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Pushkov reminded France of the consequences of “containment” of the Russian Federation

Russian Senator Alexei Pushkov commented on his Telegram channel the latest statements of French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian concerning "principles regarding Russia".

photo frame from video

Earlier, the head of the French Foreign Ministry and his US counterpart Anthony Blinken described these principles as “deterrence, continued dialogue and increased transatlantic coordination”.

According to Pushkov, these principles of policy towards Russia are not new, moreover, France is far from being their “creator”; – the containment policy is broadcast from the USA.

“The three principles do not correlate with each other and doom France to a passive role,” stressed  Pushkov.


Fugitive banker Ablyazov succeeded in stopping his trial in France

Former head of BTA Bank, Mukhtar Ablyazov, convicted in absentia in Kazakhstan, has achieved the termination of the trial against him in France. The reason for this was the expiration of the statute of limitations in the case of breach of trust and money laundering.

The verdict was delivered by the Paris Court of Appeal. However, according to AFP, the decision is not final – the bank's lawyers filed a cassation appeal.

Criminal cases have been opened against Ablyazov in Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, including fraud, forgery, abuse of power. Kazakh authorities accuse the fugitive banker of embezzling $7.5 billion. He was put on the international wanted list and detained in France.

In early January, Mukhtar Ablyazov identified himself as the leader of the protests in Kazakhstan. He stated that he sees himself as the leader of the opposition and that the protesters are contacting him.


“Stab in the back”: how the treaty against China quarreled Australia with France

The AUKUS alliance, which was created by the UK, Australia and the United States, is aimed at China, political analysts say. But France was the first to be indignant: because of the new contract, it lost a contract for € 56 billion. Why this happened – in the RBC video


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USA, Germany, Britain and France discussed “Russian aggression”

The Foreign Ministers of the USA, Germany, France and Britain discussed the “containment” of Russia The Foreign Ministers discussed the possible consequences for Russia in the event of “further aggression” against Ukraine

Anthony Blinken (Evelyn Hockstein/AP)

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken discussed the situation around Ukraine and concerns over nuclear Iranian programs. He announced this on Twitter.

Blinken said that the topic of the conversation was activities to “ contain Russian aggression against Ukraine. '' “ We are united in our commitment to impose serious consequences and heavy costs in the event of further aggression, '' & mdash; he said.

The parties also discussed the upcoming format of the dialogue with Moscow, according to the statement of the German Foreign Ministry.

Moscow in mid-December sent Washington draft agreements on security guarantees for Russia and NATO. In particular, Moscow's initiative contains a requirement not to expand the alliance to the east and a ban on the inclusion of former USSR states in the bloc, as well as a ban on the deployment of military bases, servicemen and weapons on their territory.

If a refusal occurs, Moscow's response can be “very different,” admitted Russian President Vladimir Putin. In his opinion, Russia was “ pinned down '' to the red lines, “ beyond which there is nowhere to retreat. '' “It’s not even a line that we don’t want anyone to cross. The fact is that we have nowhere to go ', & mdash; he pointed out. Putin also spoke about concerns about the risk of missile systems appearing in Ukraine as they will be deployed close to Russia. “ Four to five minutes of flight time to Moscow. Well, where are we going to move now? They just drove us to the point where we have to tell them: stop! '' & Mdash; he concluded.

According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko, Western countries must either take the proposals seriously or prepare for a “ military-technical alternative. '' Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov called Ukraine's accession to NATO a matter of “ life and death for us. ''

At the end of December, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg noted that representatives of the alliance never gave promises not to expand the bloc, as this is allowed by the charter of the organization. He pointed out that a compromise with Russia regarding Ukraine's membership is impossible, since the member states of the bloc and Kiev will be discussing joining the alliance. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba called Russia's demands humiliating.

Talks between Russia and the United States are scheduled for January 10, a representative of the American National Security Council said. Already on January 12, he added, a meeting of the Russia Council is expected & mdash; NATO, and a day later & mdash; negotiations between representatives of Moscow and the OSCE.

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Decay period: last December of the Union. December 26, 1991

On December 26, 1991, the USSR ceased to exist, the decision was officially formalized by a decree of the union parliament. RBC ends the cycle of publications about December 1991 with a chronicle of the last day of the Soviet Union

Dismantling of the signboard “Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR” after the last meeting of the Council of Republics of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, which adopted a declaration on the termination of the existence of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Last declaration

By December 26, 1991, the Soviet Union, in fact, already existed only on paper. State President Mikhail Gorbachev resigned from the job and handed over control of the “ nuclear button '' Russian leader Boris Yeltsin. The new Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) included 11 of the 15 former Soviet republics at once, with the exception of Georgia and the Baltic states. The USSR de facto ceased to exist, this decision had to be formalized legally.

The material was first published in 2016. Read the entire chronicle of the last December of the Union in the report of RBC “ 30 years without the USSR ''

The last decision in the history of the Soviet parliament had to be adopted in a limited composition: from two of its chambers, the quorum was preserved only in the upper & mdash; Council of Republics chaired by Anuarbek Alimzhanov.

The last meeting of the Council of Republics of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, which adopted a declaration on the termination of the existence of the USSR (Photo: Valentin Kuzmin/Photo chronicle TASS)

Dear People's Deputies! As you noticed, today the flag of the Soviet Union has been lowered over the Kremlin. And last night, you all witnessed how the president & mdash; the first president of this great country & mdash; submitted a vote.

I don’t know how the first session of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR went and what was the state of the people, but, It seems to me that great things were said then: world revolution, social equality, socialism, the dream of going to communism. There, probably, many good, kind, wonderful words were said about the future of this huge country.

However, it so happened that today I was a participant in the last meeting of the last session. Ito, it was dreamed about, what was said on the first session, frankly, did not come true. Apparently, it said that, building socialism, we are stepping over an entire historical epoch. Alas, it turned out that history is impossible to step over epochs. ” From the transcript of Anuarbek Alimzhanov's speech at the last session of the USSR Supreme Soviet.

At that time, only five delegations remained in the Council of Republics. Nevertheless, even representatives of those republics that stopped participating in the work of the union parliament, including Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, were present at the last meeting.

Chairman of the Council Anuarbek Alimzhanov during his speech at the meeting, which adopted a declaration on the termination of the existence of the USSR (Photo: Kuzmin Valentin/Photo chronicle TASS)

The presiding officer proposed to consider that there is a quorum, after which a vote was passed and declaration No. 142-N under the title “ In connection with the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States '' was adopted.

“ Based on the will expressed by the highest state bodies of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the Republic of Uzbekistan and Ukraine on the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Council of the Republics of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR states, that by the re-establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the USSR as a state and a subject of international law ceases to exist '' (preamble of the declaration).

Several mistakes were made in the text of the document – the agreement on the establishment of the CIS was not ratified in Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Nevertheless, the legitimacy of the adopted document is already could not & mdash; the union parliament had to simply adopt this document in order to officially cease to exist.

It is interesting that this declaration was not the last in the history of the Supreme Soviet. A little later, the deputies made a decision to release from their positions as judges of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Arbitration Court of the USSR, as well as members of the collegium of the Union Prosecutor's Office. Their positions were abolished on January 2, 1992, and the employees were entitled to severance pay in the amount of three months' salary. This was the end of the history of the last operating body of power in the USSR.

An article in the Izvestia newspaper; dated December 26, 1991

Gorbachev's meeting with journalists

As a retired politician Mikhail Gorbachev met with journalists. The meeting took place at the Oktyabrskaya Hotel and lasted two hours. The ex-president of the USSR said on topics that for the entire last month: the responsibility of politicians, the need to continue reforms and that the Union should have been preserved.

“ I was opposed, now against, to go as scissors on the map of our country, the poet of a huge community. To redistribute powers, power, rights – yes, but not to diverge. And from the point of view of specific tasks, tactical tasks in the field of economics, social policy, finance, he believed that the union state with effective mechanisms is more necessary and justified than something incomprehensible. But the duty of every patriot is to help what has become a real process. Let these be steps towards agreement. It is necessary to choose, thinking on the people, the life of the “ real, today's ''. Mikhail Gorbachev at a meeting with journalists on December 26, 1991.

Most of the world's politicians followed Gorbachev with warm words, saying that he managed to change the course of history, and his achievements as the head of the Soviet Union were revolutionary.

  • “I salute him as the most outstanding person in the history of this century, who achieved the emergence of democracy in his country, the end of the Cold War and disarmament.” François Mitterrand, President of France.
  • “ This is a great man. He returned freedom to the countries of Eastern Europe. He presented it to the peoples of the Soviet Union for the first time. Real personal and political freedom. This is a huge accomplishment. And he did it without firing a single shot. '' Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Great Britain.
  • “ For almost seven years that he was the head of state, Gorbachev carried out revolutionary changes at home and renewed the foreign policy of the USSR. He led the country out of seventy years of paralysis and oppression. The German people will never forget Mikhail Gorbachev's contribution to the unification of Germany. '' Helmut Kohl, German Chancellor.
  • “Very few people have been given the power to change the course of history. But this is exactly what Gorbachev did. No matter what happens, he is guaranteed a place in history. Today the former Soviet Union is a country that is on the road to democracy. He left the presidency by making the world a safer place by reducing the nuclear threat. ” John Major, Prime Minister of Great Britain.
  • “ Without those changes in the Soviet Union, sponsored by Gorbachev, it would have been impossible to expect such a fundamental change in the policy of this state … NATO has been able to lend a hand of friendship to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe for these changes. '' Manfred Werner, NATO Secretary General.

Following the announcement of his resignation, Mikhail Gorbachev, the former President of the USSR, met with Soviet and foreign journalists (Photo: Yuri Lizunov/TASS Photo Chronicle)

Foreign Press

  • “ Gorbachev's resignation '' the date is inevitable. A lot of things will happen because of Gorbachev's shortcomings: his weak ability to understand people, his indecision and softness, which raised doubts about his adherence to principles. But in two moments he stood firmly on his own. He refused to use force to preserve the Soviet Union, and he saw the Soviet Union only as a single state. He eventually admitted that it was incompatible. '' (The Times)
  • “ Yesterday, despite two days of talks, the gap between Russia and Ukraine widened over nuclear weapons control and a joint military policy for the CIS countries. The degree of mistrust between Ukraine and its neighbor was demonstrated by the move by Russia of the largest and most aircraft-carrying cruiser in Ukrainian waters to a special pier in Murmansk. This was the first time that Russia attempted to establish control of over-Soviet military assets outside its borders, and it was a direct challenge to the Ukrainian decree providing for command of the armed forces and equipment over its territory. '' (The Times)

Other news of the day

  • The Parliament of Tajikistan has ratified the agreement on the establishment of the CIS.
  • The Supreme Council of Tatarstan adopted a declaration of accession to the CIS on the rights of one researcher.
  • Director of the allied Central Intelligence Service (CSR) Yevgeny Primakov headed the Russian intelligence service.
  • Vice-Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov, following a meeting with Yeltsin, stated that the grounds for the resignation of the head of the city, Gabriel Popov is no more, then the Russian leadership is ready to consider laws on the special status of Moscow.
  • The head of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky on the air of the Belarusian television stated the need to liquidate Belarus and transform it into one of the Russian provinces. After that, an unauthorized rally took place in Minsk, during which supporters and opponents of the politician fought.

Chronicle of December 1991

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France lashes out at Britain’s latest proposal on migrants

“MuiTypography-root-228 MuiTypography-h1-233″>France lashes out at Britain's latest proposal on migrantsAssociated PressNovember 26, 2021 · 11:30 AM EST

A makeshift camp for migrants is set up along the river in Loon Plage, near Grande-Synthe, northern France, Nov. 26, 2021.

Rafael Yaghobzadeh/AP

France reacted with anger and dismay on Friday to Britain's latest proposals for dealing with the deadly flow of migrants between their shores, ramping up a battle of wills over dangerous crossings of the English Channel that killed 27 people in a sinking this week.

President Emmanuel Macron scolded the office of Prime Minister Boris Johnson for making public a letter that the British leader sent to the French leader on Thursday. Most notably, Johnson proposed that France take back migrants who illegally cross the English Channel — an idea that France quickly and summarily dismissed.

“I am surprised by methods when they are not serious," Macron said on a visit to Italy. “You don’t communicate from a leader to another on these matters via tweets and letters that are made public. We are not whistleblowers.”

“Come on, come on,” Macron added.

The letter and France's response were the latest crossing of swords in what has become an increasingly fractious relationship between the erstwhile European partners who are struggling to rebuild a working relationship in the wake of Britain's exit from the EU. They're arguing not only about migration but also about their post-Brexit agreements, including regulating fishing in waters where British and French boats both work.

Adding to the climate of tension were blockades that French fishing crews were planning Friday of French ports and traffic under the English Channel to disrupt the flow of goods to the UK and increase pressure on Britain for more post-Brexit fishing licenses.

The spat over Johnson's letter had an immediate, concrete repercussion: Macron's government spokesman said Britain’s Home Secretary Priti Patel was no longer welcome at a meeting Sunday of European ministers who'll explore ways to crack down on migrant-smuggling networks.

The spokesman, Gabriel Attal, portrayed Johnson's proposals as duplicitous, saying the letter “doesn’t correspond at all” with discussions that Johnson and Macron had Wednesday after the sinking of an inflatable craft laden with migrants, the deadliest migrant tragedy to date in the English Channel.

“We are sick of double-speak,” Attal said.

