In Notre Dame fire, echoes of the 1837 blaze that destroyed Russia’s Winter Palace : The Conversation


In a city graced with remarkable architecture, the cathedral of Notre Dame may be Paris’ most striking edifice. So when it was engulfed by a fire that toppled its spire, it seemed as if more than a building had been scorched; the nation had lost a piece of its soul.

How can a country respond to witnessing the devastation of its most magnificent structure?

As I watched the images, I couldn’t help but think of a similar tragedy that took place in 19th-century Russia – a story I tell in a forthcoming book about how the year 1837 played a pivotal role in Russian history.

Like the people of France who are mourning the damage to Notre Dame, the Russians were rocked by the destruction of an iconic building. Their rebuilding effort might offer some inspiration for a French populace looking to pick up the pieces of their beloved cathedral.

A palace that symbolizes ‘all that is Russian’

On Dec. 17, 1837, a fire broke out at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. Now the site of the famous State Hermitage Museum, back then it served as the primary residence of the czar and his family.

Standing in the heart of the Russian capital, with 60,000 square meters of floor space and 1,500 rooms, the Winter Palace was among the world’s grandest buildings. The Russian poet Vasilii Zhukovskii wrote that the palace was “the representation of all that is Russian, all that is ours, all that relates to the Fatherland.”

Originally completed in 1762, the palace had undergone a renovation just prior to the fire. Historians aren’t precisely sure how the fire started, but they do know that defects from the renovation allowed the flames to spread quickly through the palace’s attics. By evening the structure was completely ablaze, a spectacle visible from miles away.

 

Source: In Notre Dame fire, echoes of the 1837 blaze that destroyed Russia’s Winter Palace : The Conversation

French court finds Monsanto guilty of poisoning farmer | Business | The Guardian


A French appeals court has said US chemicals giant Monsanto was guilty of poisoning a farmer who said he suffered neurological damage after accidentally inhaling fumes from a weedkiller made by the company.

Paul François, a cereal farmer, had already won previous lawsuits against Monsanto, which was bought by Germany’s Bayer last year, in 2012 and 2015.

He said he fell ill in 2004 after being exposed to Lasso, a weedkiller containing monochlorobenzene that was legal in France until 2007 but had already been banned in 1985 in Canada and in 1992 in Belgium and Britain.

François argued that Monsanto was aware of Lasso’s dangers long before it was withdrawn from the French market and sought damages of more than €1m (£860,000) for chronic neurological damage that led to long hospital stays.

The court in Lyon rejected the company’s appeal on Tuesday but did not rule on how much Monsanto might have to pay, which will be determined in a separate ruling. It ordered the company to pay €50,000 immediately for François’s legal fees.

In its ruling, the court found that Monsanto should have clearly indicated on Lasso’s labelling and instructions for use “a notice on the specific dangers of using the product in vats and reservoirs”.

“The plaintiff’s assumed technical knowledge does not excuse the lack of information on the product and its harmful effects – a farmer is not a chemist,” it added.

Speaking after the verdict, a lawyer for Monsanto France, Jean-Daniel Bretzner, said the company would probably appeal, since the ruling applied to Lasso’s producer – in this case, Monsanto Europe.

It was the latest judgment against Monsanto involving its weedkillers and pesticides, which have been widely used around the world for years.

Last month, a San Francisco court ordered the company to pay about $80mto a retiree who blames its popular Roundup weedkiller, which contains glyphosate, for causing his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The company said it would appeal, as it faces thousands of similar lawsuits in the US.

Monsanto denies that the weedkiller causes cancer and has challenged findings by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization, which classified glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen” in 2015.

 

Source: French court finds Monsanto guilty of poisoning farmer | Business | The Guardian

EU economic slowdown: Germany and France DRAG down Europe amid euro PLUNGE | World | News | Express.co.uk


Economists in the European Union are scrambling to fix an impending economic meltdown following a shock plunge in Germany and France. The two leading EU countries suffered a dramatic economic slump after a business survey of the two countries was released. Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel were hit by weaker than expected figures, with fears that the two so-called “engines of Europe” could in fact drag down the bloc.

