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An End to the 35-hour French Workweek

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Partisan Issue?

Some have denounced the controversy over the Terri Schiavo (search) case as a "partisan" issue, while others argue it's a fight over religious beliefs. But a new Gallup poll out today shows that to the general public it is neither.

In the poll, majorities of Republicans, Independents (search) and Democrats alike say Schiavo's feeding tube should have been removed. Similarly, majorities of churchgoers as well as non-churchgoers say it should have been removed. Overall, 56 percent of those polled agreed on that question, and even more said that if their spouse was in the same condition as Schiavo, they would not keep him or her alive through a feeding tube.

Abolishing the 35-Hour Workweek

The trade unions in France are in an uproar because French lawmakers have taken action that will, in effect, abolish France's 35-hour workweek (search). The National Assembly (search) is changing a 1998 law — pushed by a Socialist-led government that sought to reduce unemployment by making each worker do less. But now, President Jacques Chirac says, that's an obstacle to making French firms more competitive.

It won't be all that bad though with the new laws. While French workers will be able to get a few more hours of overtime, they won't be a slave to the job. The European Union prohibits workers from putting in more than 48 hours a week.

Wrong Race?

A 13-year-old girl at a school in Manchester, England, has been taken out of class and sent home because a school administrator says she was the wrong race to have her hairstyle that according to the Manchester Evening News.

Olivia Acton had a braided hairstyle known as "corn rows." But the head teacher at Middleton Technology College (search) found that hairstyle to be "extreme," saying, "We are a high-achieving school with high standards and we don't allow any street culture into school."

But the head teacher said some students, such as Afro-Carribean students, are allowed to wear cornrows because "If we didn't allow some leeway for their cultural and ethnic background, I think it would probably be discriminatory." He apparently believes this policy is not.

Israelis with Lasers?

We all saw the steady deterioration of a sick and struggling Yasser Arafat (search) in his final weeks. But one Palestinian official insists Arafat did not die from his illnesses and that he was actually killed by two Israelis who used a high-tech laser as a weapon. Attalah Quiba, Palestinian ambassador to Sri Lanka (search), says the two unnamed men "tried to flee after using the [laser] device but were wrestled down by Palestinian Security personnel."

What's more, Quiba, quoted by the Malaysian National News Agency, says 16 countries tested Arafat’s blood, and they determined that Arafat had been poisoned by high technology. Quiba says he was with Arafat a few days before he died, and "He was in good health and good spirits."

— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report

With more than 35 years of journalism experience to draw from, Brit Hume currently serves as a senior political analyst for FOX News Channel (FNC) and contributes to all major political coverage. Hume also is regular panelist on FOX's weekly public affairs program, "FOX News Sunday" on Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET. Click here for more information on Brit Hume