France

Regional News • Europe • European Union
EU leaders debated unilateral Covid-19 measures, expect vaccine passport by summer to revive tourism
EU leaders debated unilateral Covid-19 measures, expect vaccine passport by summer to revive tourism
Credit: Ashles Winkler for Pendect

Twenty-seven European leaders have met to debate joint Covid-19 measures, including unilateral border and movement restrictions, the slow vaccine rollout and vaccine passports. While open questions remain, a vaccine passport is to be expected by summer.

Regional News • Europe • France
Dunkirk region to impose weekend lockdown
Olivier Véran being vaccinated
Olivier Véran being vaccinated Credit: Olivier Véran (Twitter Reproduction)

Health Minister Olivier Véran announced a weekend lockdown for the northern French Dunkirk area. Véran called the Dunkirk area situation "alarming" as infection rates are over 900 infections per 100,000 people.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said "requires rapid and strong measures" were necessary due to "a worsening situation" and to "avoid having to impose another national lockdown."

Law
French actor Gérard Depardieu charged with rape and sexual assault
Gérard Depardieu
Gérard Depardieu Credit: Siebbi (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

An initial investigation into the rape accusations against Gérard Depardieu was dropped in 2019 for lack of evidence but reopened last summer, leading to criminal charges filed in December. According to a source close to the case, Depardieu is a friend of the woman’s family.

An actor accuses Depardieu of having raped and assaulted her at his Paris home in August 2018. Some reports have suggested Depardieu and the actor were rehearsing a theatre play scene, but the source said "there was nothing professional about the encounter".

Regional News • Europe • France
Far-right group Génération Identitaire to be banned in France

Génération Identitaire, a French far-right group declaring a "war on migrants", faces dissolution as the French government tries to tackle far-right extremism. A bill to fight Islamist extremism and separatism was approved by the National Assembly on February 16th.

Climate & Environment
BNP Paribas will no longer finance companies that exploit deforested land in the Amazon
BNP Paribas logo
BNP Paribas logo Credit: BNP Paribas

France's biggest bank, BNP Paribas on Monday promised to stop financing companies that buy cattle or soya produced on Amazon land deforested or converted after 2008. The bank also said it will encourage clients not to buy or produce beef or soy from the Cerrado, which occupies 20 per cent of Brazil, only financing those who adopt a zero deforestation strategy by 2025.

Population growth and rapidly expanding middle classes in countries like China are stimulating an explosion of demand for soybeans and increasing consumption of meat and dairy products.

Regional News • Europe • France
25% of new Coronavirus infections in France come from UK variant
25% of new Coronavirus infections in France come from UK variant
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

B.1.1.7, the variant first discovered in the United Kingdom, is now found in 25% of the new coronavirus infections in France.

Health minister Olivier Véran warns: "Scientists fear a new epidemic if this variant were to become dominant."

Regional News • Europe • France
France set to establish age of consent at 15

The French government may soon introduce the age of sexual consent. France’s nonexistent age-of-consent laws make it hard to prosecute sexual perpetrators. The move comes after loud protests, online testimonies about domestic sexual child abuse and growing pressure from the public.

Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti said: "An act of sexual penetration by an adult on a minor under 15 will be considered a rape."

Regional News • Europe • France
Couple jailed after accidentally exposing their child abuse

A couple have been jailed in France over the death of a 3 year old boy.

The jailing comes after the mother, Caroline Létoile, inadvertently revealed herself beating the three year old - called Tony - in a call to emergency services.

Loïc Vantal, 28, the mothers boyfriend received a 20 year sentence for dealing the blows that caused the death in 2016.

The mother was recorded on the emergency call saying "I said he fell down the stairs. The stair will do, right? The stairs to the apartment... And I'm hiding all the stuff from the argument."

She received a 3-year jail sentence.

Regional News • Europe • France
Justice condemns French government for climate inaction
Justice condemns French government for climate inaction
Credit: unsplash.com / Anthony DELANOIX

Following the complaint supported by millions of French citizens, the Paris administrative court concluded that the government's actions to combat global warming were insufficient and declared the French state guilty.

The 4 NGOs that initiated this lawsuit say it is "a first historic victory for climate" and a "victory for truth" as France has never acknowledged the "insufficiency of its climate policies" (President Macron has always boasted about his commitment to climate change).

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
Cannes Film Festival delayed to July
Cannes Film Festival logo
Cannes Film Festival logo

The Cannes Film Festival has confirmed a new set of dates for this year’s event, which has again been postponed due to the pandemic. The initial dates, which were May 11-22, didn’t seem feasible so the festival will run between July 6 and July 17.

The decision was taken following a board meeting on Tuesday.

Business • Health Care
Sanofi to help produce millions of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
Sanofi to help produce millions of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
Credit: Sanofi de, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

Sanofi, a French Pharma group, has agreed to produce 125 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Coronavirus vaccine, a rare collaboration in the industry. Sanofi's own vaccine did not show sufficient results in December.

Head of Sanofi France Olivier Bogillot: "We looked at how we could show solidarity. When you look at the technological and industrial capacities of Sanofi, our expertise, I'm very proud that Sanofi has made this choice."

