France to Make Abortion Rights
French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday his government plans to enshrine abortion rights in the constitution to make them “irreversible”.
In an online post, Macron said a draft project would be submitted to the State Council, France's highest administrative court, this coming week, with a view to making abortion rights constitutional by the end of the year.
“In 2024, the right of women to choose abortion will become irreversible,” he said.
The announcement follows a promise Macron made on March 8, International Women's Day, which was seen as a response to the overturning of federal abortion rights in the United States last year.
Constitutional revision in France requires either a referendum or approval by at least three-fifths of the members of both chambers of parliament united in a congress.
Most constitutional changes in post-war France have been approved by congressional vote.
The termination of a pregnancy was decriminalised in France in 1975 and successive laws have since aimed at improving conditions for abortions, notably by protecting the health and anonymity of women, as well as reducing the financial burden of the procedure on women.
A November 2022 opinion poll found that 89 percent of respondents were in favour of making abortion rights constitutional.
According to government figures, 234,000 abortions were carried out in France last year.
New Notre-Dame Spire Takes Shape on Paris Skyline Four Years After Devastating Fire Published 38 minutes ago
The outline of the new spire on the Notre-Dame Cathedral was visible on the Paris skyline on Tuesday as a key part of the reconstruction from a devastating fire approached completion.
Scaffolding still surrounded the new spire, captured by an AFP photographer, and officials did not wish to comment while they await the finishing touches. The authority overseeing the rebuilding told AFP last Friday that the oak structure of the spire, which reaches 96 metres (315 feet) high, would be visible “before Christmas”.
It is identical to the previous one, designed by the 19th century architect Viollet-Le-Duc, which collapsed in the fire of April 15, 2019. The scaffolding will remain to allow the installation of its cover and lead ornaments early next year, the authorities said. The cathedral is due to reopen on December 8, 2024, President Emmanuel Macron announced in August.
The frames of the nave and the choir of the cathedral, which were also destroyed, are due for completion in 2024, after which the construction of the roof can begin. The final stages include cleaning the interior — an area that covers some 42,000 square metres — and installing new furniture.
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Macron Says Stop Bombing Civilians
The war in Gaza entered its fifth week on Saturday as Israel continued its furious response and continued with its airstrike and ground invasion, vowing to destroy the terrorist group for the deadly October 7 attacks.
Israel on Friday revised down the death toll from the attacks and said around 1,200 people died when Hamas gunmen attacked southern Israeli towns and a music festival.
Israel in retaliation has bombed Gaza for the past five weeks killing over 10,000 people including women and children and injuring several thousands, while internally displacing millions living in that coastal strip.
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India abstains from UN vote on Israel-Gaza conflict
India recently chose to abstain from a UN General Assembly vote that sought a humanitarian truce and the protection of civilians amid the intensifying conflict between Israel and Gaza, drawing significant domestic scrutiny. Here's a breakdown of India's decision and its implications -
What did the UN resolution say?
The UN General Assembly's resolution called for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities", especially given that the death toll in Gaza has reportedly surpassed 8,000, due to Israel's ongoing airstrike campaign. The conflict escalated following Hamas' attacks in Israel on 7 October, leading Israel to launch a ground offensive into Gaza. The resolution also emphasized adherence to international humanitarian laws and the protection of civilians, along with the release of hostages. Notably, a Canadian amendment condemning Hamas for its attacks failed to secure approval.
How did the countries vote?
Of the nations that participated, 120, including major powers such as France, China, and Russia, supported the resolution. Forty five countries, including India, Japan, and Germany, abstained. Only 14 nations, which included the US, the UK, Canada, and Israel, voted against. India, however, did endorse Canada's unsuccessful amendment, condemning Hamas, with support from countries like the US, UK, France, and Germany. China opposed the Canadian amendment.
What was India?s stand?
“Terrorism is a malignancy and knows no borders, nationality, or race. The world should not buy into any justification of terror acts," Yojna Patel, India's deputy permanent representative to the UN, said in the Explanation of Vote. Analysts speculate that India's abstention may have been influenced by the omission of condemnation for Hamas' attacks. India, however, did not ignore the human costs, with Patel noting the grave and increasing concern about casualties in Gaza, particularly among civilians, women, and children. Patel reaffirmed India's support for a two-state resolution for the Israel-Palestine issue.
How does this impact India?s bilateral relationships?
While India's decision has not drawn substantial diplomatic responses, it has stirred some national debate. Some experts perceive India's abstention as aligning with its recent diplomatic inclination towards Israel. Despite this, India has extended aid to Palestine and its insistence on adhering to humanitarian laws indicates its sensitivity to Palestinian issues. The impact of this decision on bilateral relations remains to be seen, but past Indian votes that favored Israel at the UN did not negatively impact relationships.
What happens now?
The passage of the resolution is an important political signal but carries no real prospect of pushing Israel to cease its air and ground operations in Gaza. “It is the duty of this body to call out murderous terrorists by name, not hide them behind empty words. Why are you defending murderers?" said Gilad Ergan, Israel's Ambassador to the UN. With a stated aim of wiping out Hamas, Israel's armed forces are unlikely to cease their military operations in the near future.
Source: Live Mint
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From Florence to Nice
High altitude, an Italian debut in Florence and a finale on the French Riviera are on the 3,492km route for the 2024 Tour de France unveiled on Wednesday.
