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U.S. State Department warns vigilance in Europe

November 18th, 2017 No comments

The U.S. State Department just sent out a travel alert for Europe from now till Jan. 31, 2018.

They want to make sure American citizens in Europe are especially vigilante about their travel plans and surroundings (especially holiday festivals and events), as there are ongoing terrorist threats in Europe.

I encourage you to go visit Europe – you’ll be thankful you did. Or, if you’re moving there or have just moved there – don’t worry but do be cautious about public gatherings. Don’t let this keep you from enjoying une bouteille de vin with your friends.

I’ve included the main contact information for citizens below. You can see full alert on the U.S. State Department website here. I also highly encourage you to make digital copies of your passport and travel documents, and register for the STEP program below. Travel wise! – Michael

United States Embassy

American Citizen Services Unit

4, avenue Gabriel

75382 Paris Cedex 08

France

Telephone in France: 01 43 12 22 22

Telephone from U.S.: (011 33) 1 43 12 22 22

Website:https://fr.usembassy.gov

American Citizen Services: e-mail – citizeninfo@state.gov

US Secretary of State Clinton in Paris Sep 1 to discuss Libya

This just in from the US State Department…

Press Statement
Victoria Nuland

Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
August 29, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Paris, France September 1 to participate in a senior-level meeting of the Contact Group on Libya. The Paris meeting will build on the productive Libya Contact Group meeting in Istanbul on August 25 and will provide the international community with an opportunity to further coordinate our financial and political support for the TNC. The days and weeks ahead will be critical for the Libyan people, and the United States and its partners will continue to move quickly and decisively to help the TNC and address the needs of the Libyan people. Libya’s transition to democracy is and should be Libyan-led, with close coordination and support between the TNC and its international partners. The United States stands with the Libyan people as they continue their journey toward genuine democracy.

PRN: 2011/1379

France still under strike tension with increasing violence

October 21st, 2010 3 comments

Environ 1 200 personnes ont convergé vers la Guillotière. Certaines en ont profité pour se défouler / Stéphane Guiochon (Le Progrès)

So “la révolution” continues. More like an increasingly violent rebellion lead by stubborn individuals who do not seem to understand the principles of economics. But la vie continue, and the government will eventually win. I certainly understand frustration with Sarkozy and his administration, as they have not been exactly stragetic in their communications, and financial corruption within undermines their image (like l’affaire Bettencourt, etc.) but the underlying truth is that retirement reform is needed, and 62 is quite a modest start. Here is a guide about how the reform will likely affect you.

President Sarkozy is still planning on facilitating the labor market to boost employment, so those concerned with unemployment are right to raise their voices, but they should not be disrupting the economic activity and well-being of the country; there are other means of communication than provocation in the street and taking the country hostage. For now, here is an update on the situation…

Violent incidents continue between protesters and police in Lyon’s downtown Presqu’île district, and you can see more coverage of this here and here by the local Lyon newspaper Le Progrès. The TCL public transport system is still shut down in the downtown area, for security measures. According to a Lyon Le Progrès poll, 65% of respondents think that the strike movement will not end soon. You can see pictures of the Lyon action here.

Meanwhile in Marseille, the airport was blocked this morning by strikers in addition to other disturbances throughout the city (public transport and ports blocked, garbage not collected…pictures from Marseille courtesy of BBC.) This action and others have disrupted daily life for many French, and even Lady Gaga has decided to postpone her Paris shows from Oct. 22-23 to Dec. 19-20. On the Paris RER suburban rail network, there were spontaneous disruptions throughout Thursday despite overall improvements on the RATP public transport system (with some disruptions, look under “traffic”) and the SNCF national railway system (though there are still delays). Fuel shortages still persist, with over 25% of gas stations empty, almost 2000 more short on products and this could disrupt Toussaint (All Saints) vacation weekend Nov. 1. But the situation is gradually improving with government forces intervening to gain access to fuel depots.

Meanwhile, national buffoon and desparately in need of a haircut, Bernard Thibault (leader of the CGT union) has called for a new day of strikes next week. They are planning to announce the 1st day for next week, either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, and the 2nd day of strikes would be either Saturday Oct. 30 or Sat. Nov. 6. Now they’re striking on the weekends, that’s just great. If they strike on the holiday weekend, there just might be an insurrection against the SNCF.

