Parisians enjoy last night out before Covid-19 curfew comes into force

Thousands of Parisians enjoyed a last night out on Friday ahead of a curfew aimed at stemming the second wave of Covid-19 infections. From now on, around  20 million people in the Paris greater are [ . . . ]

Source: Parisians enjoy last night out before Covid-19 curfew comes into force

France teacher had received ‘days of threats’ before his brutal killing

The teacher who was beheaded in a street in France had received threats after showing controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his pupils, French media report.

Nine people have been arrested, including the parents of a child at the school where the teacher was working, judicial sources are quoted as saying.

The attacker was shot dead by police near the scene of Friday’s killing.

Police say the attacker was an 18-year-old man of Chechen origin.

The killing took place while a trial is under way in Paris over a 2015 Islamist assault on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which was targeted for publishing the cartoons.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the attack bore all the hallmarks of an “Islamist terrorist attack” and the teacher had been murdered because he “taught freedom of expression”.

Speaking at the scene hours after the incident, he stressed national unity. “They will not prevail, they will not divide us,” he said.

What do we know?

The attack occurred at about 17:00 (15:00 GMT) near a middle school in the town of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, some 30km (20 miles) north-west of central Paris.

A man wielding a large knife attacked the teacher in the street, cutting off his head. Witnesses are said to have heard the attacker shout “Allahu Akbar”, or “God is Greatest”.

The attacker then ran off, but local police were quickly at the scene, having been alerted by the public.

Continue reading “France teacher had received ‘days of threats’ before his brutal killing”

Why French Winemakers Are Welcoming Bats to Their Vineyards

Bats in the vineyardThe winged creatures may help the wine industry salvage a terrible year

It’s not such a batty idea: Bordeaux wine producers are building bat-friendly habitats on their vineyards to help eradicate the issue of grapevine moth and grape berry moth infestation.

And in doing so, they’re hoping to salvage a beleaguered French wine industry that’s suffering not only from pests but high tariffs, climate change and the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, all of which is decimating sales of high-end wine bottles.

As Forbes reports, wine producers in France are creating strips of grass between the vines and building bat boxes; the hope is that the insect-eating mammals will eradicate the moths that cause botrytis, a gray mold that’s seriously hurt the industry before, particularly Champagne.

A Bordeaux-based scientist has been catching bats in nets and testing for the moths in their digestive systems; unfortunately, even their presence can’t prove if the yields will increase, as there are too many factors (such as climate) that change every year.

Source: Why French Winemakers Are Welcoming Bats to Their Vineyards – InsideHook

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse schools the nation on “dark money” and the Supreme Court

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., did not pose any questions to Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Using poster board displays, Whitehouse argued that Barrett’s nomination reflects a pattern by conservative special interest groups of using “dark money” to influence who sits on the court. It’s the second day of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing. The Oct. 13 hearing comes three weeks before Election Day. The second of four days of scheduled testimony gave senators an opportunity to ask Barrett about her record and approach to the law.

Carla Bruni’s Self-Titled Album is about Comfort, not Confinement 

“Music is even more important now that we’re going through hard times, [but] I’m optimistic.”

“We have to look for love, it’s the least we can do/There’s nothing else in the world, that’s true,” sings model-turned-musician Carla Bruni, on the song, “Un grand amour.” This sentiment (though it sounds better in the original French) about sums up the M.O. behind Bruni’s new self-titled album, released October 9: Bruni is looking for old-school romance, and she’s not letting anyone (or any global pandemic) get in her way.

Carla Bruni was started at the end of 2019, but the recording took place in a whirlwind week in June, after France’s confinement lifted. Bruni wrote most of the album while quarantined in the South of France with her husband, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and their children. It’s her first album of original songs since 2013’s Little French Songs, which contained popular singles like “Chez Keith et Anita” and “Mon Raymond.” 2017 brought French Touch, an album of covers that ranged from standards like “Moon River” to more surprising cuts, like AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell,” and ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All.”

Bruni was born in Italy, to a concert pianist and a classical composer. He sister, actress and movie director Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, is also musical, and sang with Bruni on her recent song “Voglio l’amore.” Bruni grew up in France from the age of 7, and started working as a model in Paris at 19. She became one of the first people to be dubbed a “supermodel,” working for fashion houses like Dior, Chanel, Givenchy, and Yves Saint-Laurent. She quit modeling in her late 20s to pursue a career in music, with her debut album, Quelqu’un m’a dit (2002), becoming a surprise hit.

Bruni cemented her role as a French icon in 2008, when she married then-president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy. Though occasionally and unpredictably political, Bruni’s public presence went the way of most First Ladies’: towards charity work. But she never stopped making music.

“I hope when people listen they feel cuddly and on holiday,” Bruni said of the new album. “I hope they feel warm. Music is even more important now that we’re going through hard times, [but] I’m optimistic.” Continue reading “Carla Bruni’s Self-Titled Album is about Comfort, not Confinement “