France bolsters role of arts in society with ambitious cultural aid package

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday called for a 12-month extension to France's special unemployment benefits for actors, performers, musicians and technicians, a scheme designed to protect them in the downtime between jobs. The generous scheme helps sustain an industry that employs 1.3 million people across France — many of whom have been put out of work by the pandemic, which has forced the closure of museums and the postponement of major events.