 

Source: EU economic slowdown: Germany and France DRAG down Europe amid euro PLUNGE | World | News | Express.co.uk

Macron upsets his EU masters with his attempted appeasement of the people | Nye Bevan News


President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to buy off a nationwide protest movement with much needed measures for low-paid workers and retirees is likely to come at a cost — inflating the budget deficit, pushing the national debt over 100 percent of gross domestic product and reneging on EU commitments to fiscal discipline.

EU Budget rules are yet another reason to leave the EU, it is extremely unlikely Labours ambitious spending plans would ever meet the stringent requirements of the EU.

Brussels has insisted it would sanction Italy if its budget doesn’t meet European Union spending rules, focusing on the proposed deficit level of 2.4 percent.

European Union’s obsession with austerity: Greece. EU austerity measures, forced on the Greek people against their democratic will, have decimated the lives of millions in the country. This frenzied commitment to austerity is largely driven by the EU’s demand that all countries must keep their budget deficits at or below 3% of GDP. Even when research asserts that austerity is not the answer, as an International Monetary Fund paper did last year, the EU’s commitment to its austerity agenda remains unshaken. And yet you would struggle to find any allusion to this key contradiction in any of the mainstream discourse around the stance of left-leaning Remainers.

The question that needs to be asked is how can anti-austerity, anti-Conservative voters support an organisation with such an inauspicious track record on austerity? An organisation that will, when the next financial crisis strikes, impose austerity measures on countries at a far higher order of magnitude than we here in the UK have experienced?

But, of course, this question is never asked. In public discourse, left-leaning voters want to remain in the EU because they support free-movement and protection of workers’ rights and the debate ends there. The intricacies and contradictions of this stance are rarely, if ever, addressed, contributing to the disorientation and lack of clarity that has characterised the whole Brexit debate.

Too little too late!

 

Source: Macron upsets his EU masters with his attempted appeasement of the people | Nye Bevan News

Watch: Visually impaired man thrown out of supermarket in France over guide dog | #TheCube | Euronews


A video of a visually impaired French man and his guide dog being kicked out of a supermarket has sparked outrage on social media in France.

“Sir, I have hygiene standards to respect, I cannot accept any animals in the store.” This is what a supermarket employee told Arthur Aumoite, a visually impaired man, when he tried to enter a Monoprix store in Marseille with his guide dog Loya to buy groceries.

Aumoite posted a four-minute video of the interaction on his Facebook page on Monday along with a post where he describes being “violently thrown out by the supermarket director and a security guard”.

In the video, the 25-year-old attempts to reason with the employee by citing French law that allows the presence of guide dogs in public places and refuses to leave the supermarket.

Article 88 of a French law dating back to 1987 allows guide dogs to be present in public places.

The video was shot by a third person who seemed to be with Aumoite, and has been viewed over 800,000 times as of this morning.

In his Facebook post, the Aumoite says he is sharing the footage of the incident in order to fight discrimination. “Loya gives me so much joy and autonomy, that I would never change for a white cane. Together, let’s make sure that these behaviours change,” he wrote on Facebook.

Monoprix released an apology on Tuesday on Twitter and Facebook, strongly condemning the incident. “We were even more shocked because Monoprix has been engaged for several years in the fight against discrimination of all kinds.”

 

Source: Watch: Visually impaired man thrown out of supermarket in France over guide dog | #TheCube | Euronews

Italy news: Five Star Movement MEP outburst over EU rules – Why was not FRANCE punished? | UK | News | Express.co.uk


Speaking during a plenary sitting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the Five Star Movement MEP asked the European Commission’s President Jean-Claude Juncker why France was able to break EU migrant rules without being punished.

Mr Valli said: “As for the position of the Italian government on migration – we took on an explosive situation.

“You would turn Italy into the refugee camp of Europe.

“Europe has not taken responsibility for what needs to be done.”