Regional News • Europe • France
Decision on third lockdown in France "in the coming days"
Decision on third lockdown in France "in the coming days"
Credit: unsplash.com / Kevin Dellandrea

French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said that the decision whether the government would impose a third lockdown will be coming "in the coming days". France has seen a rise in infections as well as hospitalisation. Over the past two days, 1000 people were hospitalised for Coronavirus in France. Jean-François Delfraissy, the head of France's advisory Scientific Council, said on TV that a third lockdown in France "will probably be necessary".

Law
Meat company Herta in French court over toddler that suffocated on sausage
Representative images of mini sausages
Representative images of mini sausages Credit: Tim Reckmann / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Because a little boy choked on a sausage, the sausage manufacturer Herta is on trial in France. The trial against the company for involuntary manslaughter began on Monday afternoon in the southwestern French town of Dax, according to a statement from the local public prosecutor's office. An acquittal has been requested for the group. A verdict is to be announced on February 8.

Regional News • Europe • France
France: new border controls to contain Coronavirus spread
France: new border controls to contain Coronavirus spread
Credit: unsplash.com/Mufid Majnun

France imposed new border controls on Sunday. Incoming travellers from the EU must have a negative PCR test result not older than 72 hours, though this does not apply to travellers crossing the borders on land.

Lifestyle • Food
First vegan restaurant has been awarded a Michelin star
First vegan restaurant has been awarded a Michelin star
Credit: ONA (Instagram Restaurant)

The Michelin Guide has awarded a star to a vegan restaurant in France for the first time. It was awarded to ONA, where top chef Claire Vallée avoids meat, fish, dairy products and honey in her dishes.

Vallée founded ONA in 2016 with the help of crowdfunding and a loan from an eco-bank. Gourmet lovers will find it in Arès, west of Bordeaux.

The name of the restaurant, which is currently closed due to the pandemic, stands for "Origine Non Animale," meaning ingredients that are not of animal origin. According to the Guide Michelin, guests could choose from seven gourmet dishes using ingredients such as pine nuts, celery, sake or tonka beans.

Lifestyle • Travel
Disneyland Paris reopening delayed until April
Disneyland Paris reopening delayed until April
Credit: unsplash.com/Lyle Hastie

Disneyland Paris announced on Monday that it would delay reopening until at least April 2nd. The park had initially planned to reopen on February 13th.

The company said in a statement that "due to the prevailing conditions in Europe, Disneyland Paris will not reopen on the 13th of February as initially planned. If conditions permit, we will reopen Disneyland Paris on the 2nd of April, 2021 and will welcome reservations from that date forward."

Regional News • Europe • France
#MeTooInceste: Olivier Duhamel's incest allegations prompt survivors to speak out on Twitter
#MeTooInceste: Olivier Duhamel's incest allegations prompt survivors to speak out on Twitter
Credit: unsplash.com/Mihai Surdu

The Twitter campaign "#MeTooInceste" was started by NousToutes activist known as Marie Chenevance after French political commentator, Olivier Duhamel was accused of abusing his teenage stepson. Thousands of French survivors of incest spoke out about their own abuse experiences on Twitter.

Tweets:

  • "I was 11 the first time, I thought it was by accident that he touched my private area, and later realized that it can’t be, because he was clearly sober. #metooinceste."
  • "I was 13, him 26. He was my uncle."
  • "I was six years old when the touching started, 15 when I had to live maritally with my father, be prostituted and raped on his order, 16 when I had to abort his work, 17 when I denounced him and was rejected by the family."
  • "I was between 11 and 14 years old. It was my brother. I'm 57 years old and I am still a victim of this past."
Regional News • Europe • France
Protests against security bill that would restrict filming of police in many French cities
Protests against security bill that would restrict filming of police in many French cities
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

Tens of thousands of protestors have taken to the street in many French cities on Saturday, protesting a security bill that would restrict the filming and publication of police, especially regarding cases of police brutality. The bill will be considered in March by the French Senate after its proposal was approved by the National Assembly last year.

Regional News • Europe • France
Champs-Élysées in Paris will be turned into "extraordinary garden"
Champs-Élysées in Paris will be turned into "extraordinary garden"
Credit: Courtesy of PCA-Stream

According to Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, the famous Champs-Élysées will undergo a transformation "an extraordinary garden". The plan for the 1.9 kilometers long area in central Paris had been unveiled in 2019 and has now gotten the green light. The costs are estimated to be around €250 million and include cutting space for vehicles by half, adding more space for pedestrians and planting trees and other greens.

Regional News • Europe • France
Brexit: France announces rules visa requirements for British citizens from January 2021
Brexit: France announces rules visa requirements for British citizens from January 2021
Credit: unsplash.com/Ethan Wilkinson

The French government published detailed rules for visa requirements for British citizens who want to spend lengthy periods in France after January 1st, 2021.

From January on "UK citizens will need a Long Stay visa if staying in France or in a French Oversea territory for more than 90 days whatever the purpose of stay". UK citizens with a second home in France, who are spending between 3-6 months a year in France, are "not considered as a resident in France and cannot apply for a carte de séjour under the withdrawal agreement" and "will have to apply for a temporary visitor visa - visa de long séjour temporaire visiteur."