Fillon Wins French Republicans 2017 Presidential Nomination

Former Prime Minister Francois Fillon was chosen as the French Republicans prospect for next years governmental election, as citizens on the ideal selected a figure appealing difficult financial reforms and unabashedly accepting standard worths to lead their celebration back to power.

With about half the vote counted and Fillon leading by nearly 40 portion points, his competing Alain Juppe called and yielded on his fans to rally behind the winner. Fillon led by 67 percent to 33 percent with practically all the ballot stations having actually reported.

The outcome marks completion of months of marketing in the Republicans first-ever main contest and finishes the opening stage of a governmental race that will end next May. Fillon was running a far-off 3rd for the majority of the contest till his upset first-place surface versus 6 other prospects one week earlier. He will now end up being the primary competitor for Marine Le Pens anti-immigration, anti-euro platform in next springs election.

My project has actually been comprehended: France will not stand for its decrease, Fillon stated. My aspiration is to raise the country to be the very best variation of itself.

Whoever wins workplace next May will take control of a nation where development and work lag European averages and where terrorists have actually eliminated more than 200 individuals in less than 2 years, stiring spiritual stress and setting off soul-searching about Frances nationwide identity. Issue about the nationwide financial obligation, which stands at about 97 percent of financial output, was the leading inspiration behind those supporting Fillon, inning accordance with Jean-Daniel Levy, a pollster at Harris Interactive in Paris.

Social Conservative

Fillon, among the unusual French political leaders who announces his adoration for Margaret Thatcher, wishes to extend the work week to 39 hours from 35, to increase the retirement age to 65 and include migration quotas. He has actually promised to get rid of half a million public-sector tasks and cut costs by 100 billion euros ($106 billion) over 5 years in workplace. Hes likewise proposing a 40 billion-euro tax-cut for business and a constitutional restriction on scheduled deficit spending.

The 62-year-old previous premier has actually likewise made obvious of his conventional social mores. In project speeches he broaches the household as the structure of society, requires school kids to use uniforms and desires history taught traditionally without doubts raised about nationwide heroes. Is personally opposed to abortion, he has actually consistently voted to offer access to the treatment and assures not to touch the law in that location.

Those views might assist Fillon make inroads versus Le Pen, who up until Sunday has regularly lead surveys of voting objectives for the preliminary of the governmental election. 2 surveys launched after the outcome of the main revealed the Republican winning both rounds of the governmental election. Odoxa revealed Fillon winning the preliminary by 10 points from Le Pen and after that trouncing her 71 percent to 20 percent in the overflow.

With the Republican prospect in location, attention will now reverse to the judgment Socialist Party and the future of Francois Hollande, the least popular French president in half a century. Prime Minister Manuel Valls stated in an interview released Sunday that he might look for the Socialist candidateship, despite the fact that his manager is still considering his own quote for a 2nd term.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com//news/articles/2016-11-27/francois-fillon-wins-french-republican-presidential-nomination

Spanish Millennials Spurn Owning Homes as They Shift to Rentals

Spains enjoy affair with own a home is beginning to fade.

Having experienced the crisis in the countrys residential or commercial property market at the height of the European monetary crisis, more young Spaniards are turning their backs on their moms and dads imagine owning a house. The emerging pattern is leading Merlin Properties Socimi SA to wager it can surpass Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Blackstone Group LP in the rental market. Spains most significant realty financial investment trust is preparing to practically double the systems it has for lease by the end of the year, Chief Executive Officer Ismael Clemente stated in an interview.

Ismael
Ismael Clemente
Source: Merlin Properties Socimi SA

Young Spaniards today do not have a culture of ownership– they not see leasing as a bad thing, he stated.

The property crash and resultant bank bailout stimulated lots of millennials to question the gotten knowledge that a Spaniards home is not simply a house however likewise a sanctuary for cost savings. The crisis sent out joblessness skyrocketing, removing away the financial certainties of a safe task and earnings and the ruthless increase in residential or commercial property costs that had actually underpinned the nations enthusiasm for own a home.

The principle of owning a house in Spain was practically spiritual, however thats altered for a whole generation of youths who have actually seen individuals losing their houses, rates losing and dropping access to credit, stated Fernando Encinar, co-founder and head of research study at Idealista SA, which runs an online platform to purchase and lease houses. That has actually made leasing a more appealing choice, specifically in huge cities such as Madrid and Barcelona.

Credit Explosion

Spains adoption of the euro in 2002 owned down long-lasting rates of interest to power a rise in home mortgage loaning that leapt more than fourfold from 2000 to its 2010 peak. The top of its residential or commercial property boom saw Spain constructing more homes than Germany, France and the U.K. integrated, and home rates skyrocketed in tandem with the credit surge. After increasing 71 percent in between 2003 and 2008, when house rates peaked, they then plunged 31 percent prior to beginning a sluggish healing in late 2014.

The variety of houses noted for lease has actually increased from 9 percent of the overall variety of offered houses in huge cities in 2000 to as much as 25 percent in 2015, inning accordance with Idealista. The percentage of Spaniards leasing a house has actually increased to 22 percent from 19 percent in 2007, inning accordance with information from Eurostat, the European Unions stats workplace.

That compares to a European Union average of 30 percent. However, own a home continues to control with 78 percent of Spaniards explaining themselves as owners. Thats a little below 81 percent in 2007 however above the EU average of about 70 percent.

No-Brainer

For Guillermo Garcia, a 26-year-old dining establishment business owner, the choice to lease rather of purchasing a three-bedroom house in main Madrid was a no-brainer.

Owning a home is not an indication of success, he stated. I do not need to live like my moms and dads did. I do not wish to sign away my life like that.

