Rethinking Covid-19 tests, a Sino-Australian spat and Venice’s masked festival

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With Covid-19 infections surging again in many parts of the world, governments are racing to ramp up testing to detect and trace the virus. FRANCE 24 also covered the souring relations between China and Australia, mysterious horse mutilations in France, a high-profile lawsuit over colonial-era abductions in the former Belgian Congo, and masked film festivals from Venice to Deauville.

ARTICLES

Could saliva tests be a Covid-19 game changer in France?

Offering painless, non-invasive and rapid results, saliva tests have the potential to change the way we live with the coronavirus. While France is still doing research on the feasibility of widespread saliva testing, this type of test is already being used in Hong Kong and the United States.

Covid-19: Who needs a test, when and which one?

Efforts to ramp up Covid-19 testing have triggered a rush on labs in several countries and spread confusion about who should get tested and when. FRANCE 24 takes a look at the two types of tests available – diagnostic tests and antibody tests – and health authorities’ current guidelines on testing.

A health worker administers a nasal swab at a testing site in front of Paris city hall on September 2, 2020.
A health worker administers a nasal swab at a testing site in front of Paris city hall on September 2, 2020. © Christian Hartmann, REUTERS

Macron marks 150 years of ‘La République’ by lauding French freedoms

In a speech marking 150 years of the French Republic, President Emmanuel Macron criticised those who seek French citizenship without accepting France’s “right to commit blasphemy”. Defending satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which controversially published caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, Macron said that to be French is to defend the right to “laugh, to criticise, to mock”.

A French official’s attempts to outlaw ‘I hate men’ book backfires as sales skyrocket

A French official’s decision to speak out against a book he said was an “ode to misandry” appears to have backfired after sales of the book in question – “Men, I Hate Them” (Moi les hommes, je les déteste) – have exceeded expectations, forcing extra print runs after the book sold out just weeks after its publication.

Cover of "Men, I hate them" by Pauline Harmange
Cover of “Men, I hate them” by Pauline Harmange © Monstrograph

Will souring China-Australia relations force a rethink on trade?

Relations between China and Australia continued to decline this week after the hasty departure of the last remaining Australian journalists in China. The move comes in the wake of Beijing’s imposition of trade sanctions against Australian goods, which could trigger a rethink of Australia’s decades-long economic reliance on China.

An employee works as Australian-made wine (on display shelves on R) are seen for sale at a store in Beijing on August 18, 2020.
An employee works as Australian-made wine (on display shelves on R) are seen for sale at a store in Beijing on August 18, 2020. AFP – NOEL CELIS

Facebook blocks Frenchman’s bid to livestream his own death

After unsuccessfully petitioning the French president to allow him to die in dignity through medical assistance, Frenchman Alain Cocq announced that he would stop eating and drinking – and that he would livestream the process on Facebook. But the social media platform quickly moved to ban Cocq from posting videos of his endeavour.

French police struggle to solve mystery of violent horse attacks

More than 30 horses have been mutilated or killed in violent attacks across France since February, with cases rising in recent weeks. French authorities are no closer to finding a motive behind the attacks, but have warned the public not to take matters into their own hands.

Horses eat hay in a field in Lattes, near Montpellier, southern France on April 24, 2020.
Horses eat hay in a field in Lattes, near Montpellier, southern France on April 24, 2020. © Pascal Guyot, AFP

 

VIDEO REPORTS

‘Terrifying but thrilling’: Deauville stars on the return of cinema

FRANCE 24 spoke to filmmakers and actors at this year’s Deauville Film Festival about the return of cinema in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the importance of the simple joys of going to the movies.

From left to right: Vanessa Paradis, Vincent Lacoste and Jonathan Nossiter.
From left to right: Vanessa Paradis, Vincent Lacoste and Jonathan Nossiter. © France 24

Deadly flooding spreads across Africa’s Sahel region

Record floods have inflicted severe damage across the Sahel region in recent weeks, leaving dozens dead and tens of thousands homeless from Sudan to Senegal. Authorities in Sudan, the hardest-hit country, have declared a three-month state of emergency after the floods killed more than 100 people and destroyed thousands of homes.

Nothing to celebrate? Champagne sales plummet during Covid-19 pandemic

Sales of champagne, one of France’s most iconic products, have tumbled over the past year amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with industry representatives estimating that some 100 million bottles will be left unsold. 

