For a month now, 11 public toilet attendants in Paris have staged daily protests in the tourist haven of Montmartre after they were laid off by managers who want to transform their workplaces into trendy “boutique restrooms.”
“They want to create luxury stores and say we don’t have the profile they’re looking for, they want us to speak several languages,” says Mahliya Fiokouna, one of the protesting “dames pipi,” or “wee-wee ladies” as they are known in France.
For seven years, Fiokouna has been cleaning toilets in popular tourist sites in the French capital such as the Sacre-Coeur basilica perched on a hill in Montmartre, the Notre-Dame cathedral and the Place de l’Etoile at the top of the upmarket Champs-Elysees avenue. At 45, she is the youngest of the protesters, a majority of whom are around 60 and have been working as toilet attendants for decades, but they were all laid off in July when Dutch company 2theloo took on a handful of toilets that had until then been managed by a French firm.
1. tourist haven n.
旅遊勝地 (lu3 you2 sheng4 di4)
例: Alishan and Sun Moon Lake are two of Taiwan’s best-known tourist havens.
2. lay off v. phr.
解僱 (jie3 gu4)
例: The recent economic crisis has led to many staff being laid off.
3. capital n.
首都 (shou3 du1)
例: Manila is the capital of the Philippines.
The Latin word plaga means a snare or a hunting net, and is thought to derive from the Proto Indo-European root *plak, meaning “to weave.” From this came the Latin noun plagium, meaning the act of “kidnapping” and “the netting of game.” The perpetrator of the act was called a plagiarius, that is, a kidnapper (a person who steals a human regarded at the time as “belonging” to another, for example a child or somebody else’s slave). By extension, plagiarius also came to mean a seducer or, after the Roman poet Martial complained of another poet “kidnapping his verses” in
Russian scientists are poring over the stunningly well-preserved bones of an adult woolly mammoth that roamed the Earth at least 10,000 years ago, after local inhabitants discovered its remains in the shallows of a north Siberian lake. Part of its skull, several ribs and foreleg bones, some with soft tissue still attached to them, were retrieved from Russia’s remote Yamal peninsula above the Arctic Circle on July 23. Scientists are still searching the site for other bones. Similar finds in Russia’s vast Siberian region have happened with increasing regularity as climate change warming the Arctic at a faster pace than the
In the eastern Afghan city of Herat, 18-year-old high school student Somaya Faruqi adjusts a suction cap as she puts the finishing touches before unveiling a low-cost, lightweight ventilator created by her and six other young women. The all-female Afghan Robotics Team, which has won international awards for its robots, started work in March on an open-source, low-cost ventilator as the coronavirus pandemic hit the war-torn nation. It took the team almost four months to finalize the ventilator, which is partly based on a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) design, and they received guidance from experts at Harvard University. The device is easy
A: We got to the store just in the nick of time. Look at the size of the line. B: How many lottery tickets should we buy? A: Four. Four tickets: four times the luck. B: Um. . . I’m not sure the math checks out, but it’s true the more tickets we buy, the higher the chance we have of winning. A: Come on, come on. What’s the hold up? B: Looks like the person at the front of the line can’t decide on his numbers. Couldn’t he have made up his mind while waiting in line? A: