Millennium Worries Grow; Concert Canceled (Paris) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Monday November 29 5:17 AM ET

Millennium Worries Grow; Concert Canceled

PARIS (Reuters) - With just over a month to go to New Year the French are getting more nervous about potential problems from the so-called millennium bug, according to a poll published Saturday.

The survey by Ifop for regional paper Dimanche-Ouest-France showed that the only a fifth of those polled expected a glitch-free end to 1999, down from a quarter in October.

Some 56 percent expected company computer systems to crash, 46 percent feared bank cards containing computer chips might malfunction and 39 percent thought cash registers could suffer from the bug -- all higher proportions than in October.

The millennium bug is the result of many computers being unable to recognize the abbreviated year date ``00,'' causing potential problems when 1999 changes to 2000.

Overall, 48 percent of those surveyed expected problems in at least five out of 10 potential trouble spots, with hospitals, trains and planes coming next on the worriers' list.

Despite the concerns, not many French are intending to take pre-emptive measures with only 19 percent planning to withdraw cash, 12 percent putting back travel plans and seven percent stocking up on food.

Separately, the southern French city of Montpellier called off a huge concert planned for the night of Dec. 31 in the town center because of fears an electricity blackout could plunge the revelers into darkness and cause security problems.

It was the second time this year the cautious town dampened partygoers' spirits. In August it cancelled France's major annual outdoor rave concert hours before it was due to start because of fears storms could cause an electrical short circuit.

-- walrus (, November 30, 1999

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