For Merlin, the increasing appeal of leasings represents a service chance.

Until now, there has actually been no expert property manager in Spain and the quality of the rental sector has actually been extremely bad, Clemente stated in the interview.

As part of Merlins company mix with Metrovacesa SA revealed in June, the 2 will likewise combine their portfolios of rental apartment or condos. Merlin and the previous investors of Metrovacesa will integrate the homes and include more houses to develop a property manager with 10,000 leased houses, overshadowing the 6,000 systems owned by Blackstone in Madrid and the near to 5,000 houses owned by Goldman Sachs.

Clemente, who wishes to list or offer its domestic system– Testa Residencial– within 3 years, sees the switch to leasing as part of a broader generational modification thats likewise underway in his own house.

My kids do not have a culture of ownership, he stated. They lease their mobile handsets from Telefonica, they pay attention to music on Spotify and they merely not see leasing as a bad thing.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-29/spanish-millennials-spurn-owning-homes-as-they-shift-to-rentals

The saddest thing about the England-USA rivalry? For most Americans it doesn’t exist

Alex Morgans celebration aside, Jill Elliss team smothered Englands passion and spirit with the most hurtful sentiment of all: indifference

In the hyped-up build-up, the fine margins that decided the match and the most condescending cup of tea in history, we might detect the ingredients for an enduring rivalry between the US and England.

But that would require a similar level of emotional investment on both sides of the Atlantic, and the Americans are beyond the kind of enmities that drive narratives. Jill Elliss team smothered Englands passion and spirit with the most hurtful sentiment of all: indifference. Its not that the US didnt enjoy their victory, but you get the impression theyd have been just as happy to beat Germany, Australia or Paraguay.

The USs record under Ellis now stands at: played 126, won 101, lost seven. Do they even have a true rival? Previously, you could have argued for Canada; but given that the all-time head-to-head record is 49 American wins and three losses, its more through familiarity and geographic proximity than any intrigue about what might happen on the pitch. At this point, the USs biggest foes are probably their own tight-fisted federation, or the president of their country.

The 2-1 US win in the semi-final in Lyon called to mind the scene on the Death Star before it vaporises a planet. Down on the surface its a hive of nervous energy and excitement as the tenacious underdogs scramble to mount their makeshift defences and gutsy counter-attacks. Up in the command centre, the view is calm and orderly as the workers carry out their instructions by rote, flicking a few switches to activate the superlaser. For the rebels, its the defining battle of their lives. For the empire, its just Tuesday.

England dipped into derangement after Steph Houghtons penalty was saved, with Millie Bright sent off and Demi Stokes dropping the ball to concede a foul throw, while the US shepherded out the match with inevitable efficiency; doing just enough, as in the quarter-final against France.

The British media tried its best to provoke some conflict after the pre-game revelation that a couple of US staffers were found in Englands hotel, touring it as an option ahead of the final. Investigating the location of the breakfast buffet and the price of a 500ml bottle of Evian from the mini-bar was shaped into a spy scandal, as if Phil Neville might have accidentally left START RACHEL DALY OUT WIDE scrawled on the whiteboard in the Fourvire Hotels meeting room.

Tuesdays semi-final would be a grudge match, declared the Daily Star; England fury at World Cup Spygate row: Manager Phil Neville in war of words with the US, roared the Daily Mail. While England were planting a St Georges Cross on the moral high ground and fussing over why the Americans couldnt just read the reviews on TripAdvisor, the US simply went about their business before and during the match, paying due deference to the oppositions threat but not reserving any singular treatment for Nevilles team, save for a taunt.

Alex Morgan clearly likes her tea served ice-cold. (Although someone should tell her that we increasingly prefer coffee these days.) Her Lyon Tea Party celebration was the most withering put-down since the exchange between the characters Martin and Bob, a school bully, when they meet again as adults in the 1997 film, Grosse Point Blank: Do you really believe that theres some stored-up conflict that exists between us? There is no us. We dont exist. Having said that, the US annoying England with their celebrations wasnt anything personal: they reserved the same treatment for Thailand and Chile.

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‘VAR sucks’: England and US fans react after dramatic World Cup semi-final video

I dont think theres anything special about the England match-up in particular on the womens side everyone elses biggest game is against us, one American friend told me before the game. With the women, were the imperialist juggernaut that everyone wants to knock down.

No added edge, said another. The US is a cut above everyone and the arrogance of the team, fans and media show it. Its the opposite to the men. In the moments after the US sealed their quarter-final against France, Megan Rapinoe admitted she didnt even know that England were up next.

In the mens game, English encounters with the US are freighted with a strange tension: a superiority complex masking deep-rooted anxiety, because if America ever overtakes us in football, then what, as a country, do we have left? Theyre even staging sold-out baseball games in a London football stadium during the Cricket World Cup!

That dynamic is absent in the womens game, given the USs long-held supremacy and Englands more recent strides. Still, there is something about the nations psyche that craves American attention and respect – the UK, after all, is a country willing to spend 18m of taxpayers money so that Donald Trump could play golf in Scotland and visit Windsor Castle, in the same year it closed about 130 public libraries.

And what do we get in return? Perhaps a few crates of value-priced chlorinated chicken after 31 October, and a deserved defeat where there was more talk Stateside about a player who didnt even take the field – Megan Rapinoe – than about anything the England team did.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

Poisoned by their homes: how the US is failing children exposed to lead

Hundreds of thousands of children in the US remain at risk of exposure to lead, which causes cognitive and behavioral deficits

Antoinette Catholdi-Dow, a 30-year-old mother of two, first started noticing little bite marks on the window sills in 2015, when her son was about two and a half years old.

