NEWS FROM AROUND THE REGION

with Madeleine McMullin

Registered to vote in the Presidential elections? Vote in the Primaire de la Droite

If you are eligible to vote in the Presidential elections (i.e. have French nationality) and were registered by 31/12/15, then you can also vote in the primaries for the right and centre candidate on Sunday 20th November. You don’t need to belong to the party. Just turn up on the day at your local voting office (see this page in the Independent to find out where that is), present your voting card, pay €2 and sign to confirm that you share the Republican values of the right and centre and are committed to a change in power to make France recover. In case you’ve missed it, the candidates are Jean-François Copé, François Fillon, Alain Juppé, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, Bruno Le Maire, Jean-Frédéric Poisson, Nicholas Sarkozy.

Al Chemist release “Un homme de Roussillon

The group Al Chemist has followed up its song “Occexit” which was adopted as an anthem by the anti-Occitanie movement with another in the same vein called “Un homme de Roussillon” (A man of Roussillon).

75,970 people benefited from Restos du coeur in P-O

65,530 families of 75,970 people including children registered with the Restos du coeur (a charity that provides food banks) during the 2015-2016 campaign, or put another way 16.4% of the department’s population at one time or another during the year. And it looks as if 2016-2017 will go the same way, if the figures are not even higher.  registrations are up since the beginning of November when the campaign started and a lot of people weren’t registered last year. The Restos have stopped talking about winter campaigns and are now open throughout the year, although the months of November – March are still the busiest. They delivered 7,672 emergency parcels between April and October this year. There are between 650 and 700 volunteers who help out in the P-O. The amount of money donated has dropped from €13,000 at the same period last year to €7,000 this year. The money that they receive in grants has also dropped: the Perpignan town hall is giving  €1000 less (€3,500 this year), the CAF gave €10,000 last year for babies, but has cut this to €8,000 this, and the Direccte (Regional directorate for companies, competition, consumption, work and employment) has stopped the €10,000 that it used to give them for helping youngsters into work.  All in all they are €27,000 down. The charity doesn’t pay for food and the communes let them use the buildings for distributing the food free, but they still have to pay for lorries, electricity, phone etc. They are looking for new methods of fund raising in addition to the ones that they already use to try to balance the books.

Locked in cage for dog home

Déborah Warlaumont has locked herself in a cage at the dogs’ home “Un gite Une gamelle” in Rivesaltes. She was inspired by Rémi Gaillard who has locked herself in a cage since last Friday to raise funds for the SPA in Montpellier.  Déborah who is a junior member of the Pompiers turned up on Saturday at the dogs home and asked if she could occupy a cage to try to raise funds and boost the number of adoptions for the home. She is publicising her actions on social media and had raised €150 and found homes for 6 dogs by the morning of 13th November. She plans to stay until she has found homes for 11 years old Choco and Roucky aged 7. You can follow her on the home’s page on Facebook and also on hers and/or donate here.

Redevelopment of St Jacques Quarter in Perpignan

The council has published plans to redevelop the area over a period of 10 years. The mayor, Jean-Marc Pujol, says that they have changed direction after the failure of past attempts to improve the area, and are going to proceed by buying up old apartment blocks, knocking them down and building small town houses or open spaces in their place, at the same time as ensuring that historic buildings are kept in good condition. They will also work on the traffic flows and pedestrianise the rue Llucia. In answer to the fears of the gypsies that the area will be gentrified and they will be driven out, the mayor replied that 38% of the dwellings in the quarter are currently empty and unfit for habitation. They will do some of these up and provide accommodation for those that want to remain in the area, for example the gypsies who obviously want to stay whilst encouraging a return to a mix of people such as there was in the area 50 years ago. The mayor also wants to return the area to the normal rule of law and reduce the number of truants from school.

Liberalisation of notaires: 430 want to open up in the P-O

The law to free up the notarial profession put in place by Emmanuel Macron has led to a flood of applications to create posts in the P-O. 11 new notaires were chosen by lottery on 16th November. The new posts will be distributed according to a map which set out areas which were eligible: 8 in Perpignan, 2 on the edges of Céret and the Cote Vermeille and 1 towards Prades. The candidates had to register on line; a far cry from the traditional image of a notaire. They were not just new graduates as existing cabinets could also ask to fill one of the vacancies. The notaires already in the area are not best pleased with the new competition, as they think that there are already enough to fulfill demand.

Yellow Train wagons not scrapped

The Committee of Users of the Yellow train was alarmed to find out that several of the carriages were to be sold and scrapped. Jean-Luc Stoppfler, the new head of the Yellow Train establishment has since confirmed that the sale has now been halted and nothing will happen to the carriages for the time being. The committee is waiting for a meeting with him to find out more, but is relieved that the sale is not going ahead as they wish to preserve all and any material which might be used to repair and maintain the train, until such time as the plan to renovate the train is in place and working.

2 years in prison and 1 suspended for hitting, burning and biting 4 year old

A 19 year old who was left in charge of his girlfriend’s 4 year old son pushed him downstairs, hit him, burnt him with cigarettes and a lighter, and bit him. The school picked up on the child’s regressive behaviour (licking the table, hitting his school friends and biting his nails to the quick) and also the fact that he had a black eye, and contacted the prosecutor. The mother (aged 20) is studying to be a teacher and left the child with the boyfriend during the day. She covered up his actions because she “didn’t realise it was violence” despite the boy telling her that her boyfriend had burnt him with a cigarette, and because the boy’s father didn’t approve of her relationship. She was given a 6 month suspended sentence. The boyfriend was sentenced to 3 years, 1 year of which is suspended, and 2 years of social and judicial follow up afterwards.

Madeleine McMullin lives in Palalda from where she runs her marketing business Marketing66.  She has worked both in the UK and abroad, with big brand names in the interiors and design industries such as Wedgwood, Denby, Sebastian Conran, Laura Ashley, Hemingway Design……..

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