New Book Excerpt Tomorrow

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Harbor at de Gaulle Square, St. Pierre

Our technicians are poring over Out in the Cold, proofing it now, and it’s a week or so from having an Amazon address. In the meantime tomorrow, I’ll post a short excerpt about this curious bit of France in North America. It’s just a tiny little place. Who has heard of it? Saint Pierre et Miquelon? Anybody?

Maybe all of France’s remaining territories are vestiges – in Polynesia, Caledonia, Comoros, Kergeulin – but this one surely is, just the remaining nub of all the former striving of French Canada. And here, like everywhere else in this world, kind and gentle people may be found who will give of their time and themselves to make you feel at home.

We’ll take a tiny peek tomorrow.

Populist Tide, Incoming

Not an endorsement but a prediction: Macron can’t hold up down the stretch and Le Pen takes the French Presidency on 7 May. For the record.

Be Careful What You Vote For

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Today the center-right French Republicans have chosen the harder right of the two candidates to offer up to contest Marine Le Pen, if you assume as I do that the chances of the left to make it to a runoff next April are vanishingly small. François Fillon is an earthquake, I think, for socialisty France, in that their center right has chosen its most supply-side, trickle down candidate as their country’s best hope against the Le Pen scourge.

I’d say, with Brexit, Trump and Fillon, we see a trend. Three longish articles for you, first on next weekend’s Italian referendum, in which polls indicate a lurch toward populism.

After that, in March it’s the Netherlands’ turn.

And finally, it may not be too bold a prediction that by next autumn, Angela Merkel’s time may be past. You heard it here first.

The face of the western democracies this time next year is taking shape and I’m not sure how well we’ll get through it.

Mail Run to St. Pierre

Here is how they get international mail to the tiny French overseas territory of St. Pierre et Miquelon, off the coast of Newfoundland – up and down one side of an Air St. Pierre flight from Halifax, taking up all but the front four rows of an eleven row ATR turboprop. The front galley was jammed full too, leaving room for 21 passengers among 44 seats. Click the photo to enlarge.

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St. Pierre Panorama

Panorama of the capital St. Pierre, St. Pierre et Miquelon Islands, French Overseas Territory, a tiny little bit of land just off Newfoundland, Canada. Click it to enlarge.

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St. Pierre Harbor HDR

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I’ll be posting a new photo most days for the next month or so from our June trip to maritime Canada, the French overseas territory of St. Pierre et Miquelon, Iceland and England. We start with the tiny harbor on tiny St. Pierre island, just off the southern tip of Newfoundland.

Show Biz St. Pierre

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France Télévisions / Saint-Pierre et Miquelon 1ère studio. Merci to our great host today Fred Dotte.

Bonjour St. Pierre et Miquelon

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St. Pierre, the main town on the islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon, French territory within view of Newfoundland, Canada. Passports required and Euros spent. France in north America. Not too big, though. 21 people on today’s flight from Halifax. Had to call a taxi to leave the airport.

Friday Photo #46 – Nous Sommes Tous Français

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First Impressions of the Minsk II Agreement

Some people are roundly trashing Minsk II. About the most positive sentiments out there seem to be that it’s better than nothing.

I’m pretty skeptical.

Note that the document that emerged wasn’t signed by the government leaders but by these negotiators, members of the Trilateral Contact Group, same as Minsk I:

[OSCE] Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini

Second President of Ukraine L.D. Kuchma

The Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Ukraine M.Yu. Zurabov

A. V. Zakharchenko

I. V. Plotnitsky

Not putting the clout of the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine explicitly behind the document doesn’t augur well for its implementation, I don’t think.

Olga Tokariuk gets it right:

Also note these two parts of the agreement:

4. On the same day that the withdrawal of heavy weapons begins, a dialogue must start to prepare for local elections in Donetsk and Luhansk regions in accordance with Ukrainian legislation and Ukrainian laws on the temporary status of Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Dialogue must also begin to address the future status of these regions.

– and –

9. Control of the Ukrainian state border in the conflict zone must be returned to the Ukrainian government on the first day following local elections in the conflict zone and following implementation of point 11 of the Minsk memorandum governing Ukrainian constitutional reform.

It seems to me that together, they’re essentially Russia telling Ukraine, “You can only have your border back after we hold sham elections that we can manipulate as we please, and between now and then we can run as much military materiel into DNR/LNR as we like.”

First impressions only, but not especially hopeful.