Week in Review: Paris mayor's race heats up with a sex scandal and a makeover for the Champs-Élysées

Week in Review
Week in Review © Screen grab, France 24

The Paris mayoral race heated up this week with the release of a sex tape and a new conservative entering the fray. In Tehran, medical centres have been hit hard by US sanctions, we look back at the tragedy of France's "stolen children" and Ethiopian migrants trek 2,000 kilometres into Saudi Arabia via Yemen. 



Beyond rockets and air strikes: The Israeli-Palestinian trade war

Israel blocked Palestinian exports from leaving the territories on February 9 in another chapter of the trade war they have been fighting since September, when the Palestinian Authority banned Israeli veal from its territories. The battle threatens both Israeli farmers and particularly the already fragile Palestinian economy.

palestinians © AFP Hazem Bader,

Just for tourists? Paris aims to draw locals back to Champs-Élysées

Often called “the world's most beautiful avenue”, the French capital's iconic Champs-Élysées thoroughfare draws millions of visitors each year. But with most Parisians shunning the area, residents have been invited to pitch in on an ambitious “re-enchantment” plan aimed at luring them back.

Champs-Élysées © PCA-Stream

Conservative Rachida Dati launches bid to unseat Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo

Conservative Rachida Dati has imposed herself as Socialist incumbent Anne Hidalgo’s biggest opponent in the Paris mayoral elections. Analysts say Dati, the right-wing Républicains’ candidate, has a strong chance of bringing the French right back from the dead in the City of Lights.

Les Républicains candidate for the 2020 Paris mayoral election Rachida Dati poses during a photo session in the French capital on November 25, 2019. © Joel Saget, AFP
Les Républicains candidate for the 2020 Paris mayoral election Rachida Dati poses during a photo session in the French capital on November 25, 2019. © Joel Saget, AFP © Joel Saget, AFP

Macron unveils curbs on foreign imams in France in bid to combat ‘separatism’

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced measures to end a programme that allowed foreign countries to send imams and teachers to France in a bid to crackdown on what he called the risk of "separatism". 

French parliament seeks €1 million from former PM Fillon in 'fake jobs' scandal

The French parliament will seek more than €1 million in damages from conservative former prime minister François Fillon and his co-accused over the public funds that were allegedly paid to Fillon’s wife for a fake post she occupied, a lawyer for the National Assembly said.

France's former prime minister François Fillon has been hit by a series of scandals. © AFP archive
France's former prime minister François Fillon has been hit by a series of scandals. © AFP archive © AFP archive

French ski resort angers ecologists by using helicopters to transport snow

A French ski resort has angered ecologists by using helicopters to transfer snow to its lower slopes after a mild winter left them devoid of the white stuff.  

A helicopter transports snow to the lower slopes of the Luchon-Superbagnères ski resort in southwestern France on February 15, 2020. © AFP - Anne-Christine Poujoulat
A helicopter transports snow to the lower slopes of the Luchon-Superbagnères ski resort in southwestern France on February 15, 2020. © AFP - Anne-Christine Poujoulat © AFP - Anne-Christine Poujoulat


Pyotr Pavlensky: The Russian artist behind France's sex tape scandal

Russian political performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky finds himself at the centre of a French scandal after publishing a sex tape of a leading Paris mayoral candidate online. But it is just the latest in a long line of provocative stunts from the artist, which have included nailing his scrotum to the ground outside Moscow’s Red Square and setting fire to the headquarters of Russia’s Federal Security Service.

Community policing part of Macron’s plan to ‘reclaim’ neglected suburbs

French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled a series of measures to combat what he called “Islamist separatism” in a speech Tuesday in one of France’s neglected suburbs in the eastern city of Mulhouse. A significant part of his plan is a strong police presence in underprivileged communities.

Face masks vs coronavirus: How effective are they?

From expensive filtration devices to homemade coverings, face masks have become almost ubiquitous in Hong Kong in the wake of China's coronavirus outbreak. Experts say the choice of mask could make a big difference to its effectiveness.



US sanctions ‘targeting’ patients, say doctors at Iranian cancer hospital

Medical staff at Iran’s top cancer hospital tell FRANCE 24 their patients are paying the price of geopolitical strategies as the country’s health system struggles to cope under crippling US sanctions. The economy tops the agenda as Iran heads to the polls in Friday’s general elections.


Did police kill a woman escaping a COVID-19 quarantine in China?

