U.S., UK And France Denounce Nuclear Ban Treaty

By MAPW Australia | CC BY 2.0

By David Krieger for Counter Punch – The U.S., UK and France have never shown enthusiasm for banning and eliminating nuclear weapons. It is not surprising, therefore, that they did not participate in the United Nations negotiations leading to the recent adoption of the nuclear ban treaty, or that they joined together in expressing their outright defiance of the newly-adopted treaty. In a joint press statement, issued on July 7, 2017, the day the treaty was adopted, the U.S., UK and France stated, “We do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it.” Seriously? Rather than supporting the countries that came together and hammered out the treaty, the three countries argued: “This initiative clearly disregards the realities of the international security environment.” Rather than taking a leadership role in the negotiations, they protested the talks and the resulting treaty banning nuclear weapons. They chose hubris over wisdom, might over right. They based their opposition on their belief that the treaty is “incompatible with the policy of nuclear deterrence, which has been essential to keeping the peace in Europe and North Asia for over 70 years.”

France Will ‘Ban All Petrol And Diesel Vehicles By 2040′

Georgia pedestrians (Stephen Lee Davis / Transportation for America)

By Chloe Farand for Independent – France plans to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, the country’s new environment minister has announced. Nicolas Hulot made the announcement as he unveiled a series of measures as part of newly elected President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to make the country carbon neutral by 2050. Mr Hulot said he recognised the target would put pressure on France’s car manufacturers, but he said they currently had projects which “can fulfil that promise”. As part of the plan, poorer households will receive a premium so they can swap their polluting vehicles for clean alternatives. The announcement comes after Volvo said on Wednesday it planned to built only electric and hybrid vehicles from 2019. Speaking at a press conference, Mr Hulot told reporters France would stop using coal to produce electricity by 2022 and that up to €4bn of investments will help to boost energy efficiency. The announcements are part of a five-year-plan to encourage clean energy and fulfil the country’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. Mr Hulot said the government wanted to maintain the country’s “leadership” in climate policy. “We want to demonstrate that fighting against climate change can lead to an improvement of French people’s daily lives,” he said.

‘We’ve Made History’: Ireland Joins France, Germany And Bulgaria In Banning Fracking​

Hildegarde Naughton, TD for Galway West

By Lorraine Chow for Eco Watch – McLoughlin also issued a statement that mentioned the impact of fracking in the U.S.: This law will mean communities in the West and North West of Ireland will be safeguarded from the negative effects of hydraulic fracking. Counties such as Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan and Clare will no longer face negative effects like those seen in cities and towns in the United States, where many areas have now decided to implement similar bans to the one before us. If fracking was allowed to take place in Ireland and Northern Ireland it would pose significant threats to the air, water and the health and safety of individuals and communities here. Fracking must be seen as a serious public health and environmental concern for Ireland. Environmental group Friends of the Earth Ireland celebrated the bill’s passage. “A day to celebrate. A day for #ClimatePride. The Irish parliament has passed a law to #BanFracking.

France Declares All New Rooftops Must Be Topped With Plants Or Solar Panels

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By Liam S. Whittaker for CS Globe – A new law recently passed in France mandates that all new buildings that are built in commercial zones in France must be partially covered in either plants or solar panels. Green roofs, as they are called, have an isolating effect which helps to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat a building during the winter or cool it in the summer. They are capable of retaining rainwater and reducing problems with runoff, and also offer birds a place to call home in the urban jungle. French environmental activists originally wanted to pass a law that would make the green roofs cover the entire surface of all new roofs. However, partially covered roofs make for a great start, and are still a huge step in the right direction. Some say the law that was passed is actually better, as it gives the business owners a chance to install solar panels to help provide the buildings with renewable energy, thereby leaving even less of a footprint. Green roofs are already very popular in Germany and Australia, as well as Canada’s city of Toronto! This by-law was adopted in 2009, by the city of Toronto which mandated green roofs on all new industrial and residential buildings.

Could Proportional Representation Save French And American Democracies?

Storm Crypt / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Natasha Hakimi Zapata for Truth Dig – The alternative is called proportional representation (PR). Under a PR system, the electorate casts its votes nationwide for whatever political party they choose, and then seats are distributed by percentage. You don’t have to win the majority of votes in any one geographically-bound district to enter the parliament. This allows for the rapid growth of minority parties, and more political diversity. So, for instance, in PR-using Israel, there are 10 political parties in the Knesset. PR-using Sweden has eight parties represented. … It’s impossible to know exactly what would result from, for instance, converting the U.S. Congress into a proportional system. But we do know that the current system is far from popular, while also very hard to dislodge. In 2016, members of the U.S. House had a 97 percent re-election rate; and yet the latest Gallup poll puts Congress’s approval rating at 24 percent. A shift like the one Mélenchon is proposing in France would also require Constitutional changes, which are very difficult to implement. But the same could be said for many of the ideas Sanders ran on, like a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

France Bans Pesticides In Public Green Spaces

Paris springtime Eiffel Tower with girl

By Staff for Associated Press. Pesticides will be banned in all public green spaces from Sunday while non-professional gardeners will no longer be able to buy pesticides over the counter. The new measure is part of a larger green program adopted by French lawmakers that also includes a ban on plastic bags for vegetables. The pesticide ban covers public forests, parks and gardens, but local authorities are still allowed to use pesticides in cemeteries. The new law also stipulates that pesticides will be prohibited in private gardens from 2019.