He dismissed the proposal that France take back migrants who cross illegally from French shores to Britain as “clearly not what we need to solve this problem."

Johnson also set out proposals that France has already rejected for British border officials to begin patrols on the beaches of northern France as early as next week. He also recommended joint or reciprocal maritime patrols in each other’s territorial waters and airborne surveillance by manned flights and drones.

British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Johnson made the proposals in “good faith.” He urged France to reconsider the decision to dis-invite Patel to Sunday's ministers' meeting. They are convening in Calais, one of French coastal towns where migrants gravitate to in their attempts to get across the busy stretch of sea separating France and Britain. It was also one of the ports being targeted Friday for blockades by French fishermen.

“I don’t think there is anything inflammatory to ask for close co-operation with our nearest neighbours,” Shapps told BBC radio. “The proposal was made in good faith. I can assure our French friends of that and I hope that they will reconsider meeting up to discuss it.”

Others in Johnson's Conservative Party were less conciliatory.

Tim Loughton, a lawmaker from Johnson’s Conservative Party, accused France of being petulant in its response to Johnson’s letter.

“The French have got to get real and recognise there are consequences from turning a blind eye rather than stopping the migrant boats at source and those consequences are tragedies like the one two days ago,” he said on Twitter. “Partnership working is the only way to find a solution not petulance.”

The deaths of 27 men, women and children in the dangerous waterway have brought to a head long-simmering French-British tensions that have sharpened in recent months.

UK officials have criticized France for rejecting their offer of British police and border officers to conduct joint patrols along the channel coast with French police. French authorities accuse Britain of stoking migration by ignoring the use by British employers of clandestine workers who crossed the Channel illegally.

More than 23,000 people have already entered the UK on small boats this year, up from 8,500 last year and just 300 in 2018, according to data compiled by the British Parliament.

By Associated Press writers Danica Kirka, John Leicester and Pan Pylas, with Leicester reporting from Le Pecq, France, and Pylas from London.

Britain accused France of a wild flow of migrants

The efficiency of the French border guards is no more than 8%

While the eyes of the whole world are focused on the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border, an equally large-scale migration crisis has flared up in Great Britain long ago. In just one day, November 11, nearly 1,200 people entered the United Kingdom through the English Channel illegally. For insufficient containment of illegal migrants, British Prime Minister Johnson has already scolded France. The expert assessed the seriousness of the situation.

Photo: AP

On Thursday, November 11, 1,185 migrants crossed the Channel, a record daily figure, according to the UK Home Office. The total number of refugees who have reached the British shores by sea this year is approaching 25 thousand.

It is also striking that earlier, with the onset of cold weather in Britain, migration flows were noticeably reduced. This year, for some reason, this did not happen. Traditionally, the peaks of these indicators are in the summer and early fall. As winter approaches, they decrease sharply.

The record month for the arrival of migrants in the UK this year was September, when almost 5,000 people entered the country illegally. During the same period in 2020, about 2 thousand refugees arrived. And now, unexpectedly for many, November breaks all records. In the first 11 days of this month alone, 3.8 thousand refugees entered Britain by sea.

Every year there are reports of the deaths of illegal travelers trying to get from the continent to the English coast. As the migrants themselves told The Sun in September, in their opinion, the risk of dying while trying to cross the English Channel in a fragile boat is worth their goal – to be in the UK, which some call “paradise.” Many are fleeing in search of a better life from countries such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Eritrea. Participants in schemes for transporting illegal refugees often charge thousands of euros for a seat in a boat. After crossing the strait, 98 percent of people entering Britain, according to statistics, apply for asylum. True, not everyone is given it – those whom the authorities consider “economic migrants” are not given the right to stay on British soil.

In almost all of these cases, illegal immigrants arrive on ferries, boats, boats and other watercraft to the United Kingdom from France, which, in turn, must control its borders and prevent such a huge number of violations.

Meanwhile, the British themselves are confident that the French border guards are performing their duties in an extremely bad faith. And this, of course, there is statistical evidence: according to the British Ministry of the Interior, on that record Thursday, when the daily number of migrants who crossed the English Channel more than a thousand people, French border officials stopped only 99 illegal immigrants on seven boats … Thus, the efficiency of their work was no more than 8%.

Against this background, the head of the British government Boris Johnson criticized Paris for being irresponsible. He said that the French are not actively fighting the influx of migrants.

“We have a problem,” Johnson said during his visit to Kent, England. “Migrants are coming from France, and in the end the French authorities will not be able to control these movements.”

According to the British Prime Minister, this behavior leads to the fact that more and more illegal immigrants enter France from the south. “I would tell our French friends: if you close the door at the far end of the corridor, then people will stop entering it from the other end. Do you understand what I'm talking about?” – said Johnson.

At the same time, the head of Downing Street admitted that when illegal immigrants find themselves in the English Channel, it is very difficult for the authorities to send them back to the sea. “We want to do it in a safe and humane way, but it's extremely difficult,” he added.

A British government source told The Daily Telegraph that Paris's response to the migration crisis was “disappointing” – especially in light of promises by French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanen to increase the interception rate of illegal immigrants to 100% in exchange for tens of millions of pounds received from London. p>

However, the French Ministry of Internal Affairs calls the accusations from London “unacceptable”. The ministry stressed that this year the level of interception of migrants in the country as a whole has grown from 56% to 60%, and local law enforcement agencies “have to save lives every day.”

Britain could face the arrival of up to 100,000 migrants every year if no agreement is reached with France, former head of the United Kingdom's border troops, Tony Smith, warned the other day. According to him, the number of people arriving in the country may reach an “epidemic” level.

Meanwhile, representatives of the British border service warn of an impending “humanitarian crisis” at the migration center in Dover, England. There is only one employee for every 40 refugees.

“Migrants have been told that our country is a promised land, but when they arrive, they have to sit on the concrete floor, ask permission to go out to smoke, and they don't get hot food,” Immigration Services Union employee Lucy Morton told the British press. – This creates a pretext for exacerbating the situation. There is a constant risk of riots, and there is a noticeable lack of personnel. “described the situation with migrants in the UK as “permanent”. According to him, the figure of 25 thousand refugees per year for the UK is insignificant. The British faced a flow of illegal immigrants of 100-200 thousand people. Therefore, this is actually not such a serious problem for them.

“Many migrants who came to France at one time wanted to move to the United Kingdom,” the expert continues. – There are higher social benefits and higher salaries. At the same time, everything that happens is not of some kind of organized nature. Illegals themselves use opportunities to get to Britain.

At the same time, the crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border is systemic. Never before have there been migrants in this territory. And suddenly they appeared, and even in such a large number. Therefore, there is a slightly different background here.

The leader of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko (instead of stopping this crisis) began to say that this is a response to the hybrid war that the European Union unleashed against the republic. However, in this situation, the boomerang law worked. The Europeans intend to introduce a moratorium on flights to the Minsk airport. In fact, any plane that flies there could be subject to EU sanctions. And these are actually very serious things.

Besides, migrants are still cunning. They say: “You will let us through, we will not stay in Poland. We will take a bus and go straight to Germany. The Germans, of course, are not happy with this option. In addition, according to the Dublin Regulation, if suddenly Warsaw decides to admit refugees, it will be she who will have to accept them: take legal responsibility for the preparation of all the necessary documents, provide them with food, housing, etc.

Now the situation is such that the Belarusians should be responsible for migrants at the border. They flew to them, so let them send them back. But it won't be so easy to do it. So far, only the Iraqi government has expressed its willingness to provide aircraft for its citizens. But charter airlines, for fear of falling under EU sanctions, do not risk transporting migrants. ”


Shoigu said the importance of working with France in the field of security

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday about the importance of working together with France to solve security problems and prevent military incidents.

A plenary meeting of the Russian-French Council was held in Paris cooperation on security issues. Shoigu said he was counting on a frank conversation with his French colleagues.

According to the Russian minister, “the situation in the world today is quite difficult.” Shoigu also thanked the French side for their hospitality and initiative.

Earlier, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the meeting of the Foreign and Defense Ministers of the Russian Federation and France, during which the parties will discuss the situation in Ukraine, will be held on November 12 in Paris. Prior to this, the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Maria Zakharova said that the conflict in the south-east of Ukraine cannot be resolved by military methods.


A new law in France aims to protect indie bookshops against outsized Amazon competition

A new law in France aims to protect indie bookshops against outsized Amazon competition

Amazon often offers cheap books with fast and free delivery options, making it hard for independent bookstores to compete. The new law regulating delivery fees will put a bit more power back into the hands of indie shops.

Rebecca Rosman

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Sylvia Whitman, the proprietor of the English and American literature Shakespeare and Co. bookstore, checks her messages on her phone in Paris, Nov. 5, 2020.


Francois Mori/AP


Independent bookstores across the globe have long struggled to compete with Amazon.

The retail giant’s ability to offer cheaper prices along with fast and often free deliveries have made it hard for the smaller bookstores to keep afloat in this battle of David and Goliath. 

But in France, a new law aimed at setting the price of delivery fees is about to put a bit more power back into the hands of indie shops.

Related: France’s intensive crash courses for immigrants on French values

The legislation, passed in early October, follows a 2014 law that forbade online booksellers from giving discounts or free delivery. For years, Amazon has gotten around the law by setting its minimum delivery fees at a single cent. But now, the French government has shot down that loophole, too.

“Independent bookstores across France are struggling to keep up with Amazon. … The company’s ability to charge just one cent in delivery fees means it is crushing all other competition.”

Senator Laure Darcos

“Independent bookstores across France are struggling to keep up with Amazon,” Sen. Laure Darcos, who wrote the bill, said from the French Senate floor in mid-June. “The company’s ability to charge just [a] cent in delivery fees means it is crushing all other competition.” 

A new set price will be announced before the piece of legislation goes into effect early next year. Most independent booksellers say they typically have to charge anywhere from 7-9 euros ($8.12-$10.44) per shipping order. 

“This is a game-changer,” said Anne-Laure Vial, co-owner of Ici Librairie, one of the largest independent bookstores in Paris.

Vial also expects the forthcoming law to drive more traffic into her bookshop “because it will be less expensive to go to the physical bookstore.”

Related: France’s top elite school closes in an attempt to find diversity

This latest tussle may be a symptom of a larger problem for Amazon’s future in France.

While the company’s global sales skyrocketed in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, its share of the French market actually went down by 3% in 2020. 

In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson said that introducing a minimum shipping fee “threatens customers’ equal access to books,” especially “lower-income readers living in small towns and rural areas.” 

But bookshop owner Vial said Amazon is the one responsible for driving local bookshops out of these communities. She hopes this new law will help bring them back.

“This will have a positive benefit on independent bookstores starting in rural areas in the future.”

Anne-Laure Vial, co-owner, Ici Librairie bookshop, France

“This will have a positive benefit on independent bookstores starting in rural areas in the future,” Vial said. 

Without independent bookshops, Vial said readers are also less likely to discover books and authors that go beyond the best-seller categories.

“Independent bookstores are the place where you can discover new books, new authors, so it’s a place where you can discover creativity,” she said.

 And she’s proud of the French government for recognizing that. 

Report reveals more than 200,000 children abused by clergy in France

Report reveals more than 200,000 children abused by clergy in France

The World staff

Commission president Jean-Marc Sauve, left, hands copies of the report to Catholic Bishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, president of the Bishops’ Conference of France, during the publishing of a report by an independant commission into sexual abuse by church officials, Oct. 5, 2021.


Thomas Coex, Pool via AP


Top of The World — our morning news roundup written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

A new probe has revealed that Roman Catholic clergy in France had sexually abused more than 200,000 children since 1950. The head of the commission that compiled the report said the Catholic Church had shown “deep, total and even cruel indifference for years,” protecting itself instead of the victims in what became systemic abuse. Most of the victims were boys, many of them between the ages of 10 and 13. The damning report also revealed that the abuse was more widespread in France than previously thought, and the number of victims could be as high as 330,000 when including those committed by lay members of the Church, such as teachers at Catholic schools. Pope Francis said he “felt pain” over the findings in a statement released by the Vatican.

Facebook and its associated apps, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, went down for about six hours on Monday around the world. The company has apologized for the global outage, but the cause is still unknown. Many parts of the world  have become completely dependent on these technology platforms. In addition to not being able to chat with family and friends and post photos, the outage also disrupted critical connections including conducting business, providing medical care and holding virtual classes. The outage comes as the Federal Trade Commission in the US has filed an antitrust lawsuit against the company, accusing it of being a monopolist. According to Facebook’s own statistics, 2.76 billion people on average used at least one Facebook product each day just during the month of June.

Russia has reported a record number of COVID-19 deaths and infections for the fifth time in a week as it grapples with another surge caused by the highly infectious delta variant. The country has a vaccination rate below 30%, and health workers have blamed the resurgence on young people refusing to get vaccinated. Independent polls have shown that many remain skeptical of the Russian-made vaccines. Last month, President Vladimir Putin was forced to go into self-isolation after “several dozen people” in the president’s inner circle tested positive for the coronavirus.

From The WorldLebanon’s political class ‘ripped off’ the country’s potential, ‘Pandora’ investigator says

Parliament meets to confirm Lebanon’s new government at a Beirut theater known as the UNESCO palace so that parliament members could observe social distancing measures imposed over the coronavirus pandemic, Lebanon, Sept. 20, 2021.