 

Source: Italy news: Five Star Movement MEP outburst over EU rules – Why was not FRANCE punished? | UK | News | Express.co.uk

The France v Britain scallop war goes much deeper than Brexit with nets | John Lichfield | Opinion | The Guardian


Forty French fishing boats attack five British boats in the Channel. Stones and smoke bombs are thrown. Rude words are exchanged in two languages. The British retreat.

Similar incidents have been happening for 15 years – or arguably for the last 900 years. The rights and wrong are complicated. Yesterday evening the French boats were undoubtedly the aggressors. They put to sea not in order to fish, but to harass the English and Scottish boats that had entered “their waters”.

It was foolhardy of the French fishermen, but they do have reasons to be exasperated. The latest outbreak of the Baie de la Seine scallop war should be seen in the context of Brexit and the deep uncertainties and exaggerated expectations encouraged by simplistic and vague UK plans to reclaim “our seas” and “our fish”.

Ironies abound. In the this dispute, British boats are asserting their right to fish in French waters even when they are closed to French trawlers. This right depends on EU rules, but pre-dates the EU fishing policy.

In any case, the row is not just about France v Britain. It is also about Big Boats v Small Boats, and the ecological damage caused by modern methods of industrial-scale fishing.

First, some facts. The clashes took place in “French waters” – that is to say about 15 miles from the French coast at a point where the Channel is about 100 miles wide, well beyond any possible legal definition of British waters. There were 40 French boats and five British – but the French boats were tiny and the British boats were large.

Source: The France v Britain scallop war goes much deeper than Brexit with nets | John Lichfield | Opinion | The Guardian

How many Muslim women actually wear the burka in the UK? It’s probably less than a few thousand – The i – Weekend Reads #55


Given the reaction of some parts of the media, one could be forgiven for assuming that Europe and the rest of the Western world has become besieged by burqa-clad women. The “fear” is now so rife that empty bus seats in Norway were mistaken for a group of women wearing the burqa.

Meanwhile, in a much derided stunt in Australia, far right leader Pauline Hanson wore a full-face covering burqa into the senate chamber. Hanson’s aim was to prohibit Muslim women from covering their faces and to get the burqa banned in the country.

To look at it, the burqa is simply a veil which covers the body and face – and yet it is also sometimes associated with oppression, terrorism, and extreme religious beliefs. Some burqas only have a mesh screen for the wearer to see through. The niqab, on the other hand, is a face veil worn with a headscarf which leaves the eyes uncovered, while the hijab is a scarf which covers the head and neck. In Europe, the term “burqa” is used to refer to women who wear robes to cover the body and face, but their eyes may be left uncovered, as seen in the main image of this article.

Source: How many Muslim women actually wear the burka in the UK? It’s probably less than a few thousand – The i – Weekend Reads #55

After hesitancy, France backs Britain over Russian role in attack : Reuters


PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday he shared Britain’s assessment that Russia was behind a nerve agent attack on a former spy living in England and vowed to take measures in response in the coming days.

 

Source: After hesitancy, France backs Britain over Russian role in attack : Reuters

Almost No Children in France are Medicated for ADHD: Here’s How They Define and Treat it! : Plain Live


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC ) says that roughly 11% of American kids between 4 and 17 have been determined to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and on the off chance that you ask the American Psychiatric Association (APA), they keep up that despite the fact that exclusive 5% of American kids experience the ill effects of the turmoil, the finding is really given to around 15% of American kids. This number has been relentlessly rising, bouncing from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007.

Enormous Pharma assumed a noteworthy part in assembling the ADHD plague in the U.S., persuading guardians and specialists that ADHD is a typical issue among youngsters and one that ought to be sedated. In any case, numerous nations can’t help in contradicting the American position on ADHD,  an extent that they have completely unique structures for characterizing, diagnosing, and treating it. For instance, the rate of kids in France that have been analyzed and cured for ADHD is under 0.5%. This is to a great extent since French specialists don’t think about ADHD as a natural issue with organic causes, yet rather a medicinal condition brought on by psycho-social and situational components.

Why France Defines ADHD Differently

 

Source: Almost No Children in France are Medicated for ADHD: Here’s How They Define and Treat it! : Plain Live