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Ireland: the devastating hurricane Ophelia

November 21, 2017

Hurricane Ophelia hit the South-West of Ireland on Monday, October 16. It is a post-tropical tempest and the country was under red alert because of the dangerousness of the strong gust of wind which struck the country.

The wind was over 148km/h that is huge and made the people afraid for their lives. As a consequence, the authoritises closed the schools, many public services, transports and they ordered people to stay at home and not try to get out. There were also many risks of floods, falling of trees and the inhabitants were without electricity. Furthermore, we can also say that it was a deadly hurricane because 3 people died due to the weather conditions. The former Atlantic hurricane downed trees and power lines, sent waves surging over coastal defenses and disrupted flights again on Tuesday, a day after making landfall on Ireland’s south coast with gusts of almost 148km per hour.

In the United Kingdom, Meteorological Offices placed  Northern Ireland in “orange alert”, the last but one level, being able to require for the population to protect itself against the consequences “potentially mortal” from planned weather conditions.
Sun and sky took an orange red tint on a large part of the country, including in London, because of the dust brought from Africa and Southern Europe by the storm.

Camille B.


Mark Zuckerberg, the future American president?

November 19, 2017

Mark Zuckerberg aka the 31-year-old Facebook cofounder and the CEO is the sixth-richest person in the world and leader of an unstoppable social network/mobile ad empire. But does Zuckerberg aspire to more?

For a few months, the president of Facebook has been doing a tour around the US. We have seen him weeding a garden, chatting with policemen, attending a rodeo, taking a woman in his arms, fondling a calf.

All those activities are published on his Facebook profile.
During his visits, he is accompanied by a few photographers to capture the moment. Moreover, he hired a dozen of people who are in charge of checking the comments on his publications.

In April 2016, a suspcious document was sent to the American Financial Authority : this document garanties that Mark Zuckerberg could be a government leader and the boss of Facebook at the same time.
Furthermore, he has created a whole new class of non-voting shares. By this way the chairman could donate and invest his fortune without losing control of his company.
One element among others…
Contrary to others, the billionaire does not only pose with his employees, he has decided to step outside of his comfort zone. In February, he said that he wanted to create “global community”. His candidature is taken seriously and politicians begin to worry. Indeed he meets to a lot of requirements :
– His candidature could be very interesting, he could represent the modern and trendy side of the USA
– He has his own fortune, so he could pay his campaign by himself
– He is already known by everyone
But why does the CEO of Facebook could want to become president ? He already has richness and fame. Furthermore, he already said no twice to the question “Would you like to continue your career by becoming a politician?” a few years ago. Because  “He wants to do something bigger, which gives him influence and impact on the world” Nick Bilton replied, a journalist of Vanity Fair by quoting a few anonymous relatives.
Maybe, he will become one of those billionaires who turned into politicians …
To be continued…


Joan Cornella

November 17, 2017

From July 1st to August 26th, Joan Cornella exhibited at the Arts Factory Gallery in Paris during his tour. It was the opportunity for the visitors to discover the world of this Spanish illustrator and cartoonist who became famous by turning with black humor society’s sensitive issues.

Joan Cornella started collaboration with Spanish newspapers before publishing his first album in 2009, Abulio. This work was very different from the comic strips which are exhibited today, in Paris. The drawings are in black and white, they are more realistic, there are dialogues.

Progessively, he gave up dialogues and introduced vivid colors.  He adopted a simplistic and purified style by following the rules af the American comic strips of 1930, and chose to use a more ironic way to denounce society’s issues. He started posting some of his works on the web and it quickly went viral.

His world is a mix between an infantile universe and an extreme violence. He proposes an absurd work which can laugh at everything and pushes back the boundaries of political correctness. He stages smiling characters with a cruel fate, in gory and glaucous situations such as suicide, infanticide, racism, disability, distortions and mutilations.

Through this gruesome universe, Joan Cornella denouces inequalities and violence of the time. He particularly attacks hypocrisy and the superficiality of the web, which, in his opinion, define our world, the narcissism of the digital life in search of the ultimate selfie.



Paris 2024

November 15, 2017

 In September, we learnt that the Olympic Games of 2024 would take place in Paris, it was a great surprise because the competition was tough with Los Angeles.

