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The Mad Monk
11-11-2005, 01:54:48
Violence part of life for girls in French suburbs


SAINT DENIS, France, Nov 10 (Reuters) - With nightly scenes of rioting beamed around the globe, the world has learned that France's bleak suburbs are enclaves of gang wars and macho rules. The girls living there have known this for years.

Even before the riots, Ophelia, 16, used to run home from school every day because she was afraid of being attacked in the maze of high-rise buildings in her suburb northeast of Paris.

A series of gang rapes in these bleak housing estates shocked France a few years ago. In 2002, a 17-year-old girl was set alight by an 18-year-old boy as his friends stood by.

Walking near a burned-out garbage bin, Ophelia's twin sister Sandra says the riots came as no surprise. Violence against and pressure on women is part of daily life in the suburbs, where boys can dictate how girls should dress.

"You have to behave like a guy and look like a guy. If you wear a skirt, you get into immediate trouble. You're a slut," says Sandra, wearing a baggy sweatshirt and jeans.

Sandra and her sister grew up in the nearby Clichy-sous-Bois suburb, where the riots broke out after the accidental death of two teenage boys on Oct. 27.

The violence spread across France, with young men venting deep anger about racism, unemployment and a bleak future.

But not many girls have taken part, and many say they are fed up with consecutive nights of violence.

Apart from poverty, feminists say the dominance of traditional cultures among families of Arab and black African origin, combined with the growing role of Islam in the suburbs, have contributed to the harsh treatment girls get there.

Pressure is mounting for Muslim women to wear veils. Forced marriages that snatch them from college and career -- where they do much better than their male schoolmates -- are on the rise.

The support group "Ni Putes, Ni Soumises" ("Neither Whores nor Submissives") says the number of forced marriages has risen in recent years, with roughly 70,000 girls pressured into unwanted relationships each year in France.

"MARRY THIS MAN!"

"There is so much violence in the suburbs because there is so much poverty here," said Ourdia Aibeche, who runs a soup kitchen in Saint Denis, a rundown suburb north of Paris where France's kings are buried.

"There is a saying: If there is no money in the house, there is war in the house," she said.

Violence comes in different forms, says Sarah Oussekine, who leads the feminist Voix d'Elles-Rebelles group from a small office in a grey housing estate in Saint Denis.

"Many come to us because they have been beaten by members of their families," she said. "And there are lots of women between the age of 17 and 30 who are being forced into marriage," she said, adding her group was advising some 3,500 women a year.

Oussekine said many girls of African origin were depressed because they failed to lead a modern French life and fulfil their families' expectations at the same time.

"One day, their father comes along and says: 'Marry this man. He's a good guy. He'll treat you well'," Oussekine says.

Aisha's father did so. The 22-year-old, who did not want to give her real name, ran away from her family last night because her father told her she would have to marry a distant relative or be sent to live with family in Algeria.

"I can't go back to my parents," said the soft-spoken girl.

Oussekine says the conservative government of Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin should provide groups like hers with means to educate young women and offer them hope.

Villepin has said he will increase money for local support groups, after years of cutting back state funds for tn Thursday that quarterly profit rose a better-than-expected 34 percent on strong sales and big gains in its credit card business, but gave a disappointing forecast for the current quarter, which includes the critical holiday season.

The discount retailer, which ranks behind No. 1 Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) in the sector, said earnings-per-share growth in the fourth quarter would likely be only in the mid-teens on a percentage basis, below analysts' expectations.

"This is a very conservative management team by nature," said Bill Dreher, retail analyst with Deutsche Bank. "While we respect their opinion, we believe they're going to be able to do closer to 20 percent growth in the fourth quarter."

Including the latest results, Target earnings have topped Wall Street expectations in six of the last seven quarters, according to data compiled by Reuters Estimates.

But the retailer said it did not expect to repeat its third-quarter success, in part because of lessons learned during last year's holiday season, when steep price cuts hurt December sales and profits.

Third-quarter net income increased to $435 million, or 49 cents per share, in the fiscal third quarter ended October 29. That compared with $324 million, or 36 cents per share, from continuing operations a year earlier.

Last year's third-quarter profit was 59 cents per share, including earnings from its Mervyn's department stores and a one-time gain from selling that chain last year.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 45 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates. Several analysts nudged up their expectations in the past week after Target reported better-than-expected October sales growth.

'VERY COMPETITIVE' HOLIDAY

Last year, Target's fourth-quarter earnings were 90 cents per share, so a 15 percent increase would result in earnings of about $1.04 per share. Analysts, on average, expected $1.08, according to Reuters Estimates.

On a conference call with analysts, executives said the fourth-quarter forecast assumed 4 percent to 6 percent sales growth at stores open at least a year, but basically flat gross margin -- a surprise to analysts who had expected at least some margin improvement after strong third-quarter growth.

Chief Financial Officer Doug Scovanner said the third-quarter gross margin was "remarkably" better than the company had expected, which was the primary reason behind the strong profit.

"If history repeats itself I would be delighted 90 days from now to tell you we made a forecasting error and ... earnings per share were off the charts," he said. "I don't think that's very likely to happen."

He said the retailer learned from last year's holiday season, when it had to cut prices more than planned to lure customers. Target expects this holiday season to again be "highly promotional and very competitive."

The November-December holiday season accounts for the biggest portion of retailers' annual sales and profits. Wal-Mart has vowed aggressive discounts and advertising.

Target's strategy is to match Wal-Mart's prices on commodity items such as cleaning supplies, and then use its trendy clothing and housewares to boost sales and profit. The plan appears to be working as Target's sales at stores open at least a year -- a key retail measure known as same-store sales -- have outpaced Wal-Mart's in recent quarters.

Wall Street has noticed too. Target's shares trade at about 18.4 times analysts' earnings forecasts for the next fiscal year, compared with just under 16 times for Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart earnings are due next week.

Minneapolis-based Target said quarterly sales rose 11.9 percent to $12.2 billion, while sales at stores open at least a year were up 5.9 percent.

Target said its credit card business contributed $158 million to its earnings before interest and taxes, up 31.3 percent. The retailer issues its own Visa card, which has been a big profit driver.

Target shares, reversing early losses, rose 72 cents, or 1.3 percent, at $57.28 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Copyright Reuters Ltd. All rights reserved. The information contained In this news report may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of Reuters Ltd.

11/10/2005 12:16
RTR

http://cnn.netscape.cnn.com/news/story.jsp?id=2005111012160002710349&dt=20051110121600&w=RTR&coview=

:nervous:

KrazyHorse@home
11-11-2005, 07:14:59
:lol:

Drekkus
11-11-2005, 08:09:06
:lol:

Mr. Bas
11-11-2005, 08:23:04
Nice, nice.:D

Funko
11-11-2005, 09:11:55
:lol:

Nills Lagerbaak
11-11-2005, 09:15:48
What's so funny? (Couldn't be arsed to read it all)

notyoueither
11-11-2005, 09:17:05
cnn

Funko
11-11-2005, 10:18:28
Originally posted by Nills Lagerbaak
What's so funny? (Couldn't be arsed to read it all)

About half way down the story totally changes.

Drekkus
11-11-2005, 11:06:15
De Villepin has been an american CFO al along.