Bilal Hussein/AP/File photo

The “Pandora Papers” exposed offshore accounts of the rich and powerful around the globe, including members of Lebanon’s elite. Alia Ibrahim, founder of Daraj Media, a team that helped bring the investigation to light, told The World’s Marco Werman that they have been investigating the head of Lebanon’s central bank, who “since the ’90s has been taking his own money outside, while telling the Lebanese depositors and Arab depositors and others that the currency is very safe and that they can keep their money inside the banks,” Ibrahim said.

“His own money is well-kept in safe havens, in real estate, etc., while the money of the depositors and the average citizen is locked in the bank and they can have no access to it whatsoever.”

Spain vows to help rebuild La Palma after devastating volcano eruption

A worker cleans the ash from the tables of a restaurant as lava flows from a volcano on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain, Oct. 4, 2021. 


Daniel Roca/AP

It’s been more than two weeks since a volcano began erupting on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma, leaving residents there worried about the coming weeks and months. The damage done to La Palma’s infrastructure alone is estimated to be at more than $20 million, according to local authorities.

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced approval for a $239 million recovery plan for La Palma during his third visit to the island since the volcano erupted.

Double Take

If you’ve been putting off getting your Master’s degree, here’s a new option. 🎓 The University of Liverpool is launching a Master’s program on one of the most popular bands of all time: the Beatles. The program will focus on how attitudes toward the ever-popular group have changed in the decades since their founding. 🎧

Brb, moving to Liverpool to get my masters in The Beatles

— Jesus Jiménez (@jesus_jimz) October 2, 2021In case you missed itListen: The hidden riches of Lebanon’s leaders

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati speaks during a joint press conference with his Jordanian counterpart Bisher Khasawneh, at the Government House in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Sept. 30, 2021. 


Bilal Hussein/AP

The “Pandora Papers” are being called the greatest-ever leak of secret deals and hidden assets. Top Lebanese officials are among the powerful whose secrets are revealed in the leak. And, confidence in British police has been shaken following the sentencing of a serving police officer for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard in London last March. Advice to women on how to handle their fears of male police officers has proven “laughable” by some women’s rights groups. Plus, The University of Liverpool is launching a master’s program on one of the most popular bands of all time: the Beatles. The program will focus on how attitudes toward the ever-popular group have changed over the decades.

Don’t forget to subscribe to The World’s Latest Edition podcast using your favorite podcast player: RadioPublicApple PodcastsStitcherSoundcloudRSS.

Winegrowers in France experiment with hybrid grape varieties to combat climate change

Winegrowers in France experiment with hybrid grape varieties to combat climate change

The country anticipates a nearly 30% overall loss in output compared to 2020. The culprit: a severe late frost, followed by heavy rains which fueled mildew. These extreme weather conditions were made more likely by climate change, experts say. 

Rebecca Rosman

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The Ducourt family vineyard on a 1,100-acre property near Bordeaux, France, crushes enough grapes to make 3 million bottles of wine, which are sold across France and abroad.


Rebecca Rosman/The World 


Early October is a busy period for French winemakers — it’s amid the annual grape harvest known as les vendanges.

For Jonathan Ducourt, a fourth-generation winegrower with a 1,100-acre property near Bordeaux, that means crushing enough grapes to make 3 million bottles of wine, which are sold across France and abroad.

But this year’s harvest has produced considerably less fruit.

“We already know we’ve lost about 50% of production for the white wines.”

Jonathan Ducourt, winegrower, France

“We already know we’ve lost about 50% of production for the white wines,” Ducourt said.

He expects around a 30% loss for the red wines. He’s hardly alone.

Related: French Polynesia and New Caledonia see deadly COVID-19 surge

In September, France’s Agricultural Ministry said it anticipated a nearly 30% overall loss in output compared to 2020. The culprit: a severe late frost, followed by heavy rains which fueled mildew. Experts say these extreme weather conditions were made more likely by climate change.

The number of unexpected weather events has only increased for the Ducourt family over the last 10 years. Ducourt said his family even took out a special climate change insurance for winemakers.

But that’s why they’re working on a longer-term solution.

Winegrower Jonathan Ducourt showed off a not-so-hidden secret: neat rows of six, experimental hybrid vines at his family’s vineyard near Bordeaux, France. 


Rebecca Rosman/The World

Ducourt drove to another corner of the vineyard to show off a not-so-hidden secret: neat rows of six, experimental hybrid vines. Most of the vineyard has pure vines growing only one type of grape, which is the standard in France.

Related: This Afghan photographer captures life in Calaís migrant encampments

The select six at the Ducourt vineyard have different grape varieties grafted onto each vine. These hybrid varieties were specially selected because they’re more resistant to events such as drought and late frost.

But hybrid vines are also controversial. In France, where tradition is king, wine can only be labeled “Bordeaux” if it’s made with any of six kinds of traditional grape varieties. Ducourt said that he respects this tradition, but is also very aware of the need to adapt to a changing climate.

“I think we need to sort of dance on two feet. We need to keep some tradition, but also look at what’s possible for the next generation. When people open a bottle of Bordeaux they expect a certain style, a certain tradition and we should respect that … but at the same time, we also need to be ready for what’s next.”

Jonathan Ducourt, winegrower, France

“I think we need to sort of dance on two feet,” Ducourt said. “We need to keep some tradition, but also look at what’s possible for the next generation. When people open a bottle of Bordeaux they expect a certain style, a certain tradition and we should respect that … but at the same time, we also need to be ready for what’s next.”

Hybrid wines have already been widely embraced in Germany and Switzerland, and some hybrid varieties have been approved for use in certain French table wines.

Mark Gowdy showed students some of the more than 50 grape varieties he’s been studying at the Institute of Sciences for Vine and Wines. The winegrower near Bordeaux, France, Gowdy, moved here from California. 



Rebecca Rosman/The World 

At an experimental vineyard in another corner of the Bordeaux region, Mark Gowdy showed students some of the more than 50 grape varieties he’s been studying at the Institute of Sciences for Vine and Wines.

Gowdy, who moved here from California, said that getting tradition-bound French winemakers on board with these experimental vines has been a bit of an uphill battle — “Whereas in the US, I can plan whatever I want, from wherever I want, whenever I want. It’s literally the Wild West.”

Related: French Polynesians seek apology from France over nuclear testing

Some of the most successful varieties in the experimental vineyard come from southern European countries with a slightly warmer climate — including Spain, Portugal and Italy.

But testing new varieties isn’t the only solution for winegrowers, Gowdy said. Special pruning techniques are being tested to protect the vines. He showed off a big bushy vine that provides extra protection for the fruit from sun and heat.

Gowdy also said that letting winemakers irrigate their crops — something that’s banned in France — could make a difference.

Nathalie Ollat, head researcher at the Institute of Sciences for Vine and Wines, said that these changes are only doing good things to the taste of wine. 


Rebecca Rosman/The World

But even where traditional techniques and grapes are still being used, French wine is still evolving with a changing climate.

Related: France loves judo: How the French team won the Olympic gold

“The wine is with a higher alcohol content and lower acidity,” said Nathalie Ollat, head researcher at the institute. “All this affects the balance of the wine and also its ability to last and to be preserved.”

For now, Ollat said that these changes are only doing good things to the taste of wine. But she said that this will change for the worse in about a generation — if practices stay as they are, it will likely mean sour grapes.

New study on nuclear testing in French Polynesia reveals France’s ‘censorship and secrecy’

New study on nuclear testing in French Polynesia reveals France’s ‘censorship and secrecy’

More than 400 claims have been filed against the French government for nuclear tests on French Polynesia between 1966 and 1996. Scientists say about 110,000 people have been affected by radioactive fallout.

Ashley Westerman

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France’s President Emmanuel Macron wears a flowers leis and seashell necklaces gestures as he speaks up on his arrival as the mayor Manihi John Drollet stands next to him at the Manihi Atoll, 312 miles northeast of Tahiti, French Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean, Monday, July 26, 2021. 


Esther Cuneo/AP


It’s been nearly two decades since France stopped testing nuclear weapons in French Polynesia.

But many across French Polynesia’s 118 islands and atolls across the central South Pacific were disappointed last month when President Emmanuel Macron, on his very first trip to the territory France has controlled since 1842, failed to apologize for the nearly 200 nuclear tests conducted between 1966 and 1996.

“Faced with dangerous powers in the concert of nations, I wish to say here that the nation owes a debt to French Polynesia,” Macron said in a July 27 speech. He went on to admit that the tests on the Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls were “not clean in any way” — but stopped short of an official apology.

Related: The pandemic wiped out tourism on Pacific island nations. Can they stay afloat?

Guillaume Colombini, who works for Radio Te Reo-o-Tefana, said while they weren’t expecting an apology, it was still devastating not to get one.

“So, when you do something wrong, whatever it is, if you go and see the people you have hurt and you say, ‘Listen, I’m sorry for what I’ve done,’” said Colombini, “it is easier for the community to say, ‘OK, we accept, here’s forgiveness,’ or ‘No, we don’t accept. You have to do something for us.’”

Colombini, 41, grew up in Tahiti during the last decades of the nuclear tests and said he remembers seeing images of blue lagoons turning white after bombs were set off. He can recount the hyper-polarization of the issue and the anti-nuclear demonstrations spurred across the Pacific.

Although testing stopped more than two decades ago, its legacy lives on in French Polynesia’s politics, health, economy and environment, he said.

Related: Samoa confirms prime minster but struggles are ‘far from over’

Underestimated exposure levels 

Scientists have long estimated some 110,000 people were affected by the radioactive fallout — many of them French Polynesians who worked at the testing sites. However, a study released earlier this year revealed that France underestimated the level of toxic exposure during the atmospheric tests that took place in the 1960s and ’70s.

The Mururoa Files was based on a two-year investigation of more than 2,000 declassified French state documents as well as various interviews conducted in French Polynesia.

“We found that they underestimated the level of [nuclear] exposure by factors of two to 10…”

Sebastien Philippe, researcher and lecturer, Princeton University

“We found that they underestimated the level of exposure by factors of two to 10, depending on the tests and locations,” said Sebastien Philippe, a researcher and lecturer at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs with the program on science and global security and co-author of the study.

That’s two to 10 times higher than the estimates given by France’s Atomic Energy Commission in a report produced nearly a decade after testing stopped. The findings compiled by Philippe and his team found, among other things, that one reason the estimates of radiation exposure were so low is that France did not take into account contaminated drinking water.

Ultimately, this systematic underestimation not only made it more difficult to link cases of cancer to the nuclear tests, but it also made it harder for victims to get compensated.

“The compensation process was scientifically broken…”

Sebastien Philippe, researcher and lecturer, Princeton University

“The compensation process was scientifically broken, and I think the reason for that is the government really realized how much money it was going to cost them, and decided it would be easier to deal with this in court,” Philippe said.

More than 400 claims have been filed against the French government, but only about half have been settled in the last 10 years. Philippe said this was allowed to happen because of the French government’s “censorship and secrecy” surrounding the nuclear testing.

One upside of the release of this study, he said, was the French government’s commitment to open more government archives to the public — a commitment that President Macron made on his recent trip. The French government did not respond to The World’s request for comment about Marcon’s trip.

Related: Hawaiians highlight surfing’s cultural roots as it makes its Olympic debut

Irreversible environmental damage

The underestimation of the radioactive fallout also made it difficult to fully understand the scope of irreversible environmental damage from the nuclear testing.

Keitapu Maamaatuaiahutapu, a physicist and climate scientist at the University of French Polynesia, said the destruction was particularly bad when the testing went underground in the mid-’70s and bombs were set off in boreholes drilled into the atolls

These bombs had power “100 to 1,000 times more than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima,” he said.

Whole lagoons full of coral were decimated and fish populations were poisoned for years. Now, there’s also a concern that the atolls may break apart — a process being sped up by rising ocean levels due to climate change, he said.

“And the release of the radioactivity from those holes, not only would that create [a] tsunami, but it would pollute the ocean.”

Keitapu Maamaatuaiahutapu, physicist and climate scientist, University of French Polynesia

“And the release of the radioactivity from those holes,” Maamaatuaiahutapu said. “Not only would that create [a] tsunami, but it would pollute the ocean.”

France continues to control all of the information about the damage caused by nuclear testing, including heavily guarding the test sites themselves, he said, so there might not be a way to tell when something might happen. Both the Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls are more than 700 miles away from the main island of Tahiti.

Maamaatuaiahutapu also said that he doesn’t believe that French Polynesia will never get an official apology from Paris, and that also creates political problems.

Experts said that French Polynesians who are loyal to France don’t want to criticize Paris, because it supports the territory with some $2 billion a year.

On the other hand, the independent movement, which both Maamaatuaiahutapu and Colombini are part of, supports every effort to hold France accountable, and to spread the word about nuclear tests across the Pacific — a place known mostly for its beauty.

“If you look beyond [the postcard], there’s something you cannot even imagine.”

Guillaume Colombini, Radio Te Reo-o-Tefana

“In every other Pacific Island, you have the same,” said Colombini, who also spent more than a decade working in French Polynesia’s tourism sector. “You have the postcard, but if you look beyond that, there’s something you cannot even imagine.”

France loves judo: How the French team won the Olympic gold

France loves judo: How the French team won the Olympic gold

“I can’t explain why, but France has always excelled at judo,” said judo instructor Raymond Demoniere. With nearly 600,000 registered players — or judokas — across the country, Judo is one of France’s most popular sports.

Rebecca Rosman

A group of 40 men of all ages wear a mix of white and blue judogis — the traditional judo uniform. Most are black belts.