People all over the world have been sharing a video they claim shows a woman killed by police in China for trying to escape quarantine for the COVID-19 virus, which has infected more than 70,000 people in the country thus far. The propagation of this video is evidence of the online hysteria about the virus; however, our team took a closer look, and found out that the video itself tells an entirely different story.

screengrab of a video that was shared widely on Twitter.
screengrab of a video that was shared widely on Twitter. © creengrabs of a video that was shared widely on Twitter.

‘We haven't eaten for days’: Afghan soldiers suffer amid widespread corruption

The Afghan army has been mired in a decades-long war against the Taliban, ever since the United States invaded the country in 2001. Corruption is also rife in the country's military. Photos sent to the FRANCE 24 Observers team shine a light on poor organisation and the difficulties that Afghan troops face, from insufficient food and pay to a lack of suitable clothing. On top of these practical problems, soldiers also face a strategic disadvantage: the Taliban has had increasing access over the last few years to better weapons. 




History podcaster Mike Duncan on offering a practical guide to revolutions

Our Perspective guest is Mike Duncan, the voice behind the award-winning podcasts "The History of Rome" and "Revolutions". Duncan also wrote the New York Times bestseller "The Storm Before the Storm" and is currently working on a new book about the Marquis de Lafayette. He spoke to us about why he became a podcaster, how much work he puts into each episode, and why he sees parallels between ancient Rome and the present day when it comes to the dangers of economic inequality.


France's 'stolen children' make emotional return to native Reunion Island

Between 1963 and 1982, more than 2,000 youngsters were taken from the French territory of Reunion Island in the to repopulate rural areas of mainland France. Some were orphans, but others had parents who signed release papers, not always understanding they would never see their children again. We explore the tragedy of France's "stolen children".



The Ethiopian migrants who make the desperate journey to Saudi Arabia via Yemen 

Every day, thousands of Ethiopians set off on foot on a desperate 2,000-kilometre trek in the hope of reaching Saudi Arabia. Their route takes them across the Djibouti desert, the Red Sea and Yemen, a country ravaged by civil war. Every year, hundreds die of exhaustion in the desert or drown while crossing the Gulf of Aden. Those who make it to Yemen, often having starved for days on end, are easy prey for the local mafia who kidnap them for ransom. Our reporters followed these migrants on their journey and documented, with exclusive footage, the extent of human trafficking.


Margaret Atwood: ‘The people who suppress women also pretend there is no climate crisis’

Multi award-winning Canadian author Margaret Atwood is often cited as one of the most powerful and prophetic voices writing today. She’s the creator of contemporary literature's most chilling dystopia: Gilead in "The Handmaid's Tale". The feminist icon won last year’s Booker Prize for "The Testaments", alongside Bernardine Evaristo's "Girl, Woman, Other". Atwood sat down with FRANCE 24's Janira Gomez at the Hay Festival Cartagena in Colombia.



The end of insouciance: Do the French still shrug at sex scandals in politics?

France has traditionally taken pride in being somewhat of an exception when it comes to caring, or not caring, about the private lives of its politicians. This lax attitude has been called into question recently by the so-called Griveaux scandal. Benjamin Griveaux, a close ally of President Emmanuel Macron, pulled out of the Paris mayoral race following the release of a sex tape. So are we witnessing the "Americanisation" of French politics? Is the atmosphere becoming more puritanical and moralising? And what role does social media play in all this?

THE 51%

Mexico City killing: Brutal murder sparks public outrage on gender violence

In this edition, we report on the public outrage over the brutal murder of a young Mexican woman that has highlighted the extent of femicide in Mexico. Plus, the latest figures from the World Economic Forum reveal that in terms of economic participation, the gender gap will take 257 years to close; we talk to economist Anne Boring on what steps governments and companies need to urgently take to speed up the process. We also look at how the sport of fencing is being used to heal sexual assault victims in France.


The legacy of France's Vauban, a master fortress builder

An engineer turned marshal, Vauban is one of the most famous names of 17th century France. His citadels with their signature forms played a crucial role in King Louis XIV's strategy to defend France. Vauban's work owes much to his native land, the Morvan, where his memory is still very much alive.  


Libya migrant crisis: A humanitarian emergency

The largest flow of African migrants trying to escape to a better life in Europe is moving via one country: Libya. Although some arrive by choice, others come by force, and Libya is now described as a "purgatory" where migrants face appalling conditions, sexual abuse, torture and becoming victims of human traffickers –before facing the deadliest stretch of the Mediterranean Sea. Our guest Caroline Gluck, senior external relations officer for the UNHCR Libya operation, tells us more.

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