The window sills were the perfect height to help her toddler pull himself up to stand and walk. Eventually, Catholdi-Dow would enter the room and catch her son nibbling along their edges.

By this point, her son had already been diagnosed with both autism and pica, which is an eating disorder that causes a person to crave and eat non-food items.

After a few months of this behavior, her mother-in-law suggested a call to the pediatricians office to check his blood for lead, just to be safe. Catholdi-Dow, of Attleboro, Massachusetts, initially dismissed her concerns, but began doing research on the internet about how lead, a neurotoxin, can cause behavioral and developmental problems even at low levels. She also read that old homes, like the one where they lived, could have lead-based paint that poses a hazard to young children when it starts to deteriorate.

Toxic America

But when she called her pediatricians office with her concerns, she was at first gently rebuffed.

They were worried that insurance wouldnt cover it until his three-year [appointment], Catholdi-Dow said. But because I had a reason to believe that it could possibly be lead poisoned at the time, they ended up going ahead and doing it for me.

When Catholdi-Dows son had his first blood lead test, the results came back at 24 micrograms per one-tenth litre of blood almost five times higher than the reference point the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses to recommend a lead intervention.

More comprehensive tests to confirm lead exposure found that her sons lead levels had actually reached 49 micrograms per one-tenth liter of blood (49 g/dL) almost 10 times higher than the CDCs intervention threshold. He was immediately hospitalized at Boston childrens hospital.

In the meantime, a lead abatement team also visited their home, which had been in her husbands family for three generations. They found lead hotspots on the door frames, window sills, and in her sons bedroom closet.

My husbands family had grown up in the house, so I didnt even think twice about it being safe or not safe, Catholdi-Dow said.

Antoinette
Antoinette Catholdi-Dows children play. Photograph: Antoinette Catholdi-Dow

Generations

Catholdi-Dow, like many other Americans, likely assumed that lead was a hazard that endangered only previous generations. After all, the federal government had begun reducing lead in gasoline in 1972 and banned its use in paint for homes in 1978.

Making things more confusing is that the history of the rise of lead in American manufacturing, as well as its eventual phase out, is often framed as a public health victory already won.

But this national narrative obscures a horrifying truth about lead, which is that sudden mass exposure can happen anywhere, anytime as it did in Flint, Michigan when improperly treated water began corroding lead pipes and releasing harmful chemicals into the tap water in 2014. And due to a complex mix of factors including the various competing pressures on physicians and weak regulations about how to report this data, there is no federal system that can quickly identify lead exposure emergencies as they happen.

Dr
Dr Mona Hanna-Attisha. Photograph: Doug Pike/Hurley Medical Center

When it comes to lead exposure in America, we still dont have a clear picture of how many children are being exposed to the neurotoxin and where they are. This leaves hundreds of thousands of children vulnerable to the dangers of lead, and compounds inequality in the form of cognitive and behavioral deficits that can hamper communities for generations.

Experts say that its possible to eradicate lead from American infrastructure, but that we dont prioritize it.

We are currently doing things backwards [by] using childrens blood as detectors of environmental contamination, said Dr Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who famously uncovered elevated levels of lead in her pediatric patients and linked it to a new water source in Flint, Michigan. The screening that needs to happen is in the environment before children are ever exposed.

Why lead is so dangerous

Lead is a naturally occuring heavy metal valued for both its affordability and malleability. People have used lead to make cosmetics, drinking and eating vessels, aqueducts and more since the days of Ancient Rome (the word plumbing comes from the Latin word for lead, plumbum).

People from the ancient world also knew that coming into direct contact with large amounts of lead was harmful, and linked to forgetfulness, melancholy and insanity. But this didnt stop manufacturers in America and other countries from using lead compounds in pipes, paint, food cans and gasoline at the turn of the 20th century.

All of these industrial uses put lead particles in the air, in homes and in food and water. In Europe, France, Belgium and Austria were among the first countries to ban it in interior paints in 1909.

By 1924, independent American scientists understood that lead in gasoline posed a lethal hazard to the workers making gas, as well as a more subtle but chronic danger for people breathing in car exhaust and factory emissions.

But it wasnt until the early 1970s that Congress overcame intense industry opposition and began slowly banning the use of lead-based paint in federal housing, removing lead from gasoline and setting limits on the element in drinking water. It was a long process; lead wasnt completely banned from gasoline until 1996.

The US is still grappling with how to remove lingering lead from the environment. Last Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized new regulations that would drastically cut the levels of acceptable lead in dust in public housing, hospitals and schools built before 1978.

By 1976, the blood lead level of the average American child between one to five years old was estimated at 15 micrograms per one-tenth litre of blood , or what is now three times the CDCs current intervention threshold.

The impact of lead

Scientists would eventually discover that lead exposure during childhood can destroy brain cells, disrupt communication between neurons and shrink the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that helps with complex decision making, emotion and aggression regulation and impulse control.

Nationally, chronic lead exposure in the US has been linked to everything from a significant loss of IQ points to a rise in violent crime to billions of dollars lost in future earnings and tax revenue. There is no safe level of lead, and its effects are irreversible. The only treatment that doctors have at their disposal, chelation, is not used except in extreme poisoning cases.

Young American children nowadays have an average blood lead level of about one microgram per one-tenth liter of blood (1 g/dL). We know this because every year, a small but representative sample of about 5,000 Americans are picked randomly to answer surveys and undergo physical exams that will give health officials an overall picture of the nations health including how much lead is in peoples blood. This sample is known as the CDCs National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

But this national average tells a deceptive story about the risks that environmental lead still pose to children.

States which reported children’s levels of lead in their blood.

