Week in Review: Thomas Pesquet on riding a Dragon, fashion as antidote and Keith Urban reflects
This week FRANCE 24 talked to astronaut Thomas Pesquet about getting ready to ride the SpaceX Dragon 2 and musician Keith Urban on his latest release, "The Speed of Now". We also explored Egyptian singer Umm Kulthoum's legacy of stirring up passions, the plight of French midwives and an unusual Hajj for the lucky few, downsized amid the coronavirus pandemic.
France's famous outdoor café culture may be set to take a hit when a ban on heaters at outdoor terraces takes effect in early 2021 as part of a push towards a greener economy.
A Frenchwoman who became a cause célèbre for those fighting domestic violence has died at the age of 72. Jacqueline Sauvage was convicted in 2012 for killing her husband after she and her family endured decades of abuse but was subsequently pardoned by then president François Hollande.
France's controversial new Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin prompted fresh anger this week when he said accusations of police brutality made him "choke", echoing the words of a man who died January 5 after being pinned to the ground by French police while repeatedly pleading: "I am choking."
Although they were on the front lines throughout the peak of the Covid-19 epidemic, midwives feel forgotten by the healthcare reforms France adopted in the wake of its coronavirus crisis.
There is perhaps no modern Egyptian cultural treasure more beloved than Umm Kulthoum. Anyone who has visited the Arab world has likely heard the moving tones of her distinct, resonant voice. The Israeli town of Haifa recently moved to honour her legacy – and stirred up controversy in the process.
From the expansion of the Umayyad Empire in the seventh century until the fall of the Ottomans in the early 20th century, Muslim artists produced a stream of masterpieces that circulated across the globe – adorning places of worship, royal courts and the grand residences of the nobility.
French cinemas reopened on June 22 with a certain pomp after a three-month coronavirus hiatus. At least one Paris movie house, Les 5 Caumartin, had eager moviegoers lined up for that much-anticipated reawakening with a screening a minute after midnight. But a month later, cinemas in the birthplace of the medium are feeling the effects as a global industry remains in slumber.
Fear of the coronavirus coupled with travel restrictions have made foreign tourists a rare sight in Paris. Instead it's the French who are converging on the city to re-discover their capital. But the French have tighter purse strings than US or Asian tourists, and they are not spending enough to compensate for the loss of tourism revenue.
Muslim pilgrims began arriving at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage on Wednesday. But amid the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Hajj has been dramatically downsized.
NASA’s Perseverance rover began its journey to Mars on Thursday with a successful launch from Florida’s Cape Canaveral. The ambitious mission will be NASA’s first to look for signs of past life on Mars and follows China’s own rover mission to the red planet earlier this month.
In an interview with FRANCE 24, leading Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Nathan Law vowed to pursue his fight from his new base in the UK. While he conceded that the Hong Kong pro-democracy activists facing off against Beijing was a "David versus Goliath" scenario, he held out hope that his side would prevail with help from other countries.
French astronaut Thomas Pesquet will be the first European to fly on board the new SpaceX Dragon 2, which is due to blast off from Cape Canaveral for the International Space Station in the spring of 2021. Pesquet already spent six months on board the ISS from November 2016 to June 2017. He spoke to FRANCE 24 about training for his return to space, why his new mission is called "Alpha" and why he thinks a manned mission to Mars will happen within his lifetime.
The multi Grammy award-winning musician catches up with us in an existential mood, reflecting on the nature of time as he releases his latest album, "The Speed of Now". We talk about the artistic paralysis he felt at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, and how living in the moment is a cure for all sorts of ills. Urban tells us about starting out in Nashville as a country singer with an Aussie accent, and how different musical styles have always made their way into his sound.
TV critic Dheepthika Laurent and Clovis Casali look at new releases ahead of the European summer. They discuss the harrowing asylum seeker detention drama "Stateless", co-produced by Cate Blanchett, plus "P-Valley", a drama about strippers in the heart of the African American community in the US. They also chat about shows from NBC’s new streaming platform "Peacock", including a modern adaptation of "Brave New World". Finally, they look at Netflix's breezy new dating reality shows!
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to claim victims around the world, many countries have made face masks compulsory in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus. But throughout the history of medicine, the use of the mask has long been controversial. How did it come to be a symbol of civic responsibility and public health? We take a look at the history of masks through the ages.
Our reporter Pascal Mourier also teaches communication sciences at a number of fashion schools. During France's unprecedented eight weeks of lockdown, he asked his students to write and produce a fashion film from the confines of their own homes. The project: to use only the materials immediately available to tell the story of a character's interaction with an item of clothing. We take a look at some of the offerings.
THE 51 PERCENT
In many architectural schools across the world, women make up the majority of students. Yet why are so many buildings in cities and towns still being designed by men? In a special edition of 'The 51 Percent', we ask what will it take to construct a more balanced approach in the world of architecture. Our reporters visit a neighbourhood in Vienna that has become a research experiment to test ideas of equality in design. Annette Young also talks to Brigitte Métra, one of France's leading female architects.
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