Rebecca Rosman/The World


The martial art of judo may have originated in Japan. 

But as the 2020 Olympic games have shown, there’s another country acting as a serious challenger on the Japanese team’s home turf: France.

France took home eight medals in judo at this year’s games, including a surprise gold for the first-ever mixed team event in Olympic history.

Related: Sports of Olympic past: Where are they now?

France’s success in judo may not be such a surprise after all.

A judo training center on the southern edge of Paris is packed, even though it’s the start of the summer holiday season.

A group of 40 men of all ages file in wearing a mix of white and blue judogis — the traditional judo uniform. Most are black belts.

“I can’t explain why, but France has always excelled at judo. … But it’s great for us!”

Raymond Demoniere, 51, judo instructor

“I can’t explain why, but France has always excelled at judo,” said 51-year-old instructor Raymond Demoniere. “But it’s great for us!”

Raymond Demoniere, 51, is a judo instructor. 


Rebecca Rosman/The World 

The men spread out onto the dojo, a rectangular mat that takes up most of the floor space, then pair up to begin their first exercise.

Their goal: Pin their opponent to the ground using precision and power.

“It’s sort of like dancing with somebody who is trying to kill you.”

Sebastian Smith, journalist who trained at the judo center near Paris

“It’s sort of like dancing with somebody who is trying to kill you,” said Sebastian Smith, a journalist based in DC, who gave up a part of his Paris vacation to train here.

“I was here last week and I’m still aching from then because everybody here is at a higher level than me!” the brown belt said.

Related: The Olympic trampoline tradition: Remembering the man who taught the world to bounce 

A judo training center on the southern edge of Paris is packed, even though it’s the start of the summer holiday season. 


Rebecca Rosman/The World 

How judo became so popular in France may be somewhat of a mystery, but a lot of credit is given to French parents, who are attracted to the sport’s strict moral code that teaches eight values, including respect, modesty and self-control.

“You learn to respect your opponents,” said 34-year-old instructor Romain Pouisson. “You’re taught that before being your opponent, they’re your friend.”

Pouisson estimates 80% of French kids have at least dabbled in judo.

Related: Mermaid diving is making a splash in China

“I’m the first to advise parents to put their children in judo, but only until they’re 10 years old. … After that, it’s better to let them choose,” Pouisson said.

Those who do choose to stick with it have some of the best coaches in the world.

A judo training center on the southern edge of Paris is packed, even though it’s the start of the summer holiday season. 


Rebecca Rosman/The World

Pouisson sent two of his students to this year’s Summer Olympic Games.

One of them, judoka Sarah-Leonie Cysique, took home a silver medal in the women’s 57-kilograms category.

Cysique and her judo teammates, including 10-time world champion Teddy Riner, were given a hero’s welcome at the Place du Trocadéro on Monday.

Riner’s two medals — a bronze and a gold — officially made him the highest medal earner in judo history.

Back at the dojo in Paris, one young athlete is training to beat that record.

“I’m here eight or nine times a week. … At first I didn’t really like the sport because I thought it was too demanding. …I was kind of a princess.”

Kaila Issoufi, 20, judo practioner

“I’m here eight or nine times a week,” said Kaila Issoufi, a 20-year-old who has been practicing judo for eight years now.

“At first I didn’t really like the sport because I thought it was too demanding. … I was kind of a princess,” Issoufi admitted.

Kaila Issoufi, 21, practices judo. 


Rebecca Rosman/The World 

But that quickly changed, and Issoufi is now excelling in competitions around the world. She hopes to channel her success into a gold medal on her home turf, when Paris hosts the games in 2024. 

US and allies accuse China of hacking campaign

US and allies accuse China of hacking campaign

The World staff

A Microsoft computer is among items displayed at a Microsoft store in suburban Boston.


Steven Senne/AP/File photo


Top of The World — our morning news roundup written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

The United States on Monday accused China of a global hacking campaign that included a massive hack of the Microsoft Exchange email server software earlier this year. The Biden administration, along with NATO, the European Union, Britain, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Canada, blamed China’s Ministry of State Security for using criminal contract hackers, orchestrating ransomware attacks and other cyber threats on Beijing’s behalf. Despite the accusation, the announcement does not include concrete punitive steps against the Chinese government, such as sanctions or other measures levied against Russia over the SolarWinds hack.

More than 100,000 people took to the streets across France over the weekend to protest the government’s new COVID-19 vaccination strategy, which will restrict access to cafés, movie theaters and long-distance trains, among other locations for the unvaccinated. President Emmanuel Macron’s tough strategy is part of an effort to push people to get vaccinated amid rising infections from the delta variant. The protesters included a range of far-right and the far-left groups. Some demonstrators wore yellow stars and compared Macron’s policy to the Nazi persecution of Jews during World War II, leading to widespread outrage.

The United Kingdom on Monday lifted nearly all coronavirus restrictions, in what has been dubbed “Freedom Day,” despite the country facing a growing number of infections. After more than a year of lockdowns, mask mandates, work-from-home guidance and social distancing rules, all restrictions ended along with other limits. With the lifting of restrictions, Chris Whitty, the UK’s chief medical officer, warned a COVID-19 surge could get Britain into “trouble surprisingly fast.”

From The World‘Eritrean forces have to get out of Ethiopia,’ analyst says

Captured members of the Ethiopian National Defense Force are marched through the streets to prison under guard by Tigray Forces, as hundreds of residents look on, in Mekele, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, July 2, 2021.


AP/Uncredited photo

The conflict in northern Ethiopia took another turn last week as Tigrayan rebels pushed into the neighboring Amhara region on Tuesday. Now, the Ethiopian government says it’s ending a ceasefire and going on the offensive. It is a complex chessboard with quickly moving pieces.

Michelle Gavin, a senior fellow for Africa studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, joined The World’s host Carol Hills to help make sense of the unfolding situation.

This artist wants you to take a bite out of art history

Orecchiette with broccoli rabe pesto and sausage recipe of Art Bites founder Maite Gomez-Rejón.


Courtesy of Maite Gomez-Rejón

Maite Gomez-Rejón, the founder of Art Bites, uses art from different eras of history to inspire her culinary projects and give visitors of her gallery a sensory experience.

Double take

The Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo Bay is set for hosting the canoeing and rowing events at the Olympics, but not before a major clean-up of 14 tons of oysters that attached to floats intended to stop waves from bouncing back across the water and onto the rowers. The cost of cleaning up the 3.4 mile route from shellfish, which involved divers or dragging equipment to shore, was about $1.2 million! What type of oysters you might ask? They were Magaki oysters, which are a hugely popular delicacy during the winter in Japan.

Mollusk in the News – Oysters settling in their seats for the Olympics… kind of.

— Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society (@FMCS_Mollusk) July 19, 2021In case you missed itListen: Catastrophic floods in Europe

Cars are submerged in water after the Meuse River broke its banks during heavy flooding in Liege, Belgium, July 15, 2021. 


Valentin Bianchi/AP

Devastating floods in western Germany and Belgium have left at least 120 people dead and more than 1,300 others missing. And, Cuba is a world leader in medicine, and has quickly developed its own promising COVID-19 vaccine. About a quarter of the population has received at least one dose. Also, we hear from Brazilian musician Rodrigo Amarante about “Drama,” his second solo album as well as his 25-year career in music.

Don’t forget to subscribe to The World’s Latest Edition podcast using your favorite podcast player: RadioPublicApple PodcastsStitcherSoundcloudRSS.

France’s far-right leverages generals’ warning of ‘civil war’ ahead of elections

France's far-right leverages generals' warning of 'civil war' ahead of elections

The letter was largely cast off as an outlandish stunt filled with baseless claims — until the far-right saw it as an opportunity.

Rebecca Rosman

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French flag fleets in Nice, southeastern France, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.


Lionel Cironneau/AP


French officials have spoken out against a controversial open letter published by 20 retired generals who warn of a potential “civil war.”

The letter was published by the far-right magazine Valeurs Actuelles in April.

“The hour is grave. France is in peril,” the letter’s opening sentence stated. 

It went on to argue that France is in a state of “disintegration” and the government’s failure to act against the “suburban hordes” would “scorn the country and lead to the death of thousands.” 

By suburban hordes, the authors meant predominantly Muslim immigrant communities, many of whom live in the suburbs. The generals vowed to take matters into their own hands if necessary to protect “our civilization’s values.”

Related: What is ‘Islamo-leftism,’ France’s topic du jour? 

The letter was largely cast off as an outlandish stunt filled with baseless claims, not even worthy of a reaction from the political mainstream.

That is, until the far-right saw it as an opportunity. 

In a written response, far-right leader Marine Le Pen urged the generals to “join her in the battle for France.”

“I can say that I share their concern, I share their assessment,” Le Pen said on French TV last month. 

Related: Le Pen’s niece opens school to train France’s future far-right leaders

Though she stopped short of endorsing the generals’ threat of a coup — opting instead to say “this problem is fixed through politics.”

Le Pen is alluding to upcoming 2022 presidential elections, where crime, terrorism and radical extremism have already taken center stage. 

Related: Is France ‘sleepwalking’ into voting for the far-right?

A second letter was published earlier this month — this time by a group of anonymous soldiers — who said they supported the generals’ claims.

This has created a tough balancing act for President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party, which has been accused of pandering to the right recently to gain more votes from traditional conservatives. 

“This letter would have been insignificant, if it wasn’t for Le Pen’s political maneuvering.”

French Prime Minister Jean Castex

“This letter would have been insignificant, if it wasn’t for Le Pen’s political maneuvering,” French Prime Minister Jean Castex said several days after its initial publication. 

Florence Parly, France’s Minister of Armed Forces, said those who signed it would be sanctioned for violating a law that bars them from expressing opinions publicly. 

But some say Macron’s government acted too late.

Rim-Sarah Alouane, a researcher in comparative law at the University of Toulouse, said that the Minister of Defense’s delayed response of four to five days “was quite a long time for such a sedition letter,” Alouane said.  

“It gives even more legitimacy to Marine Le pen to be elected… after this, her chances increased by 200%.”

A survey released shortly after the letter went viral found that an astonishing 58% of people supported it — though some analysts question the survey’s methodology.

Jean Yves Camus, a Paris-based political scientist studying the far-right, said he doesn’t doubt that for most people, crime and terrorism are pressing issues.

“But does that really mean that they agree to the fact that tomorrow the army could go to the streets and seize power and stage a coup? No, I do not believe that,” Camus said.

But civil war was never the real threat, said Rim-Sarah Alouane. 

“Don’t take seriously the army guys who are basically just regretting the past that doesn’t exist anymore — but take seriously the impact it has on politics as well as on people who don’t know any better.”

Rim-Sarah Alouane, researcher in comparative law, University of Toulouse

“Don’t take seriously the army guys who are basically just regretting the past that doesn’t exist anymore — but take seriously the impact it has on politics as well as on people who don’t know any better,” Alouane said.

We’ve seen far-right candidates rise to power in this exact way before, she said, from Hungary to Austria and even the United States.

She fears that if Macron doesn’t do more to counter these claims head on, his party may be in for a rude awakening next year. 

France’s top elite school closes in quest for diversity

France’s top elite school closes in quest for diversity

In April, French President Emmanuel Macron ordered the closure of L’Ecole Nationale d’Administration, with plans to “to build something better.” But will its replacement be more of the same by a different name?

Rebecca Rosman

European Union and French flags fly at the entrance of the French National School of Administration, (l’ENA), in Paris, Feb. 11, 2021. French President Emmanuel Macron detailed plans on April 8 to do away with an elite academic institution that’s a key symbol of the country’s power establishment.


Francois Mori/AP/File photo


For many years, critics have condemned elitism in higher education. 

In the United States, there’s been talk about scrapping standardized tests like the SATs and ACTs, which critics say favor the white middle and upper classes. 

In France, President Emmanuel Macron is taking things a step further.

In April, Macron officially ordered the definitive closure of L’Ecole Nationale d’Administration (l’ENA), one of the country’s most elite schools.

The announcement wasn’t a total surprise. Macron first hinted at the closure two years ago during a town hall meeting.

This was at the height of France’s “yellow vest” protests, a movement that attacked Macron as a “president of the elite,” with an administration that was out of touch with the everyday needs of the country’s working class.

About 30% of Macron’s cabinet are l’ENA alumni.

“We need to abolish l’ENA and build something better,” Macron said during the town hall.

Now the school’s 2021 cohort will be its last.

Related: What the US can learn from other nations with free college tuition

The alma mater of three of France’s last four presidents — including Macron — l’ENA was founded by Charles de Gaulle at the end of World War II. 

De Gaulle’s vision: Train future generations of the country’s top civil servants, or managers, in the public sector.

“[Charles de Gaulle] really wanted the senior civil service in France to be truly representative of the entire population. … But on that level — l’ENA was actually a total failure.”

Benoit Floc’h, education writer, Le Monde 

“He really wanted the senior civil service in France to be truly representative of the entire population,” said Benoit Floc’h, who writes about education for the French newspaper Le Monde. 

“But on that level — l’ENA was actually a total failure.”

While admission to l’ENA is technically merit-based, less than 1% of the 2020 cohort came from a working-class background. 

“Generally speaking, it’s always been a school of the bourgeoisie,” Floc’h said.

Related: What is ‘Islamo-leftism,’ France’s topic du jour? 

Adeline Baldacchino was part of the exception when she was admitted to l’ENA 14 years ago. 

