World View: France's Politicians Fear Widespread Unrest After Amiens Rioting

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • France's politicians fear widespread unrest after Amiens rioting
  • German view of France: Nostalgic and Narcissistic
  • Multiple bombings create hundreds of casualties in Afghanistan
  • Egypt reopens Rafah border crossing with Gaza
  • Norwegian tourist falls asleep on airport baggage belt

France's politicians fear widespread unrest after Amiens rioting

Police used tear gas and rubber bullets and deployed a helicopter to quell unrest in Amiens in northern France on Monday evening. They were responding to rioting by around 100 local youths who used buckshot, fireworks and other projectiles to injure 16 police officers. There is fear that the unrest may spread and become more violent, as happened in 2005. ( "Paris riots continue for seventh night") Major rioting is nothing new in France, with the French Revolution in 1789 and the Paris Commune in 1870 each killing tens of thousands of people in Paris alone. It's thought that poverty is the underlying cause of the riots, especially among immigrants from Africa. AFP

German view of France: Nostalgic and Narcissistic

From an article from Der Spiegel:

"France is a deeply nostalgic and narcissistic country which is also, precisely for those reasons, very charming. The country would like to be part of Europe's north, but its heart belongs in the south. It will take more than navel-gazing to get the nation through the euro crisis unscathed.

A few weeks ago, French President François Hollande spoke in the garden of the French Embassy in Rome. He had met that afternoon with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and, once again, had opposed German demands for reforms. And then, in the evening, he gave a speech in which he bemoaned, at length, the demise of French as an international language. It sounded oddly nostalgic, as if he somehow hoped to stop the global triumph of English.

Both appearances in Rome had more in common than it would seem at first glance. One of the reasons France is currently such a difficult partner in Europe is that the country Hollande represents is old-fashioned -- and hopelessly in love with the idea of being old-fashioned. It lives in the past, and even when it knows that it's in trouble, it refuses to change. ...

France's problem is that it can't decide whether it wants to be part of the north or the south.

On the one hand, when it comes to economic power and political clout, the country compares itself almost obsessively with neighboring Germany. Its politicians leave little doubt as to their conviction that they represent the most important country in Europe. But at the same time, what France cherishes about itself is its southern side. It sees itself as a Mediterranean country and is proud of its way of life, an area in which it feels superior to the Germans -- and the rest of the world.

Both sides of the French psyche are in full evidence in Paris, where long lunches seem to be an essential part of doing business. Some French employees are entitled to more than 40 vacation days a year. Conversely, many work longer days than their German counterparts. And there is also an elite consciousness among those at the top of society, which they have worked hard to earn in management schools and top universities.

But in rural France, for example in villages in the Corrèze department, the former constituency of President Hollande, there is a world in which time seems to have stood still for decades. France's old-fashionedness is both fascinating and grounds for despair. This country sees no reason to conform to the rest of the world, and it becomes stubborn when the rest of the world wants it to do precisely that."

Der Spiegel

Norwegian tourist falls asleep on airport baggage belt

Officials spotted the tourist when they saw this X-ray image on the baggage belt.  (La Repubblica)
Officials spotted the tourist when they saw this X-ray image on the baggage belt. (La Repubblica)

A 36 year old Norwegian tourist at Rome's Fiumicino airport tried to check in for a flight to Oslo, and found no one on duty. So he lay down on the baggage belt and fell asleep. When the belt finally started up, he didn't wake up, and reportedly traveled on the belt for 15 minutes before he was spotted on the X-ray monitors. Telegraph (London)

Multiple bombings create hundreds of casualties in Afghanistan

In one of the deadliest days of the year for Afghanistan civilians, at least 39 people were killed and more than 100 injured in multiple terrorist bombings up and down Afghanistan. There were nearly a dozen would-be bombers, though all but three were arrested or killed before the attack. No one has claimed responsibility for the bombings, but it's believed that the Taliban are responsible, and are showing their power as the American and Nato forces plan their withdrawal in 2014. LA Times

Egypt reopens Rafah border crossing with Gaza

The Rafah border crossing, that allows Palestinians and others to travel freely back and forth between Gaza and Egypt's Sinai region, was closed following the August 5 attack that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers, but was reopened on Tuesday. According to one observer, "The security in the Sinai is better than before. The army has complete control of the streets in major areas and there seems to be no tribal infighting." Daily News Egypt

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