Also in the news this week, tens of thousands of travellers have been stranded by strikes, a start-up has mapped the best roads in America, and easyJet have suspended two pilots for dancing mid-flight
It’s been a tough week for those attempting to travel across France, but the Gallic nation has also provided a delicious irony for those who want Britain to remain in the EU.
“A national humiliation”: Britain decides to print Brexit passports in France
Theresa May, the British prime minister, has come under fire for the government’s decision to manufacture passports in France after Brexit. The new passports, coloured blue to symbolise the country’s exit from the European Union, are considered to be a emblematic by those who voted to leave. The news that British printers De La Rue will not receive the £490m contract was described as disastrous for the firm by the local Labour MP, and Conservative MP Priti Patel, a prominent leaver, called it “a national humiliation”. A spokesperson for the government said £120m would be saved by the decision to print the documents in an EU country. “The preferred bidder has been selected following a rigorous, fair and open competition and all bidders were notified of the outcome last night,” they said.
French strikes strand tens of thousands of travellers
Industrial action by French air traffic controllers and railway workers has caused massive disruption on the ground and in the air over the past few days, while the chaos continued as Air France staff downed tools yesterday. Thousands took to the streets to protest French president Emmanuel Macron’s labour reforms on Friday, with heated confrontations between riot police and protesters. Tear gas and water cannon were deployed by police in Paris and Nantes. EasyJet cancelled 110 flights, British Airways grounded 50, and Ryanair 30. Many airlines were forced to fly tango routes across the Atlantic to reach Spain. Air France had to cancel a significant number of their flights and Eurostar stopped running trains between London and Paris.
On the road: Start-up maps the best routes for a US road trip
Now it is even easier to be inspired by Jack Kerouac while completely ignoring the overused route he used to journey through small town America. Geotab, a company that specialises in GPS and vehicle tracking services, has mapped the quietest, and most beautiful, roads in the United States. Without a mention of Route 66, nor of the jazz masters “blasting the horn for everything it had in waves of power and logic and subtlety”, the company paints a picture of an America that is much-loved but rarely seen.
EasyJet pilots suspended for dancing on Snapchat mid-flight
EasyJet have suspend a captain and co-pilot for dancing in the cockpit mid-flight. The incident, where the first officer was seen to dance beside and animated character, was filmed and uploaded to Snapchat by Captain Michel Castellucci with the caption: “Dancing first officer in cruise doing paperwork.” The co-pilot was completing paperwork while the Airbus A320 was en-route between Paris and Madrid, the Sun reported. A spokesperson for easyJet said: “Whilst at no point was the safety of the passengers compromised, this falls short of the high standards easyJet expect of its pilots. We will speak to the pilots involved.” The pilots are now facing a disciplinary investigation.
And finally: Daphne the dirty great duck disappears
There was panic in Perth this week as one of the city’s mascots, Daphne the giant inflatable duck, was lost at sea. Daphne disappeared into the Indian Ocean as strong winds buffeted Western Australia. She had been moored at Coogee Beach in preparation for a swimming competition held by her owners, Cockburn Masters Swimming Club. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the club’s president, Peter Marr, tried to swim after her but couldn’t keep up. “After 50 metres she was just gone, baby, gone,” Marr said. There were reports of sightings up to 270 miles away from the beach, but the lucky duck was found by fisherman Tony Gibb 20 miles west of Rottnest Island only an hour after her voyage began.