“L’ENA was something very distant, very difficult to have access to.” 

Adeline Baldacchino, former student, l’ENA

“L’ENA was something very distant, very difficult to have access to,” said Baldacchino.

The daughter of a bank teller and a homemaker, after college she took the risk and applied anyway, per the advice of her teachers. 

“It was something very intriguing and at the same time, something very attractive, because in a sense, it made you think that if you could go there, then you would have a very interesting job at a high level, and then maybe you could even change the world, or at least France, and how it works,” she said.

But once she got into the school, Baldacchino said she was disappointed by the course material — or lack thereof. 

“…[I]n terms of a real training, in terms of content, it was not good at all.”

Adeline Baldacchino, former student, l’ENA

“It’s more like a place where you meet people, build your network, learn to know how the administration works … in intellectual terms, in terms of a real training, in terms of content, it was not good at all.”

While she wanted rigorous training, she said what she got was two years of networking with top civil servants, mostly other l’ENA alumni coming from affluent, privileged backgrounds. 

Related: Is France ‘sleepwalking’ into voting for the far-right?

Macron has promised that l’ENA’s replacement — the Institute of Public Service (ISP) — will be different.

But the details are still unclear.

To increase diversity at the new school, he’s set up a new program called Talents, which will set aside a certain number of placements for students from underprivileged backgrounds.

“It’s like a French affirmative action,” said Jean-Francois Amadieu, who teaches management at the Sorbonne. 

He said the Talents program is an important change, but wonders whether students who receive entry via the Talents program will be given the same opportunities when it comes to finding jobs after graduation. 

According to Amadieu, the inequalities within France’s education system really start at the kindergarten level. 

What matters most in getting a head start: your zip code.

“…[Y]ou’ll see very few students at these top schools coming from working-class families.” 

Jean-Francois Amadieu, Sorbonne 

“As a result, you’ll see very few students at these top schools coming from working-class families,” said Amadieu, who estimated the vast majority of l’ENA students came from the same 200 nursery schools in France.

That’s, in part, why critics more generally wonder if ISP will just be l’ENA by another name.

But Benoit Floc’h of Le Monde said Macron deserves more credit.

“Other presidents have talked about closing l’ENA, but they ultimately gave up,” Floc’h said. “But Macron followed through — that, in itself, should be seen as a sign of progress.”

France announces new virus restrictions in Paris region

France announces new virus restrictions in Paris region

French President Emmanuel Macron, French Health Minister Olivier Veran (R) and Chief of Intensive Care Unit Dr. Jan Hayon listen to staff working in the intensive care ward of the Poissy/Saint-Germain-en-Laye hospital, near Paris, March 17, 2021.


Yoan Valat/Pool via AP


The French government order new lockdown measures for Paris and several other regions — backed off from more harsh restriction —  despite an increasingly alarming situation at hospitals with a rise in the numbers of COVID-19 patients. Instead, officials announced a patchwork of new restrictions while reducing the national curfew by one hour.

Getting large doses of fresh air is being encouraged, meaning that people living in the Paris region and in the north of the country can walk as long as they like in a day, but within a 10-kilometer (6-mile) radius of their homes and with a paper authorizing the stroll.

Stores, however, will feel the pinch with all non-essential outlets — but not bookshops — closing down. And travel between regions is forbidden without a compelling reason.

Nothing will change at schools, which are to remain open, but sports activities will now be allowed.

Prime Minister Jean Castex announced the new rules, which will take effect as of midnight Friday and last for at least four weeks. He referred to “massive new measures” to “slow down (the virus) without locking down people.”

“I also know the deep wish of many of you to enjoy the outdoors, since the crisis has gone on for one year and Spring is coming,” Castex said.

He also announced that the French would be able to get inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccine starting Friday afternoon — and that he himself will be getting a shot “to show we can have complete confidence.” Castex is making for himself an exception to the age rule, moving to the front of the line of those awaiting vaccinations, currently reserved for people 75 and older or with serious health concerns.

France and some other countries briefly suspended use of the vaccine over fears of blood clots, and are resuming it after the European Medicines Agency gave its green light earlier Thursday.

Castex said France faces a third wave of the pandemic, with three-quarters of new cases from the more contagious variant that originated in Britain, and more patients who are younger and in better health.

“The situation is deteriorating,” he said.

The Paris region has an infection rate of 446 out of 100,000 inhabitants — up more than 23% in a week — Castex said, and intensive care units are close to saturation. Northern France has an incidence rate of 381 in 100,000. France’s nationwide infection rate is about 250 per 100,000.

But the prime minister insisted that France was sticking to its “third way” of dealing with the virus: “Pragmatic, proportional and regional,” targeting problematic areas.

The Nice area and, in the north, the Pas de Calais and Dunkirk region, have been in full weekend lockdowns. The north, the Paris region and several others are now being targeted, but with a mix of carrot and stick measures.

People all over France have been under a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. nationwide curfew for two months. The curfew will now begin an hour later.

In addition, restaurants, bars, cinemas, gyms, museums, theaters and concert halls have been shut down for almost five months, and will remain closed.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s government had hoped the measures already in place would spare the country of 67 million from the economic, social and psychological impact of another lockdown.

Yet confirmed infections and demand for ICU beds have both risen steadily in recent weeks. The UK virus variant accounts for most infections, and around 250 people are dying each day from the virus.

“We see people dying, we see people suffering. …There’s a difficult situation … and we don’t feel an appropriate response,” Enrique Casalino, head of the emergency service at Bichat hospital à Paris, told French broadcaster LCI.

Government spokesperson Gabriel Attal had warned Wednesday that the new measures to be announced Thursday could include lockdowns in the Paris region, which is home to 12 million people, and in Hauts-de-France, the region bordering Belgium in northern France.

“A localized strategy remains a good strategy. It enables (us) to limit precisely and proportionally the spread of the virus,” he said.

By Elaine Ganley/AP

What is ‘Islamo-leftism,’ France’s topic du jour?

What is ‘Islamo-leftism,' France’s topic du jour?

Academic Pierre-André Taguieff coined the term in the early 2000s to describe what he saw as a growing link between left-leaning academics and France’s Muslim community. But over time, it came to mean something more pejorative.

Rebecca Rosman

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Supporters of the group Generation Identity hold a banner reading “Man does not dissolve a generation” during a demonstration in Paris, Feb. 20, 2021. Generation Identity has influence throughout France and beyond. It contends its members are whistleblowers on a mission to preserve French and European civilization, seen as undermined by newcomers, notably Muslims. 


Francois Mori/File/AP


France launches citizens’ collective to tackle widespread vaccine hesitancy

France launches citizens' collective to tackle widespread vaccine hesitancy

To boost the public’s confidence, the French government is putting power in the hands of everyday citizens in the form of a 35-person collective — selected at random — to help oversee the country’s vaccine rollout. 

Rebecca Rosman

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Family doctor Joel Valendoff administrates the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to a woman at his office, Feb. 25, 2021, in Paris. 


Christophe Ena/AP


France’s 2nd #MeToo movement reckons with incest, child rape 

France’s 2nd #MeToo movement reckons with incest, child rape 

Several high-profile cases of sexual assault and child rape have bubbled to the surface in recent months. Each story has exposed a common denominator: a culture of silence and complicity in France that has let this kind of abuse continue for years — even decades.

Rebecca Rosman

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A man rides a bike by a slogan pasted on a wall reading, “Avoid a rape trial: Become chief of police,” in Paris, July 11, 2020.


Thibault Camus/AP


France faces its second #MeToo wave as several high-profile cases of sexual assault and abuse have bubbled to the surface in recent months. 

This time, the movement is focused on incest and child rape in a country with vague age-of-consent laws

Related: Iranians share stories of sexual harassment on social media

Last week, France’s highest appeals court heard arguments about the case of 20 firefighters who allegedly gang-raped a 13-year-old girl multiple times over a two-year period. A decision is expected next month. 

Meanwhile, hundreds of feminist activists have held rallies in support of the girl. 

Julie, a pseudonym used to protect the girl’s identity, was 13 years old when she had a seizure at school. A young firefighter was called in to bring her to the hospital. He asked for her number, then shared it with his colleagues, who started contacting her.

Julie says what followed was two years of sexual assault and gang rape by 20 firefighters.

“This is a child who was repeatedly raped by 20 adults who were supposed to be there to save her.”

Corinne Lariche, mother of Julie, a young woman who says she was raped by 20 firefighters over a two-year period as a teen

“This is a child who was repeatedly raped by 20 adults who were supposed to be there to save her,” said Julie’s mother, Corinne Leriche, who has been telling her daughter’s story.

Julie fell into a serious depression and made several suicide attempts before she confided in her mom about the ongoing abuse. By then, Julie was 15.

When they pressed charges in 2010, Leriche said the police officers suggested the relationships were consensual. 

“The initial reaction from the police was that we shouldn’t believe that Julie was raped … that she wanted all this to happen to her,” Leriche said. 

In July 2019, a judge ultimately took the same position. While three men admitted to having sexual relations with Julie, they insisted it was consensual and never faced any jail time or fines. The judge downgraded the charges from rape to sexual assault. 

The other 17 men were never charged.

French law criminalizes sex with a minor under the age of 15 unless the relationship is consensual — creating a gray area in the law that makes it difficult to convict perpetrators.

Related: Greece ‘finally’ has its #MeToo moment

A second #MeToo reckoning 

France faced its first #MeToo wave in 2017. A movement known as #BalanceTonPorc or #SquealOnYourPig garnered mixed reactions — even skepticism.

But this latest wave, centered mostly around cases of child sexual abuse and incest, feels more like a reckoning.

It started last month when Camille Kouchner, a lawyer from a prominent French family, published her memoir “La Familia Grande,” or “The Large Family.” In it, Kouchner accused her stepfather Olivier Duhamel of sexually abusing her twin brother when he was a minor. 

A person holds the book “La Familia Grande,” by Camille Kouchner, in a bookstore of Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. 


Francois Mori/AP

Duhamel, a well-known political scientist and former president of the board that oversees the prestigious Sciences Po university, has denied the accusations but resigned shortly after the allegations came out.

In an interview with French TV last month, Kouchner said her goal was to create awareness. 

“There are victims of incest and child abuse all around us.”

Camille Kouchner, lawyer and author of “La Familia Grande,” a memoir about incest

“There are victims of incest and child abuse all around us,” she said. 

Thousands began sharing personal stories of incest and child abuse using the hashtag #MeTooInceste or #MeTooIncest. 

According to a November 2020 Ipsos poll, 1 in 10 French people say they are victims of incest. 

Falling like dominoes 

Duhamel is just one in a series of high-profile politicians, academics and others within France’s elite who have resigned from their posts in recent weeks.

Some have been accused of abuse, others accused of helping cover up the abuse of their peers. 

Each story has exposed a common denominator: a culture of silence and complicity in France that has let this kind of abuse continue for years — even decades.

Alice Coffin, a Paris city council member and feminist activist, says the difference today is that the victims are breaking that silence.

“They are starting to get more and more powerful,” Coffin said. 

But she said it’s not enough.

“The other way to see it is that the hard structures of power in France are not moving, and I’m talking about the very top.”  

Coffin is referring to members of French President Emmanuel Macron’s own cabinet, including Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who is under investigation for rape, and Justice Minister Éric Dupond-Moretti who criticized the initial #MeToo movement for going too far.

Last July, Coffin was one of the first to call for the resignation of the former deputy mayor of Paris, Christophe Girard, over his links to the writer Gabriel Matzneff, who last year was charged with pedophilia

But instead of receiving support, Coffin said she was vilified by a number of her colleagues, even after Girard resigned.

“The resistance of France in all this — and the power of men — is absolutely huge.”

Alice Coffin, Paris city councilwoman and feminist activist

“They made a standing ovation [for Girard] against me,” Coffin said. “The resistance of France in all this — and the power of men — is absolutely huge.”

That’s why Coffin, a former journalist, said there’s a need for more women like herself in positions of political power. 

Macron, for his part, last month published a video promising tougher laws on child sexual abuse.

Related: How sex traffickers use modeling contracts to lure young women

While no formal changes to the law have been made yet, France’s justice minister announced last week plans to establish an age of consent at 15 years old. 

Any adult having sex with a minor under 15 would be considered rape, with exceptions only made for two consenting minors.

Leriche hopes this will make a difference for her daughter, Julie.

“These firefighters transformed my daughter into a sexual object, they dehumanized her,” Leriche said. “Now, the French justice system needs to give our daughter back her dignity.”

If the court refuses to charge the 20 firefighters with rape, Leriche said she plans to take the case to the European Court of Justice. 

Only then, she says, can Julie’s voice truly be heard.

Happy hour canceled in France under strict coronavirus curfew

Happy hour canceled in France under strict coronavirus curfew

To curb the spread of new, highly contagious coronavirus variants found in the UK, South Africa, and Brazil, France has implemented a 6 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew. 

Rebecca Rosman

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A woman wearing face a mask as a precaution against the coronavirus walks past a closed restaurant in Paris, Jan. 25, 2021. France’s government may impose a third lockdown in the coming days if an existing 12-hour-a-day curfew doesn’t significantly slow virus infections. 


Michel Euler/AP


La Nouvelle Étoile in Paris hosts an early happy hour.


Rebecca Rosman/The World 

It may only be 5 p.m. but that means last call at La Nouvelle Étoile, a neighborhood brasserie in the eastern corner of Paris.