The CDC estimates that there are more than half a million children in the US like Catholdi-Dows son who have blood lead levels at or above the CDCs reference value for intervention. They are concentrated mostly in low-income communities throughout the country because they are the ones who are most likely to live in substandard housing. An estimated 23m housing units in the US have at least one lead-based paint hazard 3.6m of which are homes for children under six years old.

Making matters even worse is that the US does not have a robust surveillance system that can find these at-risk children and track potential emergencies like the 2014 one in Flint, Michigan, said Eric Roberts, a research scientist specializing in lead exposure at Public Health Institute, a not-for-profit health research organization.

Indeed, the Flint, Michigan lead exposure crisis was uncovered by concerned citizens, local pediatricians like Hanna-Attisha and independent scientists.

A
A volunteer distributes water at a church in Flint, Michigan, in 2017. Photograph: Terray Sylvester/AP

This is because not all states require pediatricians to measure blood lead levels in children or report them to county or state health departments. These results, in turn, may or may not get reported to the CDC. That means that the CDCs most up-to-date local data cant be used to identify short-term trends or make generalizations about childhood lead exposure at the local, state or national level.

It took a 2016 Reuters investigation to identify and map out more than 3,800 neighborhoods throughout the US with lead exposure rates double those found in Flint, Michigan, after their water became contaminated. Reuters maps are based on local public health data that had not been published.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services require all children enrolled in Medicaid be tested for lead at ages one and two years old. But this kind of universal screening has never been achieved.

In fact, Roberts estimates that less than 20% of all young children are tested for lead, no matter what kind of insurance they have, and this screening only identifies about 60% of children with elevated blood lead levels in the US. This estimate, which is the only comprehensive analysis on the subject, is based on numbers from the previous decade.

I know that in the public health establishment were very pious about our belief that lead exposure is bad and protecting kids is good, Roberts said. But I dont see us making an honest effort to make sure that all the kids are lead free.

What would it cost to rid the US of lead hazards permanently?

If the US is serious about bringing down blood lead levels, officials need to both strengthen blood testing regulations and set their sights on remediating lead in homes, water infrastructure and soil, public health officials and advocates say.

Well never medically test our way out of this, said David Jacobs, chief scientist at the National Center for Healthy Housing and a former director in charge of lead hazard control at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Weve got to test the houses, not only the children who have already been exposed.

The CDC also agrees that getting rid of lead in the environment is the best way to prevent lead exposure.

Primary prevention the removal of lead hazards from the environment before a child is exposed is the most effective way to ensure that children do not experience harmful long-term effects of lead exposure, said Dr Adrienne Ettinger, chief of the CDC Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.

An
An abandoned home in Cleveland, Ohio, where public health activists and city officials are seeking solutions to reduce lead exposure from paint in some older homes in the rental market. Photograph: Paul Sobota/The Guardian

The issue is cost about $400bn over a 10-year period, according to a calculation by Voxs Matt Yglesias.

But the investment is worth it. Removing leaded drinking water lines, remediating lead paint hazards, eliminating lead from plane fuel and other eradication efforts to protect just the children born in 2018 alone could result in as much as $84bn in future benefits, according to a 2017 analysis from the Pew Charitable Trusts. This money would be in the form of increased revenue and savings to the healthcare, education and criminal justice systems. While the report didnt put a figure on the total cost of these repairs, it estimated that it would cost $2bn to replace lead service lines and $18.7bn to deal with lead paint hazards in homes for the 2018 babies.

The federal government is the obvious main funder for this kind of initiative, but Jacobs says that the money should also come from private sources specifically, the paint and gasoline companies that put all the lead in the environment in the first place. Companies who caused this problem have to be part of the solution, Jacobs said. Everyone else has paid for it except them.

Lawsuits

This concept has antecedents in settlements like the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, which set up a perpetual pot of money funded by Americas largest cigarette companies to help states pay for tobacco-related healthcare.

California is the first state to pursue and win this kind of judgment against former lead paint manufacturers. In 2017, the California court of appeals upheld the Santa Clara county superior court decision to hold Sherwin-Williams Company, NL Industries, Inc, and ConAgra Grocery Products responsible for finding and remediating homes with lead paint hazards built before 1951. The US supreme court declined to hear the paint manufacturers appeal, and the lead abatement fund is now set at $409m, according to the county of Santa Clara.

While this may seem like a lot of money, its nothing compared to what paint companies might have to pay if more jurisdictions begin allowing people with documented lead poisoning to pursue these lawsuits individually.

In May, a federal jury awarded three Milwaukee men $2m each for lead paint poisoning they suffered as toddlers, to be paid by the paint companies Sherwin-Williams, Armstrong Container Corp and DuPont. The verdict is the first of its kind, and the plaintiffs lawyer told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he hopes that the decision is just the beginning of a wave of lawsuits.

In Cleveland, Ohio, city officials are under renewed pressure to reduce high levels of lead exposure in homes, particularly in its almost 50,000 one- or two-unit rental homes, where a majority of children who are poisoned live, because of grassroots advocacy on the issue.

Educating landlords, contractors, parents

After Catholdi-Dows son was hospitalized, he endured six months of chelation therapy, which involved swallowing a medicine that both tastes and smells like rotten eggs twice a day.

Catholdi-Dows
Catholdi-Dows son enjoying arcade games. Photograph: Antoinette Catholdi-Dow

He is now six years old, and his blood lead levels have decreased significantly. When he entered elementary school, Catholdi-Dow struggled with whether or not to disclose his former diagnosis and current blood lead level, which is now at 12 microgram per one-tenth liter of blood (g/dL).

I was very nervous to share it with his teachers because I didnt want him to be written off as someone who had brain damage and wouldnt be able to learn, she said.

Catholdi-Dow knows that the effects of acute lead exposure will become more obvious as he gets older, when school becomes more demanding. Currently, her son is mostly non-verbal unless hes repeating songs or TV shows that he likes. And while its difficult to disentangle the effects of lead poisoning from his autism diagnosis, she and his doctors feel that his hyperactivity may be one consequence of the exposure.

Thankfully, Catholdi-Dow has nothing but praise for the teachers at her sons school. His special education class maintains a one-to-one ratio of teachers to students, and she says that his teachers see his potential and teach to his strengths.

Another thing shes thankful for: her youngest child, a daughter one year younger than her son, has no detectable lead in her blood. Were very lucky that it wasnt a dust situation, and [the lead exposure] was more from him biting.

Because of everything she and her family have experienced, Catholdi-Dow decided to join the Childhood Lead Action Project, a Rhode Island organization dedicated to eliminating lead exposure in children.

She helps educate landlords, contractors and parents about the potential hazards of both lead paint and lead paint removal. If not done correctly, power sanding, open flame burning and other paint removal techniques can actually produce lead dust, making the problem even worse.

Catholdi-Dow thinks one thing that could prevent lead exposure in future children would be to make lead testing and education a standard part of prenatal care and preparation for a new baby. And if youre buying a home, definitely get it checked for lead before purchasing it, especially if its a home built before 1978, she said.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

Paris wine thieves make off with bottles worth 400k-600k

Bottles stolen from cellar of Maison Rostang restaurant near Arc de Triumph

Thieves have broken into the cellar of a luxury restaurant in Paris and made off with at least 150 bottles of prized wine estimated to be worth hundreds of thousands of euros, a police source said.

Employees at the Maison Rostang restaurant in the north-eastern 17th arrondissement near the Arc de Triomphe discovered a 20in (50cm) hole in the wall of the wine cellar made during the break-in on Monday.

The restaurant has two stars from the prestigious Michelin food guide and is described as having a magnificent wine list, which includes bottles from the famed Petrus and Romanee-Conti vineyards.

The cellar was being renovated.

The police source said the stolen wine could be worth as much as 400,000-600,000.

In 2009, French police arrested a 44-year-old man on suspicion of having stolen more than 500 bottles of fine wine worth hundreds of thousands of euros from some of the best restaurants in Paris.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

UK must decide next step on Brexit, says Frances Europe minister

UK must decide next step on Brexit, says Frances Europe minister

Amlie de Montchalin says EU 27 countries are not putting pressure on Britain over Brexit

Frances minister for European affairs, Amlie de Montchalin, has said it is up to the UK to decide the next step on Brexit and no single European Union country was pressuring London, least of all France.

Asked to respond to a report that Boris Johnson, the Conservative leadership favourite, had called the French turds over Brexit, De Montchalin declined to comment, saying she was unfamiliar with the word.

The minister said Brexit was a British issue for the British to decide.

She told the Anglo-American Press Association in Paris: If the UK wants to leave the EU, and in an orderly way, the withdrawal agreement is the deal on the table, which has been negotiated for over two years. Weve also said that the political declaration on the future relationship is open to discussion if the prime minister had a majority.

De Montchalin said the key question was to move on as quickly as possible to think about the future relationship. What is important is how we work together on the future on issues that are economic, academic, cultural, social, defence and security what well do together, and well do a lot together, thats certain.

She said the EU 27 countries were united on Brexit.

Asked if France would back giving another extension to Britains leaving date beyond 31 October, De Montchalin said there would have to be a political element which showed that, if more time is given, something will be happening. She said for the last extension, which was given in the spring, this was after cross-party talks between Conservatives and Labour. For any future request, there would have to be a process in place. If its just the question wed like more time, the EU council is very clear on that: theres no reason for it without a new political scheme being put forward.

She said the advantage of the withdrawal agreement was that it included a transition period which allows us to discuss the future in a stabilised situation. If there was not an exit agreement, wed be discussing the future in a situation that wasnt stabilised.

She said many EU countries had made contingency preparations for a no-deal exit not because they want that but because there might be a possibility it could happen by accident.

The cost of uncertainty is high in the economy in general, in industry, in the financial sector, among fishermen on both sides of channel who dont know whats happening tomorrow, she said. I think there are a certain number of governments, who see the cost of that.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

Watching Notre Dame burn, the entire world was in pain

(CNN)The spire tumbling down in a blaze, the flames shooting out behind the familiar faade of Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of Paris, made our throats close in anguish. French President Emmanuel Macron said his thoughts were with “all Catholics and all French people,” but in fact, it felt like the entire world was in pain watching the 800-year-old building turn into a blazing inferno, on its way to becoming ashes and stones.

When the Notre Dame spokesman said “everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame,” it felt like a stab in our collective soul.
In a time of inflamed political, religious and sectarian divisions, somehow, a fire in a Catholic church, a cathedral in France, managed to melt away the animosity — if only for a moment — and bring people together in shared sorrow. Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jew, or atheist; in France, India, Argentina, everywhere, Notre Dame’s doom brought personal pain.
    How can the demise of a building, technically a religious structure, pack such a powerful impact?
    The conflagration brought a feeling of helplessness and foreboding — reminiscent of the devastation on 9/11, in some ways, and perhaps that was part of the effect for some people: the sense — real or imagined — that we were watching a metaphor, a prelude, a warning.