The Olympic committee and the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo are already preparing stadiums and places where the different sports tournaments will be located.

Competitions will not only take place in the downtown of Paris but also in the surrounding areas and in France generally speaking for football (soccer) matches.

Let’s have a look at the places where the Olympic sports and paralympic sports will take place

Downton Paris:

    • At the Champs de Mars: Beach Volley and football 5 a side
    • At the Eiffel Tower : Marathon, swimming, triathlon, marathon for Olympic sports  
    • At the Champs Elysée: Cycling
    • At the Invalides : Archery
    • Near Boulogne, at Roland-Garros : tennis of course, but also boxing

And many more sports, the list is not exhaustive.

Surrounding areas of Paris :

  •    At the château de Versailles: Horse riding with test matches of eventing, dressage and jumping
  •     Stade de France : water activities like Diving, swimming, synchronized swimming will take place

and a lot of other places, for example football will be in a lot of famous stadiums all around the country: Bordeaux stadium, Velodrome at Marseille etc. 
The Olympic village will occur in the city of Saint Denis 5 minutes away from the Stade de France where athletes  from every country will be able to share a moment of chill in green areas arranged for the Olympic Games.

The Olympic Games will be a great opportunity for the city of Paris to improve its dynamism, transports, services, tourism and infrastructures which will make the new symbol  and reputation of the city !



November 12, 2017

Nowdays the Elephants and the Rhinoceros have become an endangered specie.

There are two reasons for that:

  • First and foremost they are hunted by hunters who want their ivory horn; this is called poaching.
  • Secondly elephants are used in circus to lead a show.

A lot of people start to denounce those pratices and stand for a ban on animals in circus. However it isn’t enough to stop the poaching of elephants. More and more elephants and rhinoceros are killed for their horn. The main reason is their price. Indeed ivory is a very precious material on black market. You can count 1,100 dollars per kilo for the same tusk. Both of these animals have ivory horns, so they are hunted.

I can give you two examples of recent poaching :

       Vince and Satao :

  • It happened this year. On 7 March 2017, a rhinoceros named Vince was killed by three bullets in his head  by poachers for his horn  in a  Zoo of Paris.
  • Secondly Poachers killed one of Africa’s last remaining  big tusker elephants on 6 March 2017. His name was Satao he was murdered  by a poisoned arrow in Kenya. He was 50 years old.

The fall in number is very worrying: To set an example I took the situation of Elephants in Vietnam:

The decline of wild elephant number in Vietnam (from 1975 to 2004)

  • 1975 – 1980:  2,000
  • 1990 – 1992: 600
  • 1993 – 1995:  305
  • 1997: 170
  • 1997 – 2000: 114
  • 2002 – 2004: 94

=> If we compare 1975 to 2004 the number of Elephants has slumped to 2000 at around 94. During the 1980s and 1990s , 1400 elephants were killed.  This step is the most  dramatic one. Elephants in Vietnam are declining but more generally this phenomenon spreads to others countries.

Many associations have been created to protect animals from poachers:

  • The International Anti-poaching Foundation: founded in 2009, it engages with communities and encourages research and development for new technologies in preserving wildlife biodiversity .
  • World Wildlife Fund: it works to influence government policies and regulations, and to educate, encourage people to make conscientious decisions.
  • Wildlife ConsevationSociety. Their efforts have helped to protect over 200 million acres of land across the globe.
  • Chengeta Wildlife: this organisation supports and funds training for groups in Africa to protect wildlife from poachers, especially the elephants.
  • The WILD foundation: created in the early the 1960’s, WILD came from his founder Ian Player’s obsession with saving the white rhino from extinction. WILD continues to take  action against poaching of white rhinos and other African animals.

Poaching is the fourth most imporant trafficking  on earth after drugs, human beings and counterfeiting. Each year the number of Elephants and Rhinoceros decreases. If people don’t react these animals  will die out.



Veganism in America

November 10, 2017

You have probably noticed that Veganism is increasing quite fast in America.  According to a survey made in 2014, 6% of Americans identify themselves as vegans. But why is the number of American Vegans growing a little bit faster everyday  ? Can we consider this lifestyle as a trend or a philosophy of life ?

