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France opens its Rwanda archives, Australians stranded abroad and honouring the baguette

France 24 logo France 24 09/04/2021 FRANCE 24
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France opened its archives on Rwanda this week as a report declared the country's role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide a “monumental failure”. Elsewhere, Australians launched a complaint against their government with the UN for the right to return home following Canberra's decision to shut its borders and a forest in Mexico turned orange thanks to the migration of millions of Monarch butterflies. Finally, we take a pre-dawn bus trip through northern Paris with the essential workers that cannot work from home.

ARTICLES

‘Someone has to keep the country going’: A pre-dawn commute with essential workers in Paris

Throughout the pandemic, bus route 351 has ferried pre-dawn commuters between Paris and Charles-de-Gaulle international airport, slicing across neglected suburbs of the French capital hit hardest by Covid-19. FRANCE 24 followed the essential workers – including nurses, technicians and freight workers – for whom lockdown never happens.

Governments are ‘gender blind’ to Covid-19's greater impact on women, global studies say

Governments are putting women and girls at greater risk of the health and socio-economic impacts posed by the coronavirus pandemic, two new global studies show, calling on leaders to prioritise gender equity in their response to the health crisis.

Macron announces closure of ENA, the elite ‘school for presidents’ that France loves to hate

President Emmanuel Macron announced the abolition of France’s esteemed Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA) on Thursday, to be replaced by a new Institute for Public Service. Charles de Gaulle founded ENA as a training ground for French leaders at the end of World War II, envisioning a meritocratic postwar system that would offer opportunities for all. But the “grande école” eventually became known as an elite institution that churned out presidents, premiers and captains of industry destined to fill France’s top ranks.

Lockdown redux: Macron reconciles with closing schools, but experts say lessons remain

French President Emmanuel Macron has pushed back against strict national measures, playing for time while France weathered setbacks in its vaccine rollout and a variant-fuelled third wave pushed deaths near the 100,000 milestone. 

France opens its archives on Rwandan genocide to the public

France’s role before and during the 1994 Rwandan genocide was a “monumental failure” that the country must acknowledge, the lead author of a report commissioned by President Emmanuel Macron said, as the country opens its archives from this period to the public on Wednesday.

Stranded abroad, Australians lodge UN petition against government for ‘right to return home’

A group of Australian citizens representing tens of thousands of people who have been stranded overseas by border closures and flight caps, some since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, are taking their complaint against the Australian government to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, arguing they have been denied the basic human right to return home.

‘Sofagate’: Turkey seeks to shift blame for seating scandal that left EU chief standing

Turkey blamed the EU for the seating arrangements that left European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen without a chair during a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a diplomatic snafu that has fuelled international indignation.

Covid-19: Why France needs to vaccinate 90 percent of adults to return to ‘normal’ life

A new study published this week by France's Pasteur Institute concludes that since the British variant of Covid-19 is now dominant in France, a full 90 percent of adults will need to be vaccinated before the country can get back to normal life without risking a fresh surge of the virus.

French farmers find innovative solutions to battle unexpected cold spell

As France experiences an unexpected cold snap, farmers are scrambling to save their crops and are forced to come up with inventive solutions to stave off a deadly frost.

 

PERSPECTIVE

New Amnesty chief: ‘Our global system of governance has failed’ amid pandemic

"At this point in the Covid-19 pandemic, even the most deluded leaders would struggle to deny that our social, economic and political systems are broken." These were the words of Agnès Callamard, the new secretary general of Amnesty International, as she presided over the release of the human rights NGO's annual report on Wednesday.

THE INTERVIEW

'We strongly stand by Jordan's King Abdullah,' says Saudi FM

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister told FRANCE 24 on Sunday that the kingdom fully supported King Abdullah II of Jordan after the Jordanian authorities announced they had foiled a "malicious plot" involving a former crown prince who had liaised with unspecified "foreign parties".

 

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

Our daily bread: France seeks UNESCO heritage status for the baguette

The government has nominated the French staple for inclusion on the UN's register of intangible cultural heritage, a list that aims to protect traditions, knowledge and skills so that they are not lost over time – with Belgian beer culture and Neapolitan pizza just two examples.

 

YOU ARE HERE

Entrenched in history: The French city of Verdun

The eastern French city of Verdun is a place of memory that symbolises the terrible human cost of World War I. Hundreds of thousands of French and German soldiers died there during 300 days of bitter combat in 1916. Every year, more soldiers' bones and belongings are discovered around the city and are carefully catalogued. To date, around 60,000 soldiers have still not been buried.

 

ENCORE!

Culture under lockdown in Paris: When the opera comes to you

With venues closed due to Covid-19, classical musicians are bringing their art to the courtyards of Paris. Meanwhile, the Château de Versailles is welcoming back the luxurious desk of Louis XVI after two years of restoration.

 

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Discovering a haven for Monarch butterflies in Mexico

We take a magical look at a forest in Mexico that turned orange thanks to the migration of millions of Monarch butterflies. The beautiful creatures have seen a drastic decline over the past 20 years, with some 90 percent of them now gone.

 

FASHION

South African designer Thebe Magugu revives 1970s 'blaxploitation' movement

The pandemic has transformed the way we consume and experience fashion, with the latest Paris Fashion Week entirely digital. For the first time in the event's history, proceedings kicked off with the work of students from the Paris-based French Institute of Fashion, who see their creations through the prism of cultural and political significance. Meanwhile in Johannesburg, South African designer Thebe Magugu is dedicated to reviving the "blaxploitation" cultural movement of the 1970s.

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