      Notre Dame is more than just a church, it has worldwide significance

    Or course, the outrage most of the world experienced on 9/11 required no interpretation: terrorists had deliberately massacred thousands. The sorrow was not over the loss of the buildings; it was clearly justified by the intentional atrocity.
    And in that way, Notre Dame was different.
    The massive, majestic cathedral looked like it had been there forever, and would remain until the end of time. If only for a moment, Notre Dame ablaze reminded us that we all share this world; that human history means everyone’s past. If only for a moment, the notion of a “World Heritage,” which UNESCO formally bestows on places that we, as humanity, ought to care for and cherish so that we can pass them to future generations, seemed exactly right. We all hurt over the loss of Notre Dame.
    The French feel the loss most acutely. Notre Dame, “Our Lady,” was theirs. But it was everyone’s, no matter our religion or nationality. Over 800 years Notre Dame stood there, witnessing and participating in history. It was under its soaring vault, in 1804, that Napoleon crowned himself emperor and then crowned his beloved Josephine. Unlike previous rulers, he didn’t let the Pope place the crown. In that church, he proclaimed he didn’t need the Church’s approval. It was in Notre Dame that 15-year-old Mary Queen of Scots married the 14-year-old French dauphin, Francis, in 1558. It was Notre Dame that inspired Victor Hugo to give us, all of us, his immortal Hunchback of Notre Dame.
    That is French history, but it is also ours.

      Witness: We watched ‘in silent shock’ as Notre Dame burned

    Notre Dame survived World Wars I and II, only to burn in our tumultuous times. Is it a coincidence? A mere accident? We don’t know what started the fire. It’s possible, and we are told likely, that it was restoration work that triggered the disaster.
    But the pangs we felt watching the flames consume the ancient beams, threaten the mystical rose windows, destroy the irreplaceable pipe organ, brought to mind recent man-made tragedies on French soil: the truck attack in Nice, the Bataclan massacre; not because this might have been another terrorist attack, but because our times feel so fraught, as if through our animosity and divisions we are destroying the foundations of civilization.
    France has become the site of a series of church desecration and arson attacks, and of a terrifying spike in antisemitic attacks, including desecration of Jewish sites, harassment, and murder of Jews.

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      Not surprisingly, it didn’t take long for the divisions to resurface around this new tragedy; the conspiracy theories, the blaming without evidence. Before long, there will be a political reckoning.
      But for a time, the flaming Notre Dame Cathedral brought the world together in shared sorrow. For just a moment, we felt history belonged to all of us, and we mourned our common loss.

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      Categories CNN

      France’s ‘yellow vest’ protesters detained and tear-gassed

      Paris (CNN)French police clashed Saturday in Paris with protesters staging a fourth weekend of “gilets jaunes,” or “yellow vest,” demonstrations against the government of President Emmanuel Macron.

      Officers fired rubber bullets and hundreds of canisters of tear gas at the demonstrators, some of whom had set vehicles on fire.
      Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said 135 people were wounded in Saturday’s protests across France.
        According to a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, 1,723 people were taken in for questioning and 1,220 were taken into custody.
        Two photographers from the newspaper Le Parisien were hit by projectiles. One was taken to hospital as dusk drew near in a city still in shock from last weekend’s riots — the worst to hit the French capital in decades.
        One Parisian, teacher Francesca Testi, tweeted a video of protesters smashing up what appeared to be a cafe.
        A French radio reporter, Boris Kharlamoff, tweeted a photo of his wounded torso after a rubber bullet hit him.
        “A policeman shot at me with a rubber bullet even though my press arm band was showing,” he wrote. “It hurts but it’s all right. Colleagues be careful on the Champs-Élysées.”
        Protesters could be heard calling for Macron’s resignation Saturday in Paris.
        Macron will address the demonstrations Monday, according to the Élysée Palace.
        Some 136,000 joined in Saturday’s protests across France, the interior minister said, with about 10,000 in Paris. The latter converged around midday on the Champs-Élysées, with many dressed in “gilets jaunes,” the yellow high-visibility jackets that have become the symbol of the movement.
        Police used water cannons in a bid to disperse the crowd.
        Tires were also set on fire. As protests turned violent toward the end of the day security forces deployed tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons.
        A smaller “yellow vest” demonstration of about 500 people also took place in the Belgian capital of Brussels near the European Parliament, according to the newspaper Le Soir.
        Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, President Donald Trump claimed the protests, which started in reaction to an eco-tax on gas,underscored his decision not to sign the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.
        “The Paris Agreement isn’t working out so well for Paris,” he tweeted. “Protests and riots all over France. People do not want to pay large sums of money, much to third world countries (that are questionably run), in order to maybe protect the environment. Chanting ‘We Want Trump!’ Love France.”
        CNN reporters on the ground said the only time they heard Trump mentioned was as a joke when they were recording.
        Earlier, TV images showed French protesters parading past the flagship stores of some of Paris’ best-known luxury brands such as Mont Blanc and Cartier, all with their shutters tightly fastened on what would usually be a busy shopping day before Christmas.
        Anticipating a repeat of last weekend’s violence, monuments such as the Eiffel Tower and many of the city’s Metro stations remained closed,with about 8,000 police on the streets of Paris and tens of thousands more deployed across the country.
        “We have to change the Republic,” Ilda, a yellow jacket protester from the south of France near Toulouse, told CNN. “People here are starving. Some people earn just 500 euros a month; you can’t afford to live. People don’t want to stop because we want the President to go.”
        Patrice, a pensioner from Paris, said he was protesting because of “the government and the taxes and all these problems. We have to survive.”
        With more unrest expected in other parts of France, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the government was deploying 89,000 security force members across the country.
        Philippe said that “it’s time for dialogue” between politicians and representatives of the protesters.
        The French retail sector has suffered a loss in revenue of about $1.1 billion since the beginning of the yellow vest protests last month, a spokeswoman for the French retail federation, Sophie Amoros, told CNN.
        Amid heightened tensions, police seized 28 petrol bombs and three homemade explosive devices Friday at an area blockaded by protesters in Montauban in southern France, a spokesman for the Tarn-et-Garonne prefecture told CNN.
        Dominique Moisi, a foreign policy expert at the Paris-based Institut Montaigne and a former Macron campaign adviser, told CNN the French presidency was not only in crisis but that Europe’s future also hung in the balance.
        “In a few months from now, there will be European elections, and France was supposed to be the carrier of hope and European progress. What happens if it’s no longer? If the President is incapacitated to carry that message?” Moisi asked.
        “It’s about the future of democracy, as well; illiberal democracies are rising all over the world. And if Macron fails, the future of France risks looking like the presidency of Italy today. And it’s much more serious because we have a centralized state, which plays a major role in the balance of power within Europe.
          “But make no mistake, it is a French version of a much more global phenomenon.”
          France’s far-left CGT movement has pledged support for the protests, which also are backed by the far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

