Remember Giscard d’Estaing, struggling to ski despite Covid-19 and decoding ‘The Crown’

After France lost former President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing to Covid-19 at 94 on Wednesday, Jowharlooked back on the life and times of the “modernist” ex-leader. This week, France dropped a controversial measure to limit the recording of police on duty, outlined its vaccine plan and weather-beaten skiers’ concerns about slopes that were closed during the pandemic. We explored Nagorno-Karabakh in the river, witnessed the hunt for jihadists in the Sahel of Africa, dug into the struggle of transgender children, visited France’s idyllic Vosges region and watched how “The Crown” worried viewers with season 4.

ARTICLES

Valéry Giscard d’Estaing © Phillippe Wojazer, AFP / File

Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, “modernist” French president, dies at the age of 94

Former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, who was a leading force in laying the foundations of the European Union, died on Wednesday of complications related to Covid-19 at the age of 94.

Giscard understood the mood of the 70’s, but French women won their own rights

The French presidency of Valery Giscard d’Estaing was marked by a series of breakthroughs for women’s rights, best known for legalizing abortion in 1975. But was the self-styled “modernizer” a driving force behind the reforms or was he just adapting to changing times?

‘Less unpleasant but not fundamentally different’: Transatlantic division after Biden won

After Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda revealed long-standing strains in US-Europe relations, Joe Biden’s victory has prompted a Franco-German row over Emmanuel Macron’s vision of “strategic autonomy” – while transatlantic tensions simmer over technical taxes and extraterritorial US law .

Is China provoking a diplomatic struggle with Australia?

China has recently intensified its aggression against Australia, from introducing new customs taxes to trolling on Twitter. Relations between the two countries have seldom been so bad, and according to regional experts, the world should be aware of how Beijing treats Canberra.

National Assembly majority leader Christophe Castaner from Emmanuel Macron’s party La République en Marche on 30 November 2020 in Paris. © Anne-Christine Poujoulat, AFP

French Parliament loses controversial bill restricting the right to film police

The French parliament has lost a controversial bill that would have barred the right to film police officers in action, the speaker of parliament and leader of President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling party announced on Monday.

France presents five-stage Covid-19 vaccination plan, with those most at risk

On Monday, France’s national health authority unveiled its five-step vaccination plan for the general public, with a first stage prioritizing the elderly and those most at risk of Covid-19 followed by those over 65 with comorbidities.

Ex-Interior Minister faces legal complaint over death of woman, 80, hit by tear gas grenade

Eighty-year-old Algerian citizen Zineb Redouane died shortly after she was hit by a tear gas grenade in her apartment in Marseille. Two years after her tragic death, relatives have filed a legal complaint against former Home Secretary Christophe Castaner for “hiding evidence”, while investigative journalists have questioned the results of a ballistic report that cleared officers of wrongdoing.

Nicolas Rubin, the mayor of Châtel, has draped his town hall in Swiss flags in protest of France’s decision to close ski lifts while resorts across the border remain open. © Fabrice Coffrini, AFP

Closed French ski resorts scream “disaster” when neighbors keep the slopes open

A European dispute over the wisdom of opening ski resorts in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic has turned into a battle that pits France, Italy and Germany – whose slopes remain closed – against the defiant Alps of Switzerland and Austria, backed by Spain.

SHOWS

ENCORE

Is season 4 of ‘The Crown’ too close for comfort?

It’s a show that, like the Queen herself, needs some introduction: Alison Sargent and Olivia Salazar-Winspear dive into the fourth season of the Netflix drama “The Crown”, with long-awaited portrayals of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Lady Diana Spencer. As the story approaches the present, some feel that its depiction of sensitive events hits too close to home.

Singer Joan Armatrading. © BMG rights

Joan Armatrading: ‘I was born to do this’

She was the first British female singer-songwriter to achieve international success. Hits like “Love and Affection” and “Me Myself I” in the 70’s made her a household name, but other songs like “Barefoot and Pregnant”, now a feminist anthem and “Rosie” about a transgender character have become cultural landmarks . . When Joan Armatrading turns 70, she talks to Eve Jackson about getting a CBE from Queen and the UK’s of the Year of Lifetime Achievement Award, asked to write a song for Nelson Mandela and how she sees the future of the music industry after the pandemic.

INTERVIEW

Nagorno-Karabakh: Christian sites “not in danger of destruction”, says Azerbaijan’s minister

In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, Azerbaijan’s acting culture minister promised that Christian heritage sites in Nagorno-Karabakh were not in danger after his Muslim-majority country gained control of the recoverable region, adding that any destruction on Azerbaijan’s behalf was unintentional.

REPORTS

The hunt for jihadists in the Sahel region of Africa

FRANCE 24-team embedded with Niger’s special forces. In this episode of West African jihadism, local “franchises” from the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda are vying to establish a large “caliphate” across the Sahel region. Local villagers, trapped in the crossfire, are afraid that jihadists may infiltrate the population and the former live in fear of reprisals. About 4,000 civilians died in this zone in 2019 alone. The Nigerian government has two goals: to keep people safe and to regain territory to prevent the “caliphate” from rising from its ashes on the African continent.

YOU ARE HERE

Jessica Palmer is the director of the “Cheval-Alsace” equestrian center in the Vosges region of France. © France 24 screengrab

Winter in the Vogesberg of France

The Champ du Feu is located in the eastern Vosges region of France and is a fantastic wildlife. a giant meadow that stretches 1099 meters above sea level. The large area can be crossed on Icelandic horses during magical winter walks. However, during the harsh Vosges winters, some locals prefer more indoor activities such as fruit distillation, which produces different types of alcohol. The result is a pure concentrate of the Vosges: a wild region full of natural beauty all year round.

FOCUS

Conquest and exile in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh enclave

After a 44-day war with Armenian forces, Azerbaijan has recaptured territories in and around Nagorno-Karabakh in the South Caucasus. It includes about half of the disputed enclave, but also seven Azerbaijani provinces seized by Armenia in the early 1990s. They have been handed over in accordance with a ceasefire agreement brokered by Russia. Azerbaijani authorities allowed our reporters to film in districts that have just changed hands.

Question: Transgender children and gender dysphoria in France

In question: The feeling of being born with the wrong sex. It is estimated that one in 500 children is affected by the deep feeling of doubt and worry, a feeling that has often been transferred to the lonely areas of psychiatry and mental health. Children who are faced with such questions are often faced with rejection, bullying, denial and isolation, which results in a high risk of self-harm and suicide. What is French society doing to reach out to these children?

FRANCE IN FOCUS

French athletes are struggling with Covid-19 restrictions

We investigate how the sports world in France handles Covid-19 curveball. With social distance rules and two lockdowns that make many competitions go up and close most training facilities, it has been a tough year for athletes, clubs and fans. Given the serious consequences of this forced timeout, President Emmanuel Macron has met with representatives and come up with a game plan. But in addition to the economic aspect, this health crisis has also taken the path of French athletes, both physically and mentally. Judo master Clarisse Agbegnenou gives us his impression of the situation.