Week in Review: Coronavirus sparks fear and hoarding, sexism in France's kitchens and Marie Curie's 'Radioactive' biopic

Week in Review
Week in Review © (L to R) Jeff Pachoud, AFP and screen grabs

France votes in municipal elections this weekend that will include electing the mayor of Paris. We also take a peek behind the scenes at the sexism and harassment that can be prevalent in even the most prestigious kitchens and investigate the anxiety, boredom and feelings of isolation that are on the rise as more people stay home amid fears of the coronavirus. 



A guide to France’s municipal elections: Half a million seats and a spoiler virus

French voters head to the polls for a first round of voting on March 15 and a second round on March 22 to elect some 35,000 mayors and more than 10 times as many councillors as the country braces for a coronavirus epidemic – and President Emmanuel Macron’s party is bracing for a beating. 

Balkany dynasty: Local power couple manoeuvres to hold on to posh Paris suburb 

For nearly four decades, Patrick Balkany has been the centre-right mayor of the upscale Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret, with his wife Isabelle often acting as his deputy. But last year they were convicted of tax fraud and money laundering, resulting in jail sentences and barring them from running in the city’s March elections. They have since named an heir-designate, whom some hope – and others fear – is a way to prolong the Balkany dynasty.

Mayoral race becomes a referendum on pesticide ban in French village of Langouët

The mayor of tiny Langouët became a hero to environmentalists across France last year after unilaterally banning pesticides from his village. With his mandate up for grabs on Sunday, the election is being billed as a test for ecological activism in rural communities where farmers remain dependent on weedkillers.

Fear, hoarding and Gallic shrugs as French brace for coronavirus epidemic

As France considers raising its coronavirus alert level warning to 3 and President Emmanuel Macron warned the public that an epidemic was “inevitable”, reports of the escalating outbreak were met with fear, hoarding – and complete indifference.

'We don't dare complain': Sexism and harassment plague French restaurant kitchens

If the #MeToo movement has knocked the sexism out of some professional kitchens around the world, the restaurant sector in France has not followed suit. We take a look behind the scenes.  

Photo illustration
Photo illustration © Jeff Pachoud, AFP


Barred by Brexit: France’s British elected officials forced to step down

Hundreds of incumbent town councillors will not be on the ballot in local French elections this weekend since they are no longer European Union citizens following Brexit. Newly ineligible to hold office, British elected officials across the country are being forced to step down.

Barred by Brexit
Barred by Brexit © screen grab



Video: The daily life of migrants trapped at the Turkey-Greece border

Thousands of migrants – most of them from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran – have rushed to the border separating Turkey and Greece after the Turkish government announced in late February that it would no longer stop migrants from crossing into Europe. Our team spoke to some of those trapped at the border who describe difficult living conditions and violent Greek border guards.

Mexican women stage nationwide ‘Day Without Us’ strike

Shops were left eerily empty and the labour ministry was particularly hard hit on Monday as Mexico’s female population staged a nationwide “Day Without Us” strike to protest against gender-based violence and the country's high rate of femicide.  

Mexico's women staged a 'Day Without Us' strike
Mexico's women staged a 'Day Without Us' strike © Henry Romero / Reuters




Life and death decisions under siege: Syrian doctor on ninth anniversary of war

It's now been nine years since the start of the war in Syria – and Syrian civilians are still dying and seeking safety as refugees. Our guest is a doctor who spent five years treating patients under the missiles and bombs of the Syrian regime and its Russian backers in Eastern Ghouta. Dr. Amani Ballour was just 25 years old and fresh out of medical school when the siege began. Her experiences and eventual evacuation were the subject of a documentary, "The Cave", which was nominated at this year's Oscars.



Coronavirus consequences: What can policymakers do to save the economy?

Global growth could be cut in half if the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, according to the OECD. What are the options open to policymakers to treat the virus's economic symptoms? We ask veteran market analyst Justin Urquhart Stewart, co-founder of 7 Investment Management, if the stock market volatility is set to last. And we take a look at the auto industry as the virus hits both suppliers and customers.



Paris City Hall: The race for the top prize in France's municipal elections

In France, the municipal elections are held every six years. But the most closely-watched race is the vote to win the keys to Paris City Hall. There have been some surprises in the race so far, as the president's chosen candidate Benjamin Griveaux was forced to bow out after a sex video scandal. Leading in the polls is the incumbent mayor of Paris, the left-leaning Anne Hidalgo. But not far behind her in another well-known figure in French politics, the right-leaning Rachida Dati.

Paris © screen grab


EU migrant crisis: Criminalising compassion

Stopping to help women who are injured and look distressed at the side of the road, offering food to a hungry child or tea to a parched man who has been walking for days: These acts of compassion are increasingly being treated as crimes across Europe. Amnesty International has released the results of an investigation into how eight European countries are criminalising compassion, possibly in contravention of international human rights laws.



Anxiety, isolation, boredom: The side effects of coronavirus in China

The coronavirus epidemic may be slowing in China, but another problem is taking hold in the country: anxiety. Fear of being infected by the virus has given way to loneliness and isolation, especially among the residents of Wuhan, where residents remain under quarantine. A recent poll puts the number of people suffering from anxiety in China at 42 percent.

Focus © screen grab



Ready-to-wear, winter 2020: Paris celebrates diversity

For its winter 2020 ready-to-wear collections, Chanel sends both slim and voluptuous models down the catwalk, with black and white women dressed as musketeers. Balmain rethinks the very concept of the bourgeoisie, while Nigerian designer Kenneth Ize joins his South African colleague Thebe Magugu in turning to his roots for inspiration. Last but not least, Japanese designers Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto look to the future with a rebellious streak.

The Grand Palais
The Grand Palais © screen grab



Rosamund Pike and Sam Riley star in Marie Curie biopic 'Radioactive'

A pioneer in the field of science and the first woman to win two Nobel prizes, Marie Curie is one of the most important historical figures of the 20th century. A new biopic starring Rosamund Pike and Sam Riley looks at two defining moments in her life: meeting her husband and lifelong research partner Pierre Curie, and the discovery of the elements polonium and radium. 

ENCORE! © France 24


Music show: The Big Moon on touring their second album and Record Store Day 2020

Despite Brexit and coronavirus fears, London's indie rock four-piece The Big Moon have just embarked on the European leg of their tour. The Mercury Prize-nominated band – who recently released their second album "Walking Like We Do" and toured with veterans The Pixies – popped by the FRANCE 24 studios for a chat and talked about being this year's Record Store Day ambassadors. The show also features new releases by French electro duo Telepopmusik, Brighton rockers Porridge Radio and legendary Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker's new(ish) band Jarv Is.



Indonesia's tin miners who slave away for the world's computer and phone giants

On the Indonesian island of Bangka, men dig tirelessly at the face of a giant mine. They're searching for tin, a metal worth as much as gold to them. The island supplies a quarter of global production, fulfilling the vast needs of computer and mobile phone giants. Located east of Sumatra, Bangka was once an island paradise but has now become one gigantic surface mine. Official mining companies rub shoulders with thousands of illegal miners, risking their lives in the hope of a lucky break. It's also an environmental catastrophe, with lagoons now devoid of marine life.  

Tin Miners
Tin Miners © screen grab



The onset of a snowy winter in the French Alps

High up in the French Alps, just a few kilometres from the Italian border, winter is taking grip. Tourists glide down the slopes, while locals hunker down in their remote hamlets for the long and cold months to come. Those who choose to live here love these mountains despite the icy winters and relative isolation. We get a glimpse of life for them in this snowy landscape.

You Are Here
You Are Here © screen grab


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