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          Categories CNN

          Macron’s top-down approach to fighting climate change serves as a cautionary tale – Trending Stuff

          Macron’s top-down approach to fighting climate change serves as a cautionary tale – Trending Stuff

          (CNN)While world leaders gather in Katowice, Poland, for the COP24 climate summit, protesters in the streets of Paris have successfully forced French President Emmanuel Macron’s hand, undercutting his efforts to impose a carbon tax on French energy sales. Macron has made climate change and lowering greenhouse gases a central component of both his domestic and foreign policies, only to face dramatic failure at the hands of his “yellow vest” countrymen.

          Macron’s popularity has been low in France for months, and has now fallen to just a 23% approval rating. But the rioting across his country sends a frightening signal to politically powerful advocates seeking to save the planet from its predicted catastrophic 2 degree Celsius average temperature increase by midcentury.
          With the Trump administration having pulled out of the Paris COP21 agreement — which is the foundation of the current Katowice talks — and Macron paying such a significant price for his efforts, leaders of all political stripes must wonder how to effectively tackle climate change without facing uprisings, dissent and stock market downturns.

          The short answer: Do not follow Macron’s example. In imposing this tax, Macron took a top-down approach, not consulting the very people who would be most adversely affected by it: his fellow countrymen. He listened to economists and top French business leaders who, correctly, named taxation as one way to drive down fossil fuel use and decrease France’s carbon footprint.

          But the tax hit the nation’s poor and rural populations hard, forcing many to pit their energy needs against putting food on the family table. As a result, this protest, unlike other French uprisings, attracted individuals of varying political ideologies and from rural and urban environments alike.

          With Angela Merkel announcing plans to step down as German Chancellor, Macron is the last forceful voice for globalization and adherence to multinational solutions to tough problems like climate change. The Financial Times editorial board warned on December 3, “If this standard bearer for pro-European and liberal democratic values handles the current situation badly, it could fuel populism in France and across the continent.”

          But a day later Macron backed off from his so-called “green taxes,” and now his government, and its pursuit of climate solutions are in crisis. If Macron was serious about combating climate change, he would have engaged in a more grassroots process, engaging the French people in a serious dialogue about concrete steps they could take as a country — ensemble.

          Macron’s approach is hardly surprising. From the beginning, he has believed top-down government action and corporate policies are most effective in bringing about change by altering demand in the marketplace of greenhouse gas-producing products.

          As former political allies have turned away from globalization, and the Trump administration pulled the United States out of the COP21 process, Macron has trumpeted some of his environmental approaches most loudly in rooms full of CEOs.

          Two months before the yellow vest protests, at the One Planet Summit organized by Michael Bloomberg, the French leader excitedly spoke off-script about confronting climate change. Macron warned that the $100 billion companies there promised for climate action, “could be pure bulls–t.” Yet, he said, “there undoubtedly is a change in the philosophy of finance — it is a climate finance partnership. … This initiative must be at the very core of the global business model.”

          That model, Macron insisted, should aim at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, saving the world’s oceans and halting biodiversity loss. With France set to host the 2019 G7 Summit, Macron turned to the business leaders in New York’s posh Plaza Hotel and said, “This One Planet Club should be part of the G7. I want to put you at the center of the G7.”

          Macron’s eager absorption of corporate capitalism into the global governance of climate change now threatens to blow up in his face. It was never about democracy — how could it be? The world’s working poor have no seats in the boardrooms or on the stock markets, and no influence over Amazon’s carbon emissions schemes or the success of Tesla electric trucks.

          The Carbon Disclosure Project, or CDP Worldwide, tracks corporate and financial industry climate commitments, listing the promises. And Michael Bloomberg and Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney created the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, or TCFD, which also tracks, according to its website, “more than 275 companies, with a combined market capitalization of more than $6.6 trillion … and more than 160 financial firms — responsible for assets of over $86.2 trillion.”

          But these carbon reduction promises aren’t government treaties, and their commitments are self-reported. Simply put, the world community has no means to hold the corporations to account. So, when Walmart vows to remove 1 gigaton of CO2 from its emissions by 2030, or Blackrock CEO Larry Fink tells the summit audience that some of his company’s nearly $7 trillion in managed assets will be directed to 140 environment projects, or Mars Corp. promises to cut greenhouse gases by 27% by 2025, there is no way angry French farmers can discern the truthful outcome of such lofty aspirations.

          On the eve of the Katowice gathering, a group of CEOS, representing numerous sectors across 150 countries, wrote, “We stand ready to fast-track solutions to help you deliver on an enhanced and more ambitious action plan to tackle climate change and meet the goals set out at the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. We know this is possible.”

