By Kaj Hasselriis - Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 0 Comments
Paris drivers fight back against the mayor’s war on cars
Every weekday, Juliana Park wakes up in her Paris apartment near leafy Bois de Vincennes park, carries her 10-month-old daughter two blocks to the nearest metro station, drops her at a nanny’s, then heads to work—sometimes by foot, sometimes by bike, but never by car. In fact, the Canadian-born architect is rarely in a car. “You really have no excuse in Paris,” she says.
Park, it seems, is far from the only Parisian going car-free: car use in Paris has dropped 25 per cent in the last 10 years. Bike use, meanwhile, has doubled, and one out of every two trips now happens on foot. Park is glad that, while navigating cobblestone sidewalks, her daughter gets a child’s-eye view of bakeries, crepe stands and schoolchildren on scooters, instead of seeing it all whoosh by from the back seat of a car. “Even though she’s still really young,” says Park, “she’s getting a better sense of her environment.” Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, who has eliminated 23,000 parking spots to make way for bike and bus lanes and built the massively popular Vélib’ bike-sharing network (an idea later copied in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa), is at least partly responsible for Paris’s new, bike-friendly face. But the mayor’s latest plan—to pedestrianize a section of the Seine riverbank—is causing a powerful lobby group, 40 millions d’automobilistes, to fight back. “We can no sooner eliminate cars from Paris roads than empty the Seine of water,” says executive director Pierre Chasseray. “Delanoë is living a fantasy.” Continue…
By The Associated Press - Monday, November 19, 2012 at 8:14 PM - 0 Comments
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Moody’s Investors Service on Monday downgraded France, stripping it of…
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Moody’s Investors Service on Monday downgraded France, stripping it of its prized AAA credit rating due to concerns over its prospects for economic growth and its exposure to Europe’s financial crisis.
Moody’s lowered France’s rating one notch to Aa1. It kept the rating’s outlook at negative, meaning it could face future downgrades.
The ratings agency said that it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict how resilient France will be to future euro-area shocks.
But the agency noted that the country’s rating remains high compared with many other European countries. It cited for this France’s diversified economy and “a strong commitment to structural reforms and fiscal consolidation.”
The downgrade will heighten fears that Europe’s debt crisis is spreading from the so-called peripheral nations like Greece, Portugal and Ireland to the core of the euro region. Standard & Poor’s, a rival rating agency, lowered its rating on France’s debt one notch from AAA to AA+ in January, citing the deepening political, financial and monetary problems within the eurozone.
Pierre Moscovici, the French finance minister, blamed the downgrade on the policies of previous governments that had failed to restore the competitiveness of the nation’s economy.
“French debt still remains among the most liquid and safest of the eurozone,” said Moscovici, a member of the ruling Socialist government. “The French economy is large and diversified and the government has shown proof of its serious plan to implement structural reforms and restore public finances.”
The yield on the French 10-year government bond fell 1 basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, to 1.96 per cent on Monday. That’s 60 basis points more than equivalent German government bonds, suggesting that investors see them as riskier.