Macron and Le Pen to face off in French presidential runoff vote, May 7

Early projections in France's presidential elections today show that far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron will now face off in a runoff election. Macron came in first, and Le Pen second, in Sunday's first round of voting. Moscow won't be happy if Le Pen loses the next round of voting for the French presidency, now slated to take place on May 7.

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France's Sanders-esque candidate has a chance at the Presidency

Jean-Luc Mélenchon was a longshot candidate in the French presidential race: an avowed socialist who split from the mainstream (and dysfunctional, and centrist) Socialist Party to found a new party -- La France Insoumise ("Unsubmissive France") -- pundits wrote Mélenchon off early in the race. Read the rest

Neo-fascist presidential candidate Marine Le Pen says France was not complicit in rounding up Jews

Marine Le Pen says that she is not like her father, the notorious fascist political leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the far-right National Front party (she excommunicated him from the party, but remained chummy enough to borrow millions from him for her presidential bid). Read the rest

Interlocking wood "bricks" that can assemble into a nail-and-glue-free house

In 1987, Skid Roper and Mojo Nixon posed the musical question: What happened to my Lincoln Logs? At last: an answer! Read the rest

City of Paris deploys "anti-refugee boulders" to prevent camping while waiting for space at a humanitarian center

The city of Paris has installed "anti-refugee boulders" beneath a highway overpass in Porte de La Chapelle in a bid to stop Syrian refugees from sleeping in the flyover's shelter while they wait for space to open up at a nearby humanitarian relief center operated by Emmaus solidarité. Read the rest

Piketty: the poorest half of Americans saw a "total collapse" in their share of the country's wealth

In a new analysis of the World Income Database published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Thomas Piketty and colleagues from the Paris School of Economics and UC Berkeley, describe a "collapse" of the share of US national wealth claimed by the bottom 50% of the country -- down to 12% from 20% in 1978 -- along with an (unsurprising) drop in income for the poorest half of America. Read the rest

France aggressively prosecutes citizens for "solidarity crimes": feeding and housing migrants

In 2016, French prosecutors have brought more cases for "solidarity crimes" -- offering shelter, food, and assistance to migrants, refugees and Roma people -- than were brought in all the years 2012-2015 combined, despite the promise of the Hollande regime to end such prosecutions. Read the rest

Investigation accuses French right-wing leader of funnelling €500K to his wife for "fake job"

François Fillon is the French Republican Party's political candidate, the right-wing frontrunner against the neofascist Marine Le Pen. Following an investigation by the Canard Enchainé newspaper, French government investigators have announced an investigation into the period in the late 1990s and early 2000s when his British-born wife Penelope drew a salary of €7,000/month as his parliamentary aide; the newspaper alleged that Ms Fillon was not actually working in Parliament at that time and drew her salary for a "fake job." Read the rest

Guillotine watch: Paris has become a high-risk zone for the super-rich

The criminals of Paris have targeted super-rich visitors in a string of daring robberies -- one gang broke into Kim Kardashian's hotel room, tied her up, and stole millions in jewels; another carjacked a pair of rich Qatari sisters' Bentley and made off with $5.3m in valuables; another one tried to rob Bollywood star Mallika Sherawat after gassing them, but botched the job. Read the rest

Germany, France and the UK are moving the EU to continuous, unaccountable, warrantless mass surveillance

Recent surveillance laws in Germany, France and the UK require online service providers to store (undoubtedly leaky and infinitely toxic) databases of everything you do online, and allow government agencies to raid these databases without accountability or meaningful oversight). Read the rest

€9m Russian loan to French far-right leader Marine Le Pen is called in

The Russian Bank Deposit Insurance Agency has demanded repayment by French National Front leader Marine Le Pen -- daughter of open neo-Nazi and party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen -- of €9m borrowed from the First Czech-Russian Bank, which is now defunct. Read the rest

The demons of Jacques Auguste Simon Collin de Plancy's Dictionnaire Infernal

In 1818, Jacques Auguste Simon Collin de Plancy published his Dictionnaire Infernal, but it wasn't until Henry Plon's sixth printing in 1863 that the book got its now-infamous illustrations, which are a world of wonderful. Read the rest

Watches made from obsolete 1" mechanical hard drives

French watchmaker Jean Jerome created the HDD Watch in 2014 with a successful Indiegogo campaign, recycling 1" hard drives for the movements. Read the rest

France's next President could be an Islamophobic "Thatcherite" who wants to dismantle the social safety net

The Trump election gave real legitimacy to Europe's fascist parties, including France's Marine Le Pen of the National Front; and in the absence of real, left-win alternatives for populist discontent, the only real opposition to these authoritarians is coming from the hard right parties, which are swinging even further to the right to try to gain back some of their supporters. Read the rest

French town upholds law against UFOs

After a rash of UFO sightings across France in 1954, Lucien Jeune, mayor of the small southeastern village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, issued the following law:

Article 1. — The overflight, the landing and the takeoff of aircraft known as flying saucers or flying cigars, whatever their nationality is, are prohibited on the territory of the community.

Article 2. — Any aircraft, known as flying saucer or flying cigar, which should land on the territory of the community will be immediately held in custody.

Article 3. — The forest officer and the city policeman are in charge, each one in what relates to him, of the execution of this decree.

Jeune's son Elie says the law was mostly a publicity stunt. Still, 62 years later, current mayor Claude Avri told news outlet France Bleu that he is "not going to touch the ban."

When the first wave arrives, I'll be on the next flight to Châteauneuf-du-Pape where I can watch the invasion while sipping a rich red.

"French Town Upholds 62-Year-Old Ban on UFOs" (Mysterious Universe) Read the rest

Mystery man smashes up Apple store

This video depicts a man in the Dijon Apple store smashing up phones and laptops with a metal ball. Everyone just lets him get on with it, presumably for legal reasons or corporate policy. By the time a mall cop arrives, he's already done.

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French schools use 3D printed anatomical clitoris models in sex-ed classes

The amazing internal anatomy of the clitoris is a mystery that has surfaced and vanished in history, coming into focus in 2005 (!), when Royal Melbourne Hospital urologist Helen O'Connell published her groundbreaking MRI studies. Read the rest

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