          That said, as 200 nations debate the future of the planet in Katowice over the coming days, Macron’s romance with billionaire climate investors — or, at least, promisers — forms a cautionary tale. There are real limits to the government go-arounds for action. On their own, corporations cannot impose carbon taxes, build sustainable transportation systems, balance the needs of rural and urban populations, relocate hundreds of millions of soon-to-be-underwater world’s citizens or regulate pollution.

          Like it or not, corporations need governments — locally, provincially and multinationally. And if those governments refuse to tackle the carbon dioxide crisis in a manner that garners popular support, company policies cannot serve as substitutes. The marketplace, locally or globally, cannot replace government action and regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.

          No matter what their diverse, in some cases reactionary, individual politics may be, the yellow vests have issued a battle cry that every politician — and all of the Katowice participants — must heed. The graffiti on the walls of Paris declares Macron is “president of the rich,” ominously warning, “We cut off heads for less than this.”

          It would be terrible, beyond all words, were the strategies for confronting climate change to be so ill-conceived and poorly executed that metaphoric guillotine-hungry mobs ruled the opposition with populist, nationalistic rage.

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          Addressing the opening of COP24 this week, Britain’s Sir David Attenborough labeled climate change “our greatest threat in thousands of years,” chastising politicians by adding, “Leaders of the world, you must lead.” There are no easy go-arounds, avoiding the pro-fossil fuel interests in the Middle East, Moscow and Washington. Democracy and governance are hard, at times seemingly impossible.

          As another Englishman, Winston Churchill, famously lectured the House of Commons in 1947, “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

          As exhausting and daunting as it may be, climate leaders must pay heed to the cries of France’s yellow vests, and the angry masses inside their own nations. A corporate boardroom or gathering of CEOs may be more comfortable. But curing the world’s climate catastrophe, pulling humanity from its existential brink, requires nothing less than solutions found, and supported, across whole societies.

          Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

          ‘No reason’ the USA can’t win the World Cup – Trending Stuff

          ‘No reason’ the USA can’t win the World Cup – Trending Stuff

          (CNN)Christian Pulisic is considered one of the most exciting prospects in world football and has become a beacon of hope for the United States national team.

          Despite his tender age, the 20-year-old Borussia Dortmund star is one of the most experienced players in the current national squad and he believes fans should be excited about the side’s future.

          “Seeing a lot of the younger guys coming through the system, I don’t think there is any reason why we shouldn’t be a successful team in the coming years,” he told CNN Sport’s Alex Thomas.

          The USA men’s team doesn’t have the best record when it comes to international competitions. The country failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and its best finish came back in 1930 — when it reached the semifinals.

          But there have been signs of a revival. They drew 1-1 with world champions France in June, a performance which hinted that the team’s potential could be fulfilled.

          With this being the case, Pulisic sees “no reason” why the USA can’t win the World Cup in his lifetime.

          “With the talent we have now, and if we continue to grow as a sport in the country, there is no reason that we can’t make a good run in a World Cup one day,” he said.

          Rebuilding the USA

          Pulisic is very much at the heart of the rebuilding process and feels a responsibility to lead from the front — although this isn’t something that necessarily comes naturally to him.

          “I’m pretty quiet but my best quality is leading by example,” he said.

          “It’s not like I have to tell people what to do all the time. It’s more leading by example and working hard every training and have those guys see how I train.”

          Attitudes towards the sport are slowly changing in the US and ambitions of growing the game have been buoyed with the news that the USA will host the 2026 World Cup alongside Canada and Mexico.

          Although Pulisic is “really excited” for a tournament on home soil, he insists his side is solely focused on qualifying for Qatar 2022.

          Making it in Germany

          Pulisic’s journey to the top of the game has been a tough one. It’s also been an unusual one.

          The attacking midfielder moved to Germany to join Borussia Dortmund’s youth academy in 2015 and, just a year later, made is first-team debut.

          “I remember not speaking the language or understanding anyone. Every single day was a grind,” he said.

          “I had to get stronger and stronger, quicker and quicker with all your movements. It’s a fast learning process if you want to be successful at the highest level.”

          Much is now expected of the youngster but being the next-best-thing for both club and country is not something that weighs heavily on his shoulders.

          “I just play because I enjoy the sport,” he said. “I set my own personal goals, I’m not playing to satisfy fans. I know what I want to accomplish, for myself and to help my team”

          Dortmund are currently top of the Bundesliga and their impressive domestic form has continued into their Champions League campaign — they currently sit top of Group A.

          With qualification out of the group stages looking likely, Pulisic has one eye on a cup run.

          “Once we get to the knockout stages I think anything could happen. Our team believes we can make a run as long as we want to. There’s no reason why we can’t,” he said.

          Despite his side’s purple patch, Pulisic has been frustrated for the last few weeks. He’s just returned from a problematic calf injury which forced him out of action last month.

          In his absence, English starlet Jadon Sancho has excelled and the pair are now battling for a place in Dortmund’s starting line-up, but Pulisic insists there is no unhealthy rivalry between the two.

          “It’s great having a guy like that, competing with him every day and also being friends off the field,” he said.

          Rooney inspiration

          The two wingers could face each other at Wembley on Thursday in what will be Pulisic’s first game for the national team since missing the last six fixtures.

          It promises to be a special night in London as England host USA in a farewell match to legendary striker Wayne Rooney.

          Former England captain Rooney, now playing for D.C. United in the MLS, was a source of inspiration for a young Pulisic and he’s looking forward to meeting his role model.

          “His passion for the game spoke for itself. You can even see it now in the MLS, I love that about him,” he said.

          “He was fighting, he would go up and win a header despite not being a big guy. I loved watching that when I was younger.”

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          Categories CNN