Winegrowers in Avenay-Val-d’Or, in France's Champagne region, pictured in August 2020.
Winegrowers in Avenay-Val-d’Or, in France’s Champagne region, pictured in August 2020. © François Nascimbeni, AFP

 

THE INTERVIEW

Israeli former counter-terror chief warns of risk of all-out war with Hezbollah

Brigadier General Nitzan Nuriel, a former director of Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau, talks to FRANCE 24 about the implications of Israel’s peace deal with the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon’s fragile situation following the Beirut blast, the risk of an all-out war between Israel and Hezbollah, and Israel’s stance on the Iranian nuclear programme.

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

La rentrée! How France is handling its September return to work in a Covid-19 world

This week we’re exploring “la rentrée”, the back-to-work period following France’s summer shutdown. This year’s traditional September reset is quite different given the ongoing coronavirus crisis. So what exactly are the new health and hygiene rules as children return to school and adults head back to their offices? We take a closer look.

THE DEBATE

Forget what’s signed? UK threatens to override Brexit divorce deal

Britain headed into a fresh round of Brexit trade talks with the European Union this week by acknowledging it could break international law — but only in a “limited way” — by reneging on part of its EU divorce treaty.

The British government has admitted it will break international law by rewriting parts of its Brexit divorce treaty.
The British government has admitted it will break international law by rewriting parts of its Brexit divorce treaty. © Niklas Hallen, AFP

ENCORE!

The masked Mostra: Highlights from an unprecedented Venice Film Festival

From masked, walled-off red carpet premieres to more female directors than ever, we check out the highlights of the 77th Venice Film Festival, including interviews with the team behind “Pieces of a Woman”, “The Duke” and “I am Greta”.

Led by Cate Blanchett, jury members pose at the start of the 77th Venice Film Festival.
Led by Cate Blanchett, jury members pose at the start of the 77th Venice Film Festival. © Yara Nardi, Reuters

In Deauville, an American film festival … without Americans

It’s a French festival celebrating American film, but this year, the Hollywood stars who normally grace the Deauville American Film Festival are mostly absent, barred from travelling because of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, homegrown French talent is enjoying a moment in the spotlight. 

FOCUS

Taken from their mothers in colonial Belgium, mixed-race women sue for compensation

In a landmark case, five mixed-race women are suing the Belgian state for “crimes against humanity” committed in the former Belgian Congo. The offspring of Congolese mothers and European fathers, they were abducted from their mothers and placed in religious institutions under the supervision of the Belgian state, which feared that they would rise up against the colonial order.

A statue of King Leopold II of Belgium is removed as the country prepares to mark the 60th anniversary of Congolese independence
A statue of King Leopold II of Belgium is removed as the country prepares to mark the 60th anniversary of Congolese independence © James Arthur Gekiere, AFP

THE 51 PERCENT

Making us laugh: the female comics taking to the stage

With much of America and the rest of the world enthralled with Sarah Cooper’s TikTok impersonations of US President Donald Trump, just how hard is it to be a female stand-up comic in a world that is still very much male-dominated? We asked American comedian Sarah Donnelly, who is now based in Paris. 

THE 51 PERCENT
THE 51 PERCENT © FRANCE 24

FASHION

Cruise collection 2021: Dior embraces artisanal heritage of Italy’s Puglia region

Large gatherings are still banned and the need for social distancing remains – so what future for the traditional catwalk? With stars and influencers no longer travelling, communication strategies are having to adapt. For Dior’s 2021 cruise collection, the label put on a dazzling audience-free show in the heart of the Italian city of Lecce.

Fashion
Fashion © Screen grab, France 24

DOWN TO EARTH

A greener way to die?

Cremation or burial: In France, there are only two legal ways to be put to rest, both with a hefty environmental footprint. What if there was a greener way to leave this planet? This week Down to Earth explores eco-friendly cemeteries and the possibility of human composting.

Down to earth
Down to earth © Screen grab, France 24

The wonders of wood: Discovering rare French craftsmanship

On the banks of the Loire River, Gilbert makes wooden moulds for some of France’s biggest hat designers. In the Pyrénées, professional clog makers still exist, with the proud inhabitants of the Bethmale valley continuing to wear locally made clogs for special occasions. Last but not least, wooden boats known as barquettes have been sailing in and out of Marseille’s old port since the 18th century. 

You are here
You are here © Screen grab, France 24

 

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