IS THIS A CROSSROADS--OR THE EDGE OF A CLIFF?

IN DISTURBANCES THAT RECALL THE ANARCHY OF 1968, STRIKES AND DEMONSTRATIONS SWEEP THE COUNTRY

FRANCE HAS THE HIGHEST CONSUMPtion of tranquilizers in Europe, and these days it's easy to see why. For more than a week, striking transport workers, joined by postal and utilities employees, have brought the country to a virtual standstill to protest the government's new social-welfare reforms. University students are striking and marching to demand more teachers and resources. Algerian radicals have conducted a wave of terrorist bombings, and soldiers carrying machine guns patrol the Metro and train stations. The unemployment rate is 11.8%, one of the highest in the industrialized world. After only six months in office, conservative President Jacques Chirac...

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