Fist of all, we need to clarify the notion of being «  vegan ». The website The Vegan Society defines veganism as  « A philosophy and way of living that seeks to exclude – as far as possible- all forms of exploitation of, cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose ; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment ». In other words, being vegan excludes the consumption of any animals or any animal by-products.

Saving the animal is the main reason why people are going vegan lately. Indeed, today, the agri-food industry is heartless and does not hesitate to torture and abuse  animals to make more profit. Vegan people do not think killing is justified and our animals deserve a proper life, respect and love. Animal mistreatment has gone too far.

This picture illustrates the production of foie gras of 2014 in Périgord, France. The lack of liberty is quite evident here; these geese have never seen sunlight in their entire life. Despite the fact that they basically can’t express natural behaviour, their cages are not hygienic and they are fed with meat that industry has thrown away and chemical products.

The meat production is not the only domain where animals suffer. Cows, for example, could live to well over 20 years of age, while on ‘dairy’ farms they are usually killed between 3-4 years of age when milk production is not considered as « profitable ». Cows become beef meat and are killed sooner. Is this fair ?

Is this fair ? Do animals deserve all these ill-treatments ?

 Moreover,  a vegan diet is often said to be healthier than regular meat based diet even if a lot of stereotypes surround veganism. All the nutrients ( and proteins) our body need is contained in vegan products. The most important is watching  how healthy our diet is, and maybe adapt it to our own needs and taste.  We often forget that meat hardens blood vessels, increases the risk of type 2 diabetes  and that the major part of the meat we find in grocery stores are full of additives and pathogenic bacterias, such as salmonella.

 Going Vegan is also a committement for the health of the planet. A lot of people fail to rember the environmental consequences linked to massive meat and diary production. It contributes to global warming, excessive pollution, deforestation, land degradation and species extinction.

 This is food for thoughts! 



Gun and violence in America

November 8, 2017

The second amendment to the US Constitution says : ” A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”.

As we can see, America’s need for gun ownership is deeply rooted and dates back to the Bill of Rights written in 1791. It is for them a fundamental right and no one, even the former president Barak Obama, can back out of this. It would be considered as the infringement of Americans’ basic liberties.

It is for American people the sure-fire answer : they can  protect themselves from danger. As they are scared, they use violence. They merely think that the State cannot deal with everything, and so the people have to be in charge of their own security.

In addition to this mentality, guns in America are cheap and readily available.

The main question is : Is it possible to limit the bearing of arms in America?

It is actually a thorny question. In fact, there is in America a lobby named the NRA, National Rifle Association of America. Its goal is to promote the gun ownership in the United States. It was founded by gun-makers in 1871. The association has also links with the Republican party, which won the last presidential election.  They are four million members and it is sometimes said that it is the most powerful lobbying organization in the US. Thus, it is very complicated to struggle against gun permit.

An NRA spokesman once explained that ” the only person that stops a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun”. It sheds light on the real need of American people to have guns in their daily life.

Yet, some figures cannot be ignored :

  • 10 000 people every year because of guns.
  • 1 person out of 3 knows someone who was killed by an arm
  • 32 people die every day
  • 140 people go to the ER everyday

Plus, some mass shouting can not be forgotten :

  • The Virginia Tech attack in 2007, is sadly a good example :

A guy, named Seung-Hui Cho, wanted to become famous. He found a way to fulfil his ambition by killing 32 people on 16 December 2007. This mass shooting shocked  public’s opinion especially because the authorities found out that he owned the gun legally.

  • Few years later, in 2012,  a new tragedy happened on 14 December of that year.

Adam Lanza killed his mother, and went to an elementary school. He shot 20 children and 6 adults. Once again, he owned the gun legally.

  • in Sutherland Springs, Texas last Sunday (November 5th) a man opened fire in a church killing over 20 people.

After these events we can wonder : Why is it still a right to bear arms in America, to the views of these aftermath?

In other countries, this is totally forbidden. For example, after the massacre of 16 children in Dublin, Ireland, in 1996, Britain imposed a blanket ban on guns.

On the contrary, even after the mass shooting of Las Vegas a month ago, which led to more than 50 dead people and over 200 injured people, President Donald Trump told the Las Vegas shooting victims “ We are there for you” but avoided talking about gun policy.

There is no denying : it is still a hot-button issue.

Camille M.