To curb the spread of new, highly contagious coronavirus variants found in the UK, South Africa, and Brazil, France has implemented a 6 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew. 

“It’s really dull,” said Massine Cherif, one of a handful of customers standing on the brasserie’s outdoor terrace holding a plastic cup of beer.

The 40-year old information technology engineer snuck out of his home office earlier in the day so he could grab a pint. But most days, he’s just stuck inside. And it’s miserable.

Related: For many across Europe, Christmas is ‘canceled’ this year 

Cherif says he understands the government’s intentions but wishes France would put more trust in its citizens. 

“It’s not the war. … There are no bombs…we are responsible and if the government says be careful we will be careful.”

Massine Cherif, customer, La Nouvelle Étoile, Paris 

“It’s not the war,” Cherif said. “There are no bombs … we are responsible, and if the government says ‘be careful,’ we will be careful.”

If anything, the French government is only showing signs of more restrictions. 

On Sunday, the French paper le Journal du Dimanche reported French President Emmanuel Macron was considering announcing an imminent third lockdown.

“It’s a catastrophe,” said Mehdi Lalmas, the manager at La Nouvelles Étoile.

According to Lalmas, his sales are only 15% of what they normally would be. Lalmas says things did start to get a bit better after a second lockdown was lifted in mid-December and replaced with an 8 p.m. curfew. That’s when he started offering an outdoor apéro, French happy hour.

Related: Mexico’s battered tourism sector teeters fine line between economy and public health 

“It’s a tradition here in France to have a drink with friends after work. … It gave us a bit of hope and made people feel good. But this new 6 p.m. curfew has not been good for morale…I feel like people are really becoming depressed.”

Mehdi Lalmas, manager, La Nouvelles Etoile, Paris, France 

“It’s a tradition here in France to have a drink with friends after work,” Lalmas said. “It gave us a bit of hope and made people feel good. But this new 6 p.m. curfew has not been good for morale … I feel like people are really becoming depressed.” 

La Nouvelle Étoile Manager Mehdi Lalmas (right) says the new 6 p.m. curfew has been catastrophic for his business.


Rebecca Rosman/The World 

Lalmas says most people don’t have the time to come and have a 4 p.m. happy hour drink.

That’s probably the point — at least from the French government’s perspective.

Some say the new curfew is ironically making it harder to be careful. 

The metro, grocery stores and other shops fill up at around 5:30 p.m., creating a mad rush.

At a grocery store down the road, customers pack in like sardines about 20 minutes before closing. It’s so crowded inside that security guard Seydou Kanouté is regretfully telling customers outside that they’ll have to come back tomorrow.

He points to a woman standing outside with two babies in a stroller. 

Realted: A Paris neighborhood honors 92-year-old Holocaust survivor who died after COVID-19 bout

“Who knows if she has enough food at home? … If the government could just give us one more hour, let us close at 7 or 8 p.m., that would make a huge difference — because this is just crazy.”

Seydou Kanouté, supermarket security guard, Paris

“Who knows if she has enough food at home?” he said. “If the government could just give us one more hour, let us close at 7 or 8 p.m., that would make a huge difference — because this is just crazy.”

Kanouté says this 6 p.m. curfew is in some ways more difficult than the lockdown.

During the second lockdown, people could still go outside for up to three hours a day, and grocery stores could close at normal hours. 

Alice Billaud, a customer waiting at the checkout, agrees.

“6 p.m. is just too early. There’s no time to get things done,” Billaud said. 

“I get this new curfew is keeping people away from hanging outside of bars, but that’s also the one thing that’s been keeping people through this.” 

Now, she says, it’s going to be a very long winter. 

Sofiane – La Rue Parle Lyrics (feat. Rohff)

[Refrain: Rohff]
La rue parle, donc ferme ta gueule et écoute
Putain de front-kick dans ta seule gueule qui dégoute-dégoute
La rue parle, donc ferme ta gueule et écoute-écoute
La-la rue parle, La rue parle donc ferme ta gueule et écoute
La rue parle, donc ferme ta gueule et écoute
Putain de front-kick dans ta seule gueule qui dégoute-dégoute

[Couplet 1: Sofiane]
2.0.13, nos cœurs sont des forteresses comme nos tess
Livreur en bécane, arme de poing dans le top-caisse
Nique ta mère son altesse si t’as cru que t’étais puissant
Y a que le biff qui est réjouissant, casse en GP800
Pourquoi on vise la clinique ? All eyez on me !
666 fi 3inik
Demande à ton grand, tu verras qui sont les vrais, petit
Les ennemis de mes amis, sont forcement mes ennemis

[Refrain: Rohff]

[Couplet 2: Sofiane]
Blankok, Aulnay, Sevran, la France aurait du nous avorter
Je dédicace Bolo, tellement lourd que tu peux pas porter
Même nos meufs sont gang, mariage sa mère, michtonne ta chance
Appelle ta fille “Sale Pute” w’Allah tu vas prendre de l’avance
Et nous les sah
Crois-moi que c’est jamais devant tes confrères qu’on flippe
Dès le sbah on va venir toc-toc reveiller ton père en slip

Tocard, mon 9-3 s’en bas les couilles
Tant qu’on rompt pas, on compte pas les douilles
Frère tu peux remballer et puis je te le XXX

[Refrain: Rohff]

[Couplet 3: Sofiane]
On se reconnait entre nous, les rafales se mettent à pleuvoir
Dédicace au 9-3, dédicace à l’Abreuvoir
Don’t panic, mes banlieusards veulent pas de ton taf vieux
En survêt’ on fait caillera, en costard on fait mafieux
Bicrave, pillave, je niquave, bédave, des caves
Pénave, criave, machave, pachave, rodave, tchourave, cadavre, marave, bouillave, banave, perave, garde à v’, dikave, pourave, épave, déprave, poucave qui bavent, esclaves, il en reste grave
Tout les trucs en -ave gros

[Refrain: Rohff]

[Couplet 4: Sofiane]
La rue parle man, ferme ta gueule, les chiens posent
Tu parles, tu me stress au max, une petite mélation s’impose
Je reste proche de mes frères, encore plus proches de mes thunes
Je prend des nouvelles de Jumeau quand sa tire à la Demi-Lune
f*ck tes principes, plus rien à foutre on se la saoul
Hassoul en 1433 après Mohamed Rassoul
XXX, dédicace au bagne
Ta rue a une voix, elle s’appelle Fianesomaan

[Refrain: Rohff]

Former Eramus exchange students and academics bemoan the program’s end in the UK following Brexit

Former Eramus exchange students and academics bemoan the program’s end in the UK following Brexit

Britain, which formally ended its relationship with the EU on Dec. 31, has also decided to withdraw from Erasmus, an educational exchange program funded by the EU Commission.

Orla Barry

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Hashi Mohamed arrived as a 23-year-old in Saint-Étienne, France, in the summer of 2005, on an Erasmus program.


Courtesy of Hashi Mohamed


Twenty-three-year-old law student Hashi Mohamed arrived in Saint-Étienne, France, in the summer of 2005, on an Erasmus program.

The project allows young Europeans to study in another EU country for a year with funding from the EU Commission. Mohamed, who came to Britain at the age of 9 as a Somali refugee, says the year in Saint-Étienne changed him.

“It fundamentally transformed the way I see the world, the way I see myself, the way I see my future prospects and just the way I think as well.”

Hashi Mohamed, lawyer and author, former Erasmus student 

“It fundamentally transformed the way I see the world, the way I see myself, the way I see my future prospects and just the way I think as well.”

Related: London composers inspired by BLM confront classical music’s inequities through sound

Now Britain, which formally ended its relationship with the EU on Dec. 31, has also decided to withdraw from the educational exchange program. The move has been condemned by former Erasmus students like Mohamed as shortsighted. For many Europeans, Erasmus is seen as a rite of passage.

The year Mohamed arrived in France — 2005 — saw the worst rioting in the suburban banlieues of Paris in over four decades. The deaths of two boys hiding from police in an electricity substation in a suburb just outside the French capital sparked weeks of unrest. Also, protests driven by the ghettoization of Paris’ large immigrant community spread to other towns and cities across the country. 

As Mohamed witnessed anger raging among local youth, it inspired conversations among his new group of friends about what it meant to be an immigrant living in France.

“It triggered a whole conversation with so many young people that I was with at the time about what it meant to be French, what it meant to be European and what it meant to be integrated into society.”

Hashi Mohamed, lawyer and author, former Erasmus student 

“It triggered a whole conversation with so many young people that I was with at the time about what it meant to be French, what it meant to be European and what it meant to be integrated into society.”

Mohamed, who was raised mainly on state benefits, is far from the stereotypical Erasmus student that critics of the scheme complain about. The program has been called a “glorified gap year” for middle-class students by those who welcomed the government’s decision to bring it to an end in Britain. Without Erasmus+, Mohamed says, there is no possibility he could have spent a year studying in France.

Dubliner Andrew Patrick White agrees with Mohamed. White, who grew up in a single-parent household in the Irish capital, traveled to Bielefeld in northern Germany as part of Erasmus in 1993. His experience was life-changing, too, he says, although, at the time, he wasn’t quite sure what he had got himself into. White remembers arriving at Hanover airport with his backpack and little idea of what lay ahead.

Related: Is it curtains for London’s West End?

“I remember thinking what’s going on? How is this all going to work? I didn’t even know my address.”

That night, White found himself sleeping in a pig farm in the north of the town with a family who spoke almost no English. This would be his home for the next nine months. Every few Sundays, the family would take out their best china and invite White to drink coffee and eat kuchen and practice his German. Gradually, White says he came to love the German food, the people and even some German music.

Dubliner Andrew Patrick White studied in northern Germany as part of Erasmus in 1993. He says it was a life-changing experience.  


Courtesy of Andrew Patrick White

And he fell in love. It was an unlikely match. At 6-foot-4, White towered over his 4-foot-9, Italian girlfriend. Neither could speak the other’s mother tongue so they conversed in broken German. As the year in Germany ended, White and his girlfriend headed to Italy and drove through the countryside for two months. But it isn’t this relationship that White cherishes the most from his year abroad — it’s the friendships he built with other Erasmus students from all over Europe.

“Some were from Stockholm, others were from Helsinki, Leon and Porto and it was really the first time outside Dublin meeting like-minded people.”

Three of those students are still White’s closest friends over 22 years later, he says. His love didn’t survive the long distance after he moved back to Ireland, but the friendships did.

Mohamed says he has also remained in touch with the friends he made on Erasmus in Saint-Étienne. Learning fluency in another language gave him an edge in his career that many of his peers didn’t have.

Related: Brexit? It’s still a thing.

White says having a second language expanded his prospects, too. He worked in Germany for many years after graduating and now runs a fintech company in London.

White’s and Mohamed’s experiences are stories that Paul James Cardwell says he has heard many times. Cardwell is a law professor at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, and for 15 years, when he worked at the University of Sheffield, he organized Erasmus programs with other European universities. Cardwell says he worked hard to convince students to go on Erasmus each year, believing firmly that it broadens students’ worldviews. And it’s not just the students themselves who gain from the experience, he says. Britain benefits enormously, too.

Strathclyde University in Glasgow law professor Paul James Cardwell says he worked hard to convince students to go on Erasmus each year, believing firmly that it broadens students’ worldviews.


Courtesy of Paul James Cardwell 

“European students who’ve come to the UK, then go back as informal ambassadors not only for the universities they were at, but also for the UK, which explains why I think there is so much affection for Britain as a part of Europe.”

Rikke Uldall could be said to be one of those informal ambassadors. Uldall, now a master’s student in Copenhagen, studied English at Bournemouth University in Britain two years ago.

“British food sucks,” Uldall laughed, adding that she was even warned about it before going.

“When a family friend who is English learned that I was going to go on an exchange to the UK, she texted me and she was like, ‘Watch out for the food. It’s going to kill you.’”

Rikke Uldall, master’s student, Copenhangen, former Erasmus student 

“When a family friend who is English learned that I was going to go on an exchange to the UK, she texted me and she was like, ‘Watch out for the food. It’s going to kill you.’”

Related: Thermal readings at work raise concerns about civil liberties

But Uldall survived and grew to love Britain. Her time in Bournemouth altered her perspective on things, she says. The people she met, both Erasmus students and locals in Bournemouth, seemed to have a great understanding of what is important.

Rikke Uldall, who also did an Erasmus program, overlooks one of Bournemouth’s piers in the UK. 


Courtesy of Rikke Uldall

“It sounds kind of weird, but I just really admire them because they sort of just knew what was important in life. They got up early, they swam in the ocean and they didn’t really care about a lot of superficial stuff.”

Uldall says she would love to live in Britain again but knows that Brexit has now made that so much more challenging.

In announcing the end of the Erasmus program for Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to replace it with a new global project, called the Turing Scheme. This venture would allow British students to study at some of the best universities in the world, not just in Europe, he said. But Johnson gave little detail on how the UK will pay for the scheme. Universities in the US and elsewhere are considerably more expensive than most European colleges and that’s not taking into account travel costs and visa issues.

Mohamed, who is now a lawyer and author, says young Brits will be left “culturally poorer” as a result of the decision.

“Hashi from 2006 had those opportunities. The Hashi of 2020 just won’t have that now. And I’m really sad about that,” Mohamed said.  

North Korea destroyed the liaison office with the South; Beijing imposed coronavirus restrictions; France backs away from chokehold ban

North Korea destroyed the liaison office with the South; Beijing imposed coronavirus restrictions; France backs away from chokehold ban

The World staff

A smoke rises from Kaesong Industrial Complex in this picture taken from the south in Paju, South Korea, June 16, 2020.


