The week at a glance...Europe
Paris Le hangover: France has had to come up with a French term for binge drinking, now that so many young people have taken to chugging alcohol rather than just sipping wine. The Culture Ministry this week announced that the term “beuverie express” should be used instead of “le binge drinking,” which is what French newspapers were using in their reports on the trend. A recent French study found that while young people aged 15 to 30 were less likely than their elders to drink daily, they were much more likely to binge when they did drink. Booze-related hospital admissions have shot up 30 percent in the last three years.
Cannes, France Diamond grab: A lone gunman has carried out what may be the world’s biggest jewelry heist at a diamond exhibition on the French Riviera. Wearing a scarf around his face, the robber entered the Carlton Hotel—featured in the Hitchcock film To Catch a Thief—through locked French doors and brandished a gun at the jewelers and the unarmed security guards. In an instant, he had scooped up $136 million worth of jewels and fled on foot. The jewelry was part of a display for Leviev diamond house, owned by Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev.
Santiago de Compostela, Spain On phone during crash: The driver in last week’s deadly train crash in Spain was talking on the phone when the train derailed, killing 79 people. Minutes before the crash, Francisco José Garzón Amo had gotten a call on his work phone and was discussing the route he would take. Investigators who listened to the tape said they could hear paper, possibly a map, rustling during the conversation. According to the train’s black box, the train was going 119 mph when it crashed, on a bend where the speed limit was 50 mph. Garzón has been arrested on suspicion of reckless homicide. “The scourge I will carry for life is tremendous,” he said.
Sofia, Bulgaria Political turmoil: Massive anti-government protests are threatening to topple the latest in a string of corrupt governments in Bulgaria. For weeks, thousands of people have been thronging outside parliament demanding that the Socialist-led government resign over its aborted attempt to install the utterly inexperienced son of the country’s biggest media magnate as head of the State Agency for National Security. Bulgaria’s previous center-right government of Boyko Borisov resigned in February after nationwide protests over high energy prices and corruption, and May elections produced a new government under Socialist Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski. Borisov had been calling for elections in September, but this week he said the country couldn’t afford to hold them before May 2014. “We have already gone bankrupt,” he said. Oresharski has refused to resign, saying would be “irresponsible for the country.”