Students, both university and high school, are becoming increasingly involved in the strikes and demonstrations (and violence), with hundreds of schools blockaded throughout the country and up to 10 universities blocked as well.

What is happening in the government?

They are trying to accelerate the reform currently being debated in the Senate, with the text to be reviewed by Friday evening, 254 amendments awaiting validation at the time of publication, and a commission of 7 National Assembly Deputies and 7 Senators, to vote on the entirety by next Thursday Oct. 28th at the latest. They have shown a willingness to discuss certain measures, notably a point system for pensions, to please unions like the CFDT, but this does not satisfy everyone.

Sarkozy remains firmly opposed to violent demonstrators, saying “they will not have the last word” and almost 2000 have been arrested since Oct. 12.

The New York Times covers this story well.

I’ll keep you updated.

U.S. Embassy warns Parisian residents to lock up

Ahead of the summer holidays, Paris area residents are being forewarned to lock up their apartments and be wary of break-ins by organized gangs targeting those leaving on vacation. Message below from the U.S. Embassy Paris. No need to be paranoid, just careful and responsible. Safe travels to those leaving.

U.S. EMBASSY PARIS, FRANCE
RESIDENTIAL SECURITY

July 22, 2010

This Warden Message is being sent to inform U.S. citizens about recent residential break-in trends in France.

During school and national holidays when many residents travel on vacation, well organized burglary rings move into the city. These rings are professional and frequently conduct reconnaissance to develop their list of targets. The Embassy has been advised of individuals claiming to be from a variety of public services (chimney sweepers, painters, garbage men, etc.) using this guise in an attempt to gain access to residences.

The Embassy suggests these simple measures that will significantly decrease your chances of being victimized.

DOUBLE-LOCK DOORS
Even when you only leave your apartment for brief periods, always double lock your doors; doing so engages the three-point bolt locks on the door and makes it much more difficult for a thief to break into the apartment. When your door is only single locked, it can take less than 20 seconds to break in.

CLOSE/LOCK WINDOWS
Leaving a window open and unlocked is an invitation for a thief, no matter what floor you live on. Please lock your windows or use your shutters when you are not in the room.

VARY TIMES
Vary the times that you arrive and depart your residence. Being predictable increases your chances of being targeted.

USE TIMERS
Small, inexpensive timing devises are advised, especially during periods of time when you will be away from your residence. You can use them on lights, radios, and televisions to create the image that you are at home.

CONTROL YOUR KEYS
Limit the number of keys you have; distribute them only to family members and fully trusted friends and be sure that the keys are fully accounted for.

DO NOT LET UNINVITED/UNEXPECTED PEOPLE INTO YOU HOME
If you have not been informed that a visit will occur, do not open the door. If the embassy or a utility company is sending someone, they will notify you either by phone or posted notice in your building. Thieves often use this scheme to “case” your apartment. The best defense is simply not to permit any unexpected visitor into the apartment.

BE AWARE
Always be aware of your surroundings. What’s “normal” for your neighborhood? What’s not?

If you keep valuables in your apartment, hide them in unusual places. Burglars move very quickly and do not normally spend a great deal of time searching for valuables; they take what is immediately available and flee. The first places a thief will search will be in bedrooms under the mattress, on upper closet shelves, in drawers, and in common spaces such as hallways and living rooms where valuables are left in plain sight. We also recommend that you record the serial numbers of laptop computers, MP3 players and other valuable electronics, as these are highly prized by burglars. Having model and serial numbers could assist the police in returning your property if recovered. As always, you should have your valuables insured.
More travel safety advice is available at www.travel.state.gov.

The U.S. Embassy in Paris can be reached at 01-43-12-22-22 during regular hours and for after-hours emergencies. For the latest security information, U.S. citizens living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website, where current Country Specific Information, Travel Warning, and Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution can be found.

Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada; or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

U.S. citizens living or traveling in France or Monaco are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website and to obtain updated information on travel and security within France and Monaco. U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in cases of emergency.

United States Embassy
American Citizen Services Unit
4, avenue Gabriel
75382 Paris Cedex 08
France
Telephone in France: 01 43 12 22 22
Telephone from U.S.: (011 33) 1 43 12 22 22
Website: http://france.usembassy.gov
E‐mail: citizeninfo@state.gov

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