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WEEK IN REVIEW

Week in Review: Thomas Pesquet on riding a Dragon, fashion as antidote and Keith Urban reflects

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet; 'Réminiscence' fashion film by Isia Campos, Ghalia Kriaa; and Musician Keith Urban.
French astronaut Thomas Pesquet; 'Réminiscence' fashion film by Isia Campos, Ghalia Kriaa; and Musician Keith Urban. © FRANCE 24 screen grabs
7 min

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.

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ARTICLES

France to ban heaters at outdoor cafés and restaurants

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.

French woman pardoned for killing her husband after years of domestic abuse dies at 72

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.

After choking incidents, French minister sparks anger by saying claims of police brutality make him 'choke'

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."

A pregnant patient awaits care at the Maison de Santé du Pré-Saint-Gervais health centre northeast of Paris on July 25, 2020.
A pregnant patient awaits care at the Maison de Santé du Pré-Saint-Gervais health centre northeast of Paris on July 25, 2020. © Sarah Leduc / France 24

France’s post-Covid healthcare reform pushes midwives to the brink

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.   

Decision to honour legendary Egyptian singer in Israel angers right wing

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 Umayyad Empire to the Ottomans, the masterpieces of Islamic art

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 look to stay afloat amid Covid-19 drought of Hollywood blockbusters

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.

People attend the screening of the French movie "Le Grand Bain" in La Villette basin on the first day of the "Paris-Plages" event on July 18, 2020, in Paris.
People attend the screening of the French movie "Le Grand Bain" in La Villette basin on the first day of the "Paris-Plages" event on July 18, 2020, in Paris. © Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt, AFP

 

VIDEO REPORTS

As French tourists discover Paris, local restaurants discover a demanding clientele

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.

Covid-19: Downsized Hajj begins for lucky few pilgrims

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.

Pilgrims at the Grand Mosque, Mecca, on July 29, 2020.
Pilgrims at the Grand Mosque, Mecca, on July 29, 2020. © AFP / FRANCE 24

NASA looks for life on Mars and the lead in space race with China

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.

United Launch Alliance Atlas V transporting the Rover Perseverance Mars 2020 at Cape Canveral on July 30, 2020.
United Launch Alliance Atlas V transporting the Rover Perseverance Mars 2020 at Cape Canveral on July 30, 2020. © Joe Skipper, Reuters

THE INTERVIEW

Hong Kong activist Nathan Law: 'Whenever there is repression, there is resistance'

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 talks to FRANCE 24.
French astronaut Thomas Pesquet talks to FRANCE 24. © France 24

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet: 'I couldn't be more excited to go back into space'

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.

ENCORE!

Keith Urban on travelling at the 'Speed of Now'

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.

ENCORE!
ENCORE! © FRANCE 24

TV series show: Australian refugee drama 'Stateless' and female-directed stripper drama 'P-Valley'

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!

Asylum-seeker detention drama "Stateless"
Asylum-seeker detention drama "Stateless" © Netflix/FRANCE 24

FOCUS

A brief history of masks through the ages

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.

FOCUS
FOCUS © FRANCE 24

FASHION

Fashion films: An antidote to lockdown uncertainty

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

From the ground up: Women in architecture

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.

Architect Brigitte Métra on site.
Architect Brigitte Métra on site. © FRANCE 24

 

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