Yonhap via Reuters


Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

In a dramatic escalation of tensions, North Korea blew up the liaison office used to improve relations with South Korea on Tuesday. Surveillance video released by South Korea’s Ministry of Defence showed the building, located in the border town of Kaesong, in a large explosion that appeared to bring down the four-story structure. The office, which effectively served as a de facto embassy for the two countries, has been closed since January due to the novel coronavirus.

The destruction of the office adds to tensions that have been rising over recent weeks, as North Korea has threatened to cut ties with the South for what it says is retaliation over propaganda leaflets critical of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that have been sent over the border by human rights activists. The liaison office between the North and the South was established in 2018 as part of a series of projects aimed at reducing tensions.

What The World is following

In a move to stop a flare-up of new coronavirus cases, Beijing has imposed restrictions on public transport and banned high-risk people, such as those in close contact with others who have tested positive for COVID-19, from leaving the city. The new outbreak in China’s capital, where more than 100 cases have been reported since Thursday, has been traced to a large wholesale food center in the southwest of the city. 

Three Indian soldiers were killed today in a confrontation with Chinese troops in the disputed border region of Kashmir. They are the first casualties in decades to result from a clash between India and China in the disputed border region. The two nuclear powers have been locked in a standoff for weeks over boundary disputes.

France is now backing away from an ban on police use of chokeholds announced last week. France reversed course on the ban after officers voiced concerns that the move would threaten their lives. France had announced the ban after weeks of protests following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, which for many recalled the similar death of Adama Traoré in police custody in France in 2016.

From The WorldWhy many in public health support anti-racism protests — with some precautions amid coronavirus

Visitors look at a memorial at the site of the arrest of George Floyd, who died while in police custody, in Minneapolis, June 14, 2020.


Eric Miller/Reuters 

Many health care workers say the coronavirus pandemic and systemic racism are intertwined. So when protests erupted across the globe in response to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, many health professionals understood the public outcry, despite the risks of being in large crowds.

When ‘oh, fudge’ won’t do: Researchers find benefits to swearing

Researchers at the Swear Lab at Keele University in the UK have studied the benefits of swearing. 



When you stub your toe, there’s nothing like letting out a string of expletives. But it turns out, there’s more to this release than you might think. Researchers have found that swearing can actually increase a person’s pain tolerance — and no, you can’t substitute in a PG equivalent like “Oh fudge!” Only the real thing will do.

Morning meme

What should replace recently toppled statues in the US, Britain and elsewhere? One suggestion that gained some viral traction on social media recently — air dancers.

Retweet if we should temporarily replace all racist monuments with air dancers while we build new non-racist monuments!

— Jack (@GayLaVie) June 10, 2020In case you missed itListen: Public health consequences of protests during a pandemic

People wearing masks and holding signs kneel during a Black Lives Matter protest in Trafalgar Square in London, Britain, June 5, 2020.


Toby Melville/Reuters

Thousands have taken to the streets around the world to protest police brutality and systemic racism. But many public health experts are not as distressed about these large demonstrations as one might think. And, as the US targets the International Criminal Court with sanctions, the court makes a breakthrough in Sudan. Also, a team of psychology researchers in the UK has found that swearing can increase a person’s pain tolerance.

Don’t forget to subscribe to The World’s Latest Edition podcast using your favorite podcast player: RadioPublicApple PodcastsStitcherSoundcloudRSS.

In France, the killing of George Floyd invokes the memory of Adama Traoré

In France, the killing of George Floyd invokes the memory of Adama Traoré

George Floyd’s killing sparked protests across the world. In France, it reignited calls for justice for Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old French Malian man who died in police custody almost four years ago.

Lucy Martirosyan

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Assa Traoré, sister of Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old, black Frenchman who died in 2016 during police detention, poses during an interview with Reuters in Beaumont-sur-Oise, near Paris, June 7, 2020. 


Lucien Libert/Reuters


The death George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man killed by a white police officer on camera late last month in Minneapolis, has sparked protests in cities across the world, including Amsterdam, Seoul and London.

In France, Floyd’s death has reignited calls for justice for Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old French Malian man who died in police custody in a Paris suburb almost four years ago.

Over the weekend, more than 23,000 people across France continued to pay homage to both Traoré and Floyd, denouncing systemic racism and police brutality in a dozen cities including Lyon, Lille, Nice, Bordeaux and Metz. Fearing violence, French police banned protests in front of the US Embassy and on the Champ de Mars lawns in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Saturday.

Related: Protesters worldwide face controversial police tactics

French President Emmanuel Macron asked Interior Minister Christophe Castaner to accelerate propositions for improving France’s police code of ethics. It’s a request Macron said he’s been demanding since the gilets jaunes or “yellow vests” protests against pension reforms in January.

In a press conference on Monday, Castaner announced that French law enforcement would abandon the policing technique known as le plaquage ventral, or “ventral plating,” a method of forceful detainment that involves “the strangulation” of the neck. Castaner also said he would request the suspension of officers involved in suspected racism, referring to an investigation into racist messages allegedly exchanged by police officers in a private Facebook group of nearly 8,000 members.

For the first time since Traoré’s death in 2016, Macron also asked Minister of Justice Nicole Belloubet to look into the case.

Related: Police killing of George Floyd strikes a chord in Kenya

During last Tuesday’s protests in Paris, Assa Traoré, Adama Traoré’s older sister, drew parallels between Floyd and her brother, saying the two black men died the same way in the hands of police.

“Tonight, this fight is no longer just the fight of the Traoré family, it’s everyone’s struggle,” Assa Traoré said. “We are fighting for our brother, in the US, George Floyd, and for Adama.”

The French capital alone garnered support from crowds of more than 20,000 people, defying a ban on large gatherings during the country’s COVID-19 state of emergency. 

On the same day, June 2, Castaner defended the police, criticizing peaceful protests that turned violent. In a tweet, he said that violence has no place in a democracy. And he congratulated the police for “their control and composure.”

La violence n’a pas sa place en démocratie.
Rien ne justifie les débordements survenus ce soir à Paris, alors que les rassemblements de voie publique sont interdits pour protéger la santé de tous.
Je félicite les forces de sécurité & secours pour leur maîtrise et leur sang-froid.

— Christophe Castaner (@CCastaner) June 2, 2020

A protester is detained during a banned demonstration in memory of Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old black Frenchman who died in a 2016 police operation which some have likened to the killing of George Floyd in the United States, on the Place de la Republique in Lille, France, June 4, 2020. 


Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

Since her brother’s death, Assa Traoré launched Truth for Adama, an organization that has been trying to prove that Adama Traoré died by asphyxiation at the hands of the French police.

Related: The parallels of police violence in the US and around the world 

On July 19, 2016, French gendarmes — a military force within law enforcement in France — stopped Adama Traoré as he was riding his bike with his brother on the streets of Beaumont-sur-Oise. Adama Traoré, who didn’t have his identification card on him, ran away fearing arrest. Identity checks are part of legislation in France to clamp down on illegal immigration, and police are known to abuse this practice against any person of color in Parisian suburbs. 

Officers chased him down and forcibly detained him. While transported to the police station, Adama Traoré’s condition worsened. He died that evening in police custody while his family was waiting for him at home to celebrate his 24th birthday.

A French court ruled that the gendarmes had no involvement in Adama Traoré’s death and that he died due to underlying health conditions and heart failure.

While the officers involved in the case were exonerated this month, a new, independent report requested by the Traoré family released last week said he died by “positional asphyxiation” — contradicting the original autopsy.

Yassine Bouzrou, the lawyer representing the Traoré family, said that the police used the ventral plating technique where, Bouzrou says, three officers pinned him down onto his stomach with their full weight on top of him — totaling 551 pounds.

Related: ‘No justice, no peace’: Thousands in London protest

“When he was arrested, it was extremely violent. He was crushed by the weight of police officers on top of him. … [Adama Traoré] said he couldn’t breathe.”

Yassine Bouzrou, lawyer, France

“When he was arrested, it was extremely violent. He was crushed by the weight of police officers on top of him,” Bouzrou said. “[Adama Traoré] said he couldn’t breathe.”

Adama Traoré’s death resonates especially with black French people and Maghrebis — North Africans — living in Parisian suburbs who say they feel targeted by police.

“The way people are treated at the banlieue [suburb], it’s like a map,” said Franco Lollia, an Afro Caribbean activist with the Brigade for Anti-Negrophobia in Paris, through an interpreter. “You could compare it to redlining in the United States.”

Redlining was banned more than 50 years ago in the US, but reports say that it reinforced segregation and economic disparities that persist in these cities today. 

According to a 2012 report by Human Rights Watch, young black or Arab French people living in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in French cities are more likely to be stopped by the police, suggesting that the gendarmes and police in France engage in racial and ethnic profiling.

Related: Human rights should be ‘top value,’ says Ukraine’s former police chief

Lollia, who founded his group in 2005, says there is a psychological, implicit bias that exists against people of color in Parisian suburbs, which ultimately perpetuates systemic racism.

When Adama Traoré died that summer nearly four years ago, his death became a rallying call in the suburbs of Paris against police brutality. That July, in 2016, protests lasted for several days in the French capital, with some violent clashes between civilians and police. People in France were starting to make connections to the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, Lollia said, drawing parallels to Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, and Eric Garner, who also said, “I can’t breathe.”

A protester holds a sign during a banned demonstration in memory of Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old black Frenchman who died in a 2016 police operation which some have likened to the death of George Floyd in the United States, on the Place de la Republique in Lille, France, June 4, 2020.


Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

Lollia connected Traoré’s case to that of Floyd, — but with one major distinction.

“What happened to George Floyd was on camera. What happened to Adama was not on film. … So, if I may say so, they didn’t get the chance to get the death on video. This is how cynical the situation gets for us to prove our innocence. It has to be taped.”

Franco Lollia, activist, Brigade for AntiNegrophobia, Paris, France

“What happened to George Floyd was on camera. What happened to Adama was not on film,” Lollia said. “So, if I may say so, they didn’t get the chance to get the death on video. This is how cynical the situation gets for us to prove our innocence. It has to be taped.”

Bouzrou agrees that there are many similarities between the two cases.

“The first point in common is that both [Floyd and Traoré] died by the ‘ventral plating’ technique, with police officers on top of their backs,” Bouzrou said. “Three police officers were on top of Floyd. And three gendarmes on top of Adama Traoré. The second point in common — they both said they couldn’t breathe. The third point in common is that, in both cases, the first [autopsy] claimed that they died because of a heart attack — Traoré and Floyd. [Fourth,] thanks to independent reports, the real cause of death was found — that is to say, the death was caused by the arrests.”

And finally, Bouzrou said, Adama Traoré and George Floyd were both victims of being black men.

Meanwhile, France’s Police Union official, Yves Lefebvre, insists the two cases are different. According to the BBC, he warned that France’s banlieues were like a pressure cooker, “ready to explode.”

Even though this new report supports Assa Traoré’s claim that her brother was killed by officers, Bouzrou is not hopeful.

Ultimately, he says, President Macron has supported the Paris prosecutor’s office that first suggested Adama Traoré died because of preexisting conditions.

“For us, this position is political because it comes from Macron,” he said.

As for Assa Traoré and her family, Bouzrou says they won’t feel justice is served for Adama Traoré until people fight for it.

“We have to fight and denounce this judicial scandal,” Bouzrou said.

US may be violating international law in its response to protesters, UN expert says

US may be violating international law in its response to protesters, UN expert says

International human rights advocates observing how the US is handling the protests have said the US may be violating international law. The World spoke to UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard on the use of force by US police.

The World staff

Stephen Snyder

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A Seattle police officer wears a “mourning band” for fallen officers over his badge, obscuring the badge number, as Seattle police guard the department headquarters downtown during a rally and march calling for a defunding of Seattle police, in Seattle, Washington, on June 3, 2020.


Reuters/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo


In cities across the United States this past week, protesters have been confronted by police carrying shields and batons and hulking armored vehicles that might look to some people like a scene straight out of a war zone.

Widespread protests against racial inequalities and excessive use of force by police following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis with a white policeman’s knee on his neck have revived a debate about equipment and tactics used by police around the United States that critics say should be confined to a battlefield. Meanwhile, international human rights advocates observing how the US is handling the protests have said the US may be violating international law in its sometimes violent response. 

Agnes Callamard is the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions as well as the director of Global Freedom of Expression at Columbia University. She led the definitive investigation into the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Callamard joined The World’s host Marco Werman from outside Avignon, France. 

Related: Former CIA analyst sees parallels between Trump protest response and social unrest abroad

Marco Werman: Madame Callamard, civil rights groups are now suing the Trump administration for violating the constitutional rights of demonstrators. You’ve been watching events on the streets of the US this week from France. Are you seeing violations of international law? 

Oh, yes, I have. At least on the basis of the videos that I have watched and the reporting that I have read, there appears to be repeated violations of international law — in particular of two principles that should guide the use of force by police in terms of handling protest: necessity and proportionality. I have seen misuse of so-called “less-lethal weapons” from rubber bullets to batons to tear gas. I have seen the use of “less-lethal techniques,” which have become very harmful, if not lethal, in at least the case of Mr. Floyd. So yes, unfortunately, at the moment, based on what we can watch on our screen and what we can read in our newspaper, there is a pattern of violations committed by police force in handling the protest. 

Related: Tear gas has been banned in warfare. Why do police still use it?

So you’ve noticed the tear gas and the rubber bullets. How do police assaults on reporters in Minneapolis and Washington, DC, not to mention attacks on demonstrators — how do those compare with what we see in other countries? 

Look, the one thing I should say is that unfortunately, the US does not stand out when it comes to those forms of violations. The scale of those violations is unusual, but the nature of the violation is not. So throughout 2019, I have received countless allegations of similar misuse of tear gas or rubber bullets in other contexts, including in Europe, in Chile, in the Middle East. So from that standpoint, unfortunately, there is a global phenomenon of police misusing so-called less-lethal weapons in ways that are either making them lethal or making their use so indiscriminatory that it amounts to a violation. 

So what or who are the authorities internationally and what are they thinking about how to respond to what’s happening in the US? 

First of all, in the US and globally, I will say there is an increasing awareness within the international community, the human rights community, and also the police community, that the so-called less-lethal weapons are no panacea. There is a reasonable factor as to why we need them, because they give police a range of options in terms of handling difficult situations. And that is something that is welcomed. 

We certainly do not want the police to have only recourse to a firearm when confronted with a difficult situation. So the range of options that those less-lethal weapons constitute is welcome. But in order to meet their purposes, which is to police in an effective and safe fashion, they have to be used to properly. And what we are seeing is the repeated misuse, the absence of proper guidelines and regulations, legal frameworks which are enshrining excessive use of force and impunity. That is particularly the case in the US because of the qualified immunity doctrine which is applied to police officers. This is why I and others have called for an end of the doctrine. That will be of first essential step towards addressing the systemic impunity that is attached to excessive use of force. The second is proper regulations regarding those the less-lethal weapons. And the third is proper training attached to those less-lethal weapons.  

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Reuters contributed to this report. 

Sean Slick – Note To Self Lyrics

At 14
I had a dream
To make Gs
With words I speak
And if that meant
To decease beats
My murder charge
Would be complete
See being young
Man had plans
To stack grands
And fly to France
Have many lands
On sea and sand
And many fans
To see me stand
On stages
With races
Of people
Just racing
And saying
He famous
But my aim
Wasn’t based
Been watched
With them cameras
Or photo shoots
On calendars
Just tours please
Pretty ladies
Living happily
Ever after
I’m willing
Take chances
On this trap shit
, make hits with these rackets
More commas in them brackets
Take step backs
Through setbacks
Could leave me
Kinda stranded
With thoughts of
Living lavish
In a kingdom
Or a palace
More times
I m
Just grinding
Slicks firing
New rhymes in
About buying
The finest
Two islands
With assets

In Africa
Or bank accounts
In Sweden
I’m feeling
This season
To start
A new team in
Trend setters
Stack cheddar
Stick together
Born better
No pressure
The dynasty
Reigns forever
Mindset says probably
Take chances
Like the lottery
Ain’t stagnant
Or nonchalant
Work rate
Is done properly
Stay righteous
When I write this
f*cking tyrants
So gas talk is just statements
To be ya highness
Not Buckingham
But I’m upperclass
If she’s bucking me, Then
‘I m touching arse
With my thoughtspan with learnt rhymes
I I’m either cruising
Or running Past
Die enormous
Or live dormant
Word to Jigga
That’s how we on it
Better inform them
Or we ignore em
,time wasting is not important
See me fam
I gotta rep the place
That’s SE to the 28
Like QueensBridge to Nasir
That’s SouthEast to Sean here

A 26-year manhunt for Rwandan genocide fugitive ends

A 26-year manhunt for Rwandan genocide fugitive ends

Halima Gikandi

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Dimitrie Sissi Mukanyiligira, a Rwandan genocide survivor looks at a laptop computer with the webpage showing the pictures of the Rwandan genocide fugitive Félicien Kabuga, as she takes part in a Reuters interview in Kigali, Rwanda, May 18, 2020. 


Jean Bizimana/Reuters


The 26-year hunt for Félicien Kabuga —  spanning two continents and lasting more than two decades — has finally come to an end. On Saturday morning, French police arrested the now 84-year-old Rwandan genocide fugitive from his apartment in a suburb of Paris.

“Félicien Kabuga has always been one of the most wanted fugitives. … He has always been considered as being one of the masterminds in relation to the genocide.”

 Serge Brammertz,  chief prosecutor, United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals

“Félicien Kabuga has always been one of the most wanted fugitives,” Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor of the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT), told The World in an interview Monday. “He has always been considered as being one of the masterminds in relation to the genocide.” 

Related: Somali torture victim will face his abuser after 31 years — in US court

In 1997, Kabuga was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on seven counts of genocide and related crimes. His alleged role includes financing the 1994 genocide, arming militia groups, and heading a hate-filled radio station, Radio Télévision Mille Collines.

Genocide survivors such as Naphtal Ahishakiye, 46, still remember the words of hate on the radio. “Tutsi is the biggest enemy of Rwanda. Of Hutu. So the radio considered Tutsi as the animals, cockroaches,” he recalled hearing.

Ahishakiye is the executive secretary of Ibuka, a group for genocide survivors. Growing up as a Tutsi, he remembers the day-to-day discrimination by majority Hutu elites beginning long before 1994. 

Related: Syrian officials on trial for war crimes in Germany

After spending 100 days hiding at neighbors’ homes and in the forest, only he and two sisters survived — the rest of his family died, including his parents, brothers and cousins, he said. At least 800,000 people are estimated to have been killed, the majority of them Tutsis.

While the ICTR officially concluded in 2015, ongoing cases were turned over to the IRMCT — now led by Brammertz — and continued to pursue Kabuga. 

“We can never give up looking for those fugitives,” said Brammertz, speaking about the international community. 

Previous attempts to capture Kabuga have failed, most notably a plot by the FBI and Kenyan authorities in 2003, which resulted in the death of an informant in Nairobi. The US has had a $5 million bounty on the fugitive. 

Two years ago, Brammertz established a new task force to track down Kabuga in partnership with European authorities. 

“We start[ed] where we were sure he was seen for the last time, which was in 2007 when he underwent surgery in Germany,” Brammertz said. He and his team began tracing Kabuga’s steps through Belgium and Luxembourg, identifying people who were likely to have helped him hide.

“Based on the analysis, phone profiles, financial information, we concluded two months ago that it was very likely that it was in a specific area in Paris,” Brammertz said.

“We are happy for France to facilitate this process to arrest Kabuga.  … In previous years, France didn’t play a role in this kind of justice.”

Naphtal Ahishakiye, executive secretary, Ibuka group for genocide survivors, Rwanda

“We are happy for France to facilitate this process to arrest Kabuga,” Ahishakiye said. “In previous years, France didn’t play a role in this kind of justice.”

Related: Thousands of ISIS fighters sit in prison. Kurdish leaders call for a special tribunal.

Indeed, the relationship between Rwanda and France has been strained by accusations that France was complicit in the genocide, an accusation it has historically denied. Last year, French President Emmanuel Macron directed a panel of experts to investigate France’s role in the genocide.

According to Brammertz, Kabuga will be transferred to the Mechanism Tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania, or The Hague, depending on travel restrictions that might exist due to the coronavirus pandemic.

When it comes to an actual trial, “it’s more likely that it takes closer to a year,” Brammertz said.

French dentists strip naked to protest lack of protective gear

French dentists strip naked to protest lack of protective gear

Lucy Martirosyan

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Dr. Maud Braun-Reys, left, a dental surgeon in Obernai, France, posted an image on Facebook of herself naked in her office along with her father, Dr. Daniel Reys, also a dentist, to protest the lack of PPE.


Courtesy of Dr. Maud Braun-Reys


It will be a couple of weeks before people get back to work in France. But for now, the country’s dentists are feeling especially vulnerable.

Many of them say they won’t have enough personal protective equipment, or PPE, to protect them from the coronavirus as they treat their patients. So they’re protesting in a unique way: They’re stripping down.

Dozens of dentists have taken pictures of themselves naked in their offices and posted the photos online with the hashtag #dentisteapoil — or, dentists in the buff. The photos are composed with carefully positioned props like books and flowers to conceal their private parts.

Dental surgeon Dr. Maud Braun-Reys posted a photo of herself naked in her office in Obernai, near Strasbourg, France. She also posted a naked photo of her 72-year-old father, Dr. Daniel Reys, who is also a dentist. 

“If tomorrow the health ministry doesn’t free up this talk of PPE that is currently blocked or give us the possibility to order, it will be like going naked to work,” Braun-Reys said. “The fact is that because of the shortage of masks in the hospital, all dentists make a donation of their stock of PPE. So without protection for us and for our patients, it’s really impossible to face COVID.” 

Screengrab of naked German doctors protesting in the nude because of lack of PPE during the COVID-19 outbreak.



Related: COVID-19: The latest from The World 

The French dentists are joined by health specialists throughout Europe posing naked to demonstrate their vulnerability. In Germany, nude photos appear on a website urging politicians to ensure doctors and clinics have enough protective gear.

“I learned how to stitch wounds, why do I now have to learn how to stitch masks?” reads a placard held by a female doctor with a stethoscope and a red mask in one photo. The naked doctors said that outpatient and general practice care for COVID-19 patients was as important as hospital care, putting them on the front line in the fight to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

In response to the French dentists’ protest, the country’s government said it will provide the dentists extra masks when the country’s lockdown begins to lift on May 11.

“Last week we announced an extra 150,000 FFP2 masks to be provided to them by the 11th of May to allow some cabinets [offices] to reopen and handle relative emergencies,” a spokesperson for the French ministry of health told The World. “After the 11th of May, we will progressively reopen all dentists and provide the necessary PPE for this activity to be possible.”

“It’s not enough for 42,000 dentists. It will just only last for one day of work.”

Maud Braun-Reys, dentist

According to Braun-Reys, much more gear is needed: “It’s not enough for 42,000 dentists. It will just only last for one day of work.” 

Braun-Reys noted that the images have shocked people around the world, particularly in the US. But the intention was not to draw attention to French dentists’ naked bodies, she said.

“It’s just to explain that we are totally defenseless,” she said. “So it was really to shock maybe a little bit the opinion, but also to alert the authorities. And we are all united in this movement. All the dental profession is united. We have made 260 photos for the moment and it’s going to grow and grow all over the world.” 

Reuters contributed to this report. Editor’s note: A previous version of this story used the wrong image for Dr. Daniel Reys.

Pro athletes find creative ways to train from home during coronavirus

Pro athletes find creative ways to train from home during coronavirus

From makeshift sparing buddies to swimming in a kiddie pool, professional athletes get creative during a time of physical distancing.

María Elena Romero

Bianca Hillier

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Alexandra Recchia, five-time karate world champion, trains in the garden of her house near Paris during a lockdown in France aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus.


Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images


When Alexandra Recchia steps onto the mat, the karate world pays attention. The five-time karate World Champion is chasing her biggest podium yet: winning gold for France at the Tokyo Summer Olympics, now rescheduled to 2021. 

Despite stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic, Recchia’s dedication to her sport remains the same. What is entirely different is her training setup at her Paris-area home.

“I am training at home, by myself and without a partner,” Recchia told The World. “My boyfriend doesn’t really love karate. So he built me a kind of [training] partner with a lamp.” 

He filled a flowerpot with pebbles, stuck a standing lamp inside and attached cushions at head and chest height, sturdy enough to be the sparring buddy for a world-class athlete training at home under coronavirus-mandated quarantine.

“Yea, really,” she said. “I [have trained] with that for four weeks. And it is really perfect.”

COVID-19: The latest from The World

Recchia is just one of many professional athletes around the world who have come up with creative ways to continue their training.

Dutch elite distance swimmer Sharon van Rouwendaal, an Olympic gold medalist, has resorted to swimming in an inflatable kiddie pool in her own backyard after she upset local authorities by swimming in a nearby lake. 

“It’s like two meters. So I just fit in. And I have an elastic resistance band and then I put that to a tree,” she told The World. “And then actually, I stay in one place, in the pool. So I can swim for one hour, nonstop, going nowhere.”

    View this post on Instagram         

There’s always a solution, you just have to be creative! 🙈🥶 I could only do 45 minutes in total because the water is very cold… • #stayactive #becreative #openwater #swimming #wetsuit #coldwater #littlepool • To use this video in a commercial player or in broadcasts, please email

A post shared by Sharon van Rouwendaal (@svrouwendaal) on Mar 28, 2020 at 8:54am PDT

Other athletes, like American figure skater Jason Brown, have been sharing fun training tips on social media that non-pro athletes can incorporate into their daily exercise routines.

Brown recently demonstrated how to jump the rope while wearing ice skates, and Norwegian wrestler Stig-André Berge replaced weights with his child during a push-up session

Of course, professional athletes follow stricter regimens than regular gym-goers, since they are aiming to break a record or win gold. But when it comes to keeping up with exercise during at a time of physical distancing, Recchia says everyone is battling the same obstacle: maintaining their motivation.

Alexandra Recchia trains in the garden of her house near Paris during a lockdown in France.


Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images

“The difficulty is to stay motivated,” Recchia said. “It is so very important to stay in good health. And we cannot stay in good health if we stay on the sofa.”

To get off the sofa, Recchia suggests enlisting quarantine partners or finding virtual training partners to break a sweat without leaving home.

“If you are alone, please, go on Instagram, go on Facebook, and you can see everyday influencers give advice and motivate you to do some sports,” Recchia said. “Move your body and move your mind!”