The Tour starts from Florence on June 29. The race features four high-altitude finishes as it crosses the Alps twice and squeezes in two time trials, including a potentially dramatic final day run from Monaco to Nice on July 21.
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Defending champion Jonas Vingegaard said he liked the route.
“I'm really excited about it. It looks super hard, at least the third week looks super hard. The climbs, certainly the high-altitude ones, look harder,” said the 26-year-old, the peloton's most accomplished climber.
Asked who his rivals might be, the Jumbo leader said he hoped for a four-way struggle this year.
“There's Tadej (Pogacar) and myself and now Primoz (Roglic) has joined Bora so if all of us and Remco Evenepoel are here it will be challenging, with four of us,” he said.
British rider Mark Cavendish will have as many as eight sprint stages but was downbeat on his chances of winning a record 35th stage.
“Honestly, I'm shocked at how hard this Tour de France is,” said the Astana rider.
It will be the first time the race does not finish in Paris which is off-limits as it prepares to host the Olympic Games.
The route, as spectacular as it is atypical, was revealed by Christian Prudhomme, president of the organisers ASO in front of almost 4,000 guests and many of the expected competitors, mayors from along the route and a large press pack at a conference centre in Paris.
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The Florence start and Nice finish were already known. That had prompted excitement over not only the first-ever Grand Depart in Italy but the first-ever finale outside Paris.
“It's difficult to replace Paris, so what better scenery could we give than a dazzling Monaco to Nice time trial,” said Prudhomme.
Nice mayor Christian Estrozi spoke of his Florentine ancestors and how historic the race route was.
“To be the town chosen to host what is likely to be the only final day that isn't in Paris, is a true honour and for me, the fact it also begins in Florence is like a wink from destiny,” said Estrozi.
Instead of the traditional last-day parade along the Champs Elysees, fans can anticipate a potentially decisive individual time trial along the Riviera coastline and over the hills between Monaco and Nice. It ends along the Promenade des Anglais in front of Nice's Pebble Beach.
The last stage evokes memories of the 1989 Tour when American Greg LeMond started a rare final-day time trial 50 seconds behind French leader Laurent Fignon and ended up winning the race by eight seconds.
A First for Italy
After the Florence start, the race takes in Rimini on the Adriatic coast before cutting across Italy via Bologna and Turin and into France over the Alps on stage four.
“The Tour has never climbed so high, so early,” said Prudhomme. “The panoramas in the high Alps are just splendid.”
Stage six will catch the eye of wine lovers as it takes in the “Route des Grands Crus” between Macon and Dijon while stage seven goes through the vineyards of Nuits-Saint-Georges in Burgundy.
There are a series of stages for the one-day specialists and for the sprinters, but the southern Alps will likely mark the start of the final battle for the yellow jersey.
A bigger than usual 60km total over the two time trials will please the fast men such as Evenepoel or Roglic.
The seven mountain stages, which include four high-altitude finales, with the highest at 2,802m on stage 19, will be to the liking of defending champion Vingegaard.
After Troyes in the Champagne region, the race swoops southeast toward Pau and the Pyrenees, then heads west through Nimes back to the Alps and then the mouthwatering finale on the Riviera.
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Kylian Mbappe’s Mother Could Soon Be Sacked As Her Son’s Agent
French football star Kylian Mbappe could be forced to sack his agent, his mother, Fayza Lamari amid transfer drama. Mbappe's transfer saga at Paris has always brought up new twists and turns during its course in the summer transfer window. It has now been revealed that the French footballer might have to part ways with his mother as his agent. According to MARCA, new FIFA regulations state that all agents and representatives of football stars must be licensed. They are also capping the commission that agents can earn on transfer fees and salaries while prohibiting multiple representation. Lamari is neither listed on the FIFA Agent Platform nor the new FIFA Agent Directory. Without a license, she cannot represent any footballer, negotiate a contract or take commissions, not even indirectly.
Over the years, Fayza Lamari has earned a reputation for being a shrewd negotiator who isn't scared to annoy someone. Her influence on Mbappe's career has been right from the get-go. It was reported that during Chelsea's trial of Kylian Mbappe, it was Lamari who issued an ultimatum to the club. Daniel Boga who was in charge of Mbappe's trial for The Blues revealed to the Athletic that he initially thought that it was his dad who took care of his son's paperwork and transfer duties. However, when his mother arrived one could tell that it was she who actually took care of everything. “At the beginning, I was speaking to the dad but when his mum came, and when that happened you could feel she was the one who controlled everything. She was the one talking to the club,” Boga said as quoted by SportBible.
Daniel Boga added that Kylian's dad did not talk much. He was much calmer and relaxed while mum was quite aggressive. “The mum is like fire – bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam!” he said. Boga also talked about how the father didn't get much involved in his son's trial. He never asked Mbappe to dribble or shoot while Fayza Lamari was quite the opposite. Chelsea were reportedly impressed with Mbappe's talent during the trial but they also wanted to see the French international's dedication to off-the-ball work. Boga who acted as an interpreter explained the situation to the player's family, but Lamari felt the need to issue a final statement for Chelsea.
Despite Kylian Mbappe's high-profile feud with Paris Saint-Germain, the French international has decided to remain at the club for the time being. It is expected that Real Madrid will be able to seal a transfer for the French international next summer. Fayza Lamari will likely be central to any negotiation over her son's future if any move were to materialise.
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