Trumpism: Anger Going Viral

Stop Trumpism Highway View by Chris Owens

By Padraig Reidy for Bill Moyers Journal. It is difficult to argue against people who are sincere but not necessarily serious, and whose aims seem to lie entirely in the gesture — the great big NO to the world. But that is the task at hand. The first thing to do is to reinforce the idea that actions have consequences. If you refuse to help Syrian civilians in Syria, you will end up with refugees in your own country. If you vote to leave a stable trading community, your economy will suffer. The second thing is to treat people like grown-ups, in a way populist leaders refuse to do: The world has changed, and continues to change radically. Promising to turn back the tide, as the new right does, is idiotic and insulting. Countering populism involves a genuine appraisal of what a future for working-class people looks like — too often this is simply ignored, or dealt with on grounds dictated by the right — as if, for example, tighter controls on immigration are somehow the answer to the huge challenges of automation and globalization.

French News Channel’s Journalists On Strike For Editorial Independence

Staff of French news channel iTele vote to renew their strike for another day on November 7, 2016 in front of the channel's headquarters in Boulogne-Billancourt/AF

By Staff of RSF – France’s political leaders and the agency that is supposed to guarantee the freedom of its broadcast media seem unable to respond to the deepening conflict between Vincent Bolloré, the billionaire owner of the French 24-hour TV news channel iTélé, and iTélé’s journalists, who are fighting for editorial independence. The channel’s journalists have been on strike for the past three weeks in what is now the second-longest stoppage in the broadcast sector since May 1968.

Young French Immigrants Begin Solidarity Chain To Feed Refugees

The youth cooked sandwiches and typical cuisine from West Africa, then delivered them in a dozen cars to homeless refugees in Paris. | Photo: Video Capture

By Staff for Tele Sur – “We also are children of immigrants, we grew up in poverty, the principle of sharing is part of who we are,” said Souleymane. A video inviting young residents of Paris’ immigrant suburbs to give free meals to homeless refugees went viral on Facebook, reaching over 50,000 views by Monday. “We also are children of immigrants, we grew up in poverty, the principle of sharing is part of who we are,” said Souleymane, a resident of the Sarcelles suburb where the project began.

France And The Struggle Over Labour Reforms

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By Maxime Benatouil for The Bullet – The so-called Labour Law, passed en force by the French government on 20 July, is the most serious attack against the “Code du Travail,” already undermined for the past thirty years. A short historical overview is necessary to better grasp the destructive scope of this law, promoted and enforced by a socialist government – cruel irony!

French Police Fire Tear Gas At Labor Reform Protesters

Demonstrators clash with French riot police during a march in Paris, France, to demonstrate against the new French labour law, September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

By Brian Love for Reuters – Riot police fired tear gas and water cannon at protesters marching on Thursday in France against labor reforms in what unions say will likely be the last demonstrations to try to overturn the law. Scuffles broke out in cities including Paris, Nantes, Toulouse, Rennes, Grenoble and Montpellier, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. Hooded youths hurled bottles, beer cans and on occasion makeshift firebombs on the fringes of marches against the law that will make hiring and firing easier.

In France, Black Lives Matter Has Become A Rallying Cry

Black Lives Matter France movement has gained momentum over the past months [Courtesy of collectif des Associations Unies Solitaires pour l'Afrique et sa Renaissance]

By Nabeela Zahir for Aljazeera – Paris, France – Young protesters gathered for a demonstration at Gare Du Nord in the heart of Paris. Amid a heavy police presence, they defiantly chanted “Black Lives Matter” and called for justice following the death of Adama Traore while in police custody. “The French police are killing our brothers, Adama didn’t even do anything wrong. He was killed at the hands of the ones who were supposed to protect him,” said one demonstrator.

India To France, Millions Rising Up Against Effects Of Western Domination

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By Vijay Prashad for AlterNet – Colonialism made us feel backward. It was always Europe that was advanced and enlightened, and it was always the East that was backward and wretched. Rather than honestly say that they had come to plunder, the colonial rulers said that they had come to school the East – it needed to be civilized. Every European colonizer used the phrase – the French called it mission civilisatrice, the Portuguese called it missão civilizadora and the English called it liberalism.

France Demands An End To TTIP Talks

A sign against the TTIP free trade agreement in Frankfurt, Germany. Photograph: Ralph Orