012

Story at-a-glance

  • The European Commission has issued a proposal to drop the policy of zero tolerance for unapproved and untested GMOs in food; the proposal suggests setting a threshold below which contaminated imports could enter Europe’s food chain
  • In 2011, the EU decided to allow contamination with up to 0.1 percent of unapproved and untested GMOs in animal feed, which was previously not allowed
  • France recently asked the European Commission to suspend Monsanto’s authorization to plant genetically modified MON 810 corn, but the EU stepped in and blocked the ban
  • GM opponents are urging the EU to reject the proposals, noting the pressure to drop their zero tolerance policy regarding GM contamination is coming from the U.S. government, the WTO (World Trade Organization) and the biotech industry

By Dr. Mercola

The European Union (EU) has historically taken a strict, cautious stance regarding genetically modified (GM) crops, much to the chagrin of Monsanto and in stark contract to the United States.

For instance, while GM crops are banned in several European countries, and all genetically modified foods and ingredients have to be labeled, this is in stark contrast to the U.S., where Monsanto has effectively restricted any unfavorable legal actions because of the massive conflict they have with federal regulatory agencies.

Recently Connecticut and Vermont where ready to pass statewide GMO labeling requirements but backed out at the last minute when biotech giant Monsanto threatened to sue them if it was passed.

As a result, the U.S. has only recently begun passing legislation that protects the use of GM seeds and allows for unabated expansion, in addition to the fact that GM ingredients do not have to be labeled.

It’s quite clear that the U.S. government, which is closely tied to Monsanto, has been aiding and abetting Monsanto’s tireless and often ruthless quest to control the world’s food crops.

U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, showed the government even conspired to find ways to retaliate against Europe for refusing to use GM seeds, mainly by engaging in aggressive trade wars against reluctant nations.i As you might suspect, the EU has been under heavy pressure to add some slack to their GM regulations – and it seems they are about to cave …

EU Proposes to Drop Zero Tolerance Policy

The European Commission has issued a proposal to drop the policy of zero tolerance for unapproved and untested GMOs in food. The proposal suggests setting a threshold below which contaminated imports could enter Europe’s food chain.

This is similar to the EU’s move in 2011 … they once had a zero tolerance policy regarding GM contamination from unapproved GMOs in animal feed, but last year decided to allow contamination with up to 0.1 percent of such materials. At the time, Greenpeace EU agriculture policy adviser Stefanie Hundsdorfer said:ii

“If the safety of a GM crop has not been tested in Europe, it should not be allowed. Setting a tolerance threshold, however low, is a sign that Europe is losing control over its own food production to please American exporters. The danger now is that EU countries come under pressure from the pro-GM lobby to also allow GM contamination in food products for direct human consumption.”

And, alas, that moment has come, just over one year later. Several GM opponents are urging the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Secretary of State Caroline Spelman to reject the proposals, noting:iii

“Pressure to drop the zero tolerance policy comes from the US government, the WTO and the biotech industry.”

EU Blocks France’s Ban on GM Corn

France recently asked the European Commission to suspend Monsanto’s authorization to plant genetically modified MON 810 corn, citing “significant risks for the environment” shown in recent scientific studies (Germany has also banned the cultivation of MON 810 corn).

The EU stepped in and blocked the ban, which was an unsettling move to put it mildly, considering that in a leaked cable from 2007, Craig Stapleton, who was the U.S. ambassador to France at the time, commented on France’s plan to ban the cultivation of GM corn, and stated that retaliation would occur:

“Europe is moving backwards not forwards on this issue with France playing a leading role, along with Austria, Italy and even the [European] Commission… Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voice.

… Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory.”

UK Also Moving Full Steam Ahead with GMOs

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Aliens in Bugarach – Safe Haven for 12/20/2012???

Hippies head for Noah’s Ark: Queue here for rescue aboard alien spaceship

Thousands of New Agers descend on mountain they see as haven from December’s apocalypse


 A mountain looming over a French commune with a population of just 200 is being touted as a modern Noah’s Ark when doomsday arrives – supposedly less than nine months from now.

A rapidly increasing stream of New Age believers – or esoterics, as locals call them – have descended in their camper van-loads on the usually picturesque and tranquil Pyrenean village of Bugarach. They believe that when apocalypse strikes on 21 December this year, the aliens waiting in their spacecraft inside Pic de Bugarach will save all the humans near by and beam them off to the next age.

As the cataclysmic date – which, according to eschatological beliefs and predicted astrological alignments, concludes a 5,125-year cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar – nears, the goings-on around the peak have become more bizarre and ritualistic.

For decades, there has been a belief that Pic de Bugarach, which, at 1,230 metres, is the highest in the Corbières mountain range, possesses an eery power. Often called the “upside-down mountain” – geologists think that it exploded after its formation and the top landed the wrong way up – it is thought to have inspired Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Since the 1960s, it has attracted New Agers, who insist that it emits special magnetic waves.

Further, rumours persist that the country’s late president François Mitterrand was transported by helicopter on to the peak, while the Nazis, and, later, Israel’s Mossad, performed mysterious digs there. Now the nearby village is awash with New Agers, who have boosted the local economy, though their naked group climbs up to the peak have raised concerns as well as eyebrows. Among other oddities, some hikers have been spotted scaling the mountain carrying a ball with a golden ring, strung together by a single thread.

A grizzled man wearing a white linen smock, who calls himself Jean, set up a yurt in the forest a couple of years ago to prepare for the earth’s demise. “The apocalypse we believe in is the end of a certain world and the beginning of another,” he offers. “A new spiritual world. The year 2012 is the end of a cycle of suffering. Bugarach is one of the major chakras of the earth, a place devoted to welcoming the energies of tomorrow.”

Upwards of 100,000 people are thought to be planning a trip to the mountain, 30 miles west of Perpignan, in time for 21 December, and opportunistic entrepreneurs are shamelessly cashing in on the phenomenon. While American travel agents have been offering special, one-way deals to witness the end of the world, a neighbouring village, Saint-Paul de Fenouillet, has produced a wine to celebrate the occasion.

Jean-Pierre Delord, the perplexed mayor of Bugarach, has flagged up the situation to the French authorities, requesting they scramble the army to the tiny village for fear of a mass suicide. It has also caught the attention of France’s sect watchdog, Miviludes.

A genial sexagenarian, Mr Delord says: “We’ve seen a huge rise in visitors. Already this year more than 20,000 people have climbed right to the top, and last year we had 10,000 hikers, which was a significant rise on the previous 12 months. They think Pic de Bugarach is ‘un garage à ovnis’ [an alien garage]. The villagers are exasperated: the exaggerated importance of something which they see as completely removed from reality is bewildering. After 21 December, this will surely return to normal.”

Masking his fears of what might happen on 21 December, Mr Delord jokes that he will throw a party and supply vin chaud and cheese. “I’m sure we’ll have a little fete to celebrate that we’re still alive,” he smiles. “I suppose it’s up to each of us to find our own way.”



Earthquake – France

Moderate very shallow earthquake in Alpes de Haute-Provence, France

Last update: February 27, 2012 at 9:19 am by By 

Earthquake overview : Shortly before midnight a moderate but very shallow earthquake struck the French Southern Alps.  The earthquake was felt from the Alps ski areas down to the French Mediterranean coast

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 4.7
UTC Time :  Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 22:37:56 UTC
Local time at epicenter :  Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 11:37:56 PM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) :
Geo-location(s) :
5 km E Crévoux (pop 111)
41 km S Briançon (pop 11,577)
92 km (57 miles) SW of Torino, Italy
102 km (63 miles) SE of Grenoble, France

Update 09:15 UTC :  After having called the mayors office of Embrun, one of the bigger cities in the direct epicenter area, can confirm that NO serious damage has been inflicted (only reports of fallen objects in the local press), NO roads have been blocked by rockfall or landslides and NO dangerous avalanches have been reported in the ski areas.

Update 08:29 UTC :  – The French seismological servicehas received a lot of calls marking a max.  MMI intensity of IV (light shaking). has also received an important number of experience reports indicating a max. intensity of V, an acceptable margin in between both.
– Our own France-Only list has noticed 3 aftershocks since the mainshock. They had Magnitudes of 3.7, 2.4 and 3.3
– The intensity values that we have noticed are normally not generating any damage. Additionally we know that people who are not used to earthquakes are slightly exaggerating the intensity.
– Another important effect in weakening the shaking near the epicenter is the soil who is mainly composed of rock. Rocks are weakening an earthquake wave considerably. Epicenter area and valleys at 50 km or more from the epicenter have therefore almost the same shaking values.
– Main risk with earthquakes in mountainous areas are landslides and avalanches. We are 100% sure than a lot of rockfall will have been noticed in the direct epicenter area, not necessarily leading to damage.

Update :  The epicenter was located very close to Crévoux

Update :  We are very curious to find out more details  during daylight tomorrow. As the epicenter is right in the ski-areas in the French and Italian Alps, avalanches are very well possible, especially because of the huge amounts of snow currently in the area.

Update :  The epicenter has been located almost on the Italy / France border. Some agencies are reporting the Italian side of the border being the epicenter,, others the France area.

Landscape at Guillestre, very close to the epicenter – image courtesy Stig Ekelund

Update La terre a tremblé à Crévoux, à 16 km au nord est de Barcelonette, ce soir à 23h37 précises, selon le site du Commissariat à l’énergie atomique (CEA). Ce séisme de magnitude 4,9 sur l’échelle de Richter a été ressenti dans le Var, les Alpes-maritimes et même Marseille où de nombreux habitants ont senti la secousse durant 3 à 4 secondes. Il faut remonter à 1997 pour retrouver une amplitude équivalente dans cette région montagneuse des Hautes-Alpes. (source :

Update :  The earthquake has also been felt very well in South Western Italy, from the Alps until the Mediterranean coast.

Update : The nearest villages are : Guillestre (10 km), Embrun, Chateauroux les Alpes and Jausiers.

Update : The EMSC numbers are annoying as they can implicate minor damage in villages close to the epicenter. Especially the extremely shallow depth of 2 km means that the shaking (explosion) must have been felt and heard hard by people in these villages.

Update : The other seismological agencies reported the following data :
EMSC :  Magnitude 4.8 and 2 km depth
GEOFON : Magnitude 4.6 at 10 km depth

Shortly before midnight a moderate but very shallow earthquake struck the French Southern Alps.  The earthquake was felt from the Alps ski areas down to the French Mediterranean coast

to read more, and for updates, go to:


Monsanto Guilty in French Court Case

14 February 2012 Last updated at 05:35 ET

French farmer Paul Francois who sued Monsanto - 20 Apr 10Mr Francois runs a campaign group to fight for compensation

A French court has found the US biotech giant Monsanto legally responsible for the poisoning of a farmer who inhaled a powerful weedkiller.

Correspondents say the case could influence rulings in other countries on the use of pesticides.

Monsanto says it will appeal against Monday’s verdict by a court in Lyon.

Paul Francois, 47, suffered from dizziness, headaches and other problems after examining a sprayer in 2004 which contained Lasso, a product now banned.

The court linked Lasso directly to the farmer’s illness.

It ordered a report on his condition, to establish the amount of compensation Monsanto would have to pay him.

‘Historic decision’

Mr Francois, a cereal farmer from the Charente region in south-west France, had to stop work for a year. Medical tests found the hazardous chemical chlorobenzene in his body.

He complained that Monsanto had failed to give a warning on the Lasso label.

His lawyer, Francois Lafforgue, told Reuters news agency this was “a historic decision, in so far as it is the first time that a [pesticide] maker is found guilty of such a poisoning”.

Lasso has been banned in France since 2007. It was also withdrawn from sale earlier in Belgium, Canada, the UK and some other countries, French TF1 television reports.

Yann Fichet, head of institutional relations at Monsanto France, said: “We are disappointed by the court’s decision.”

Monsanto’s lawyer, Jean-Philippe Delsart, said: “Monsanto always considered that there were not sufficient elements to establish a causal relationship between Paul Francois’s symptoms and a potential poisoning.”

Correspondents say similar legal complaints often fail to prove a direct causal link between pesticide use and human illnesses.


(Yes, weed killers can harm more than weeds.)

Earthquake Activity in Ardeche, France

Quake Flash report : 2 moderate earthquakes are frightening the touristic Ardèche area in France

Last update: August 3, 2011 at 2:21 pm by By Armand Vervaeck and James Daniell

At 02:00 and at 03:36, 2 very shallow earthquakes have frightened people in the greater Nimes are. The quake was felt very well as it was very close to the surface (2 km).
The epicenter of this earthquake was almost below Barjac, a village of 1,500 people.
The quakes epicenter is located in a very busy touristic area of France, Ardèche. does not expect any serious damage from this earthquake.
The map beneath shows the historic earthquakes in the area (courtesy :

The yellow dot near Ales was a strong shaking historic earthquake – map courtesy

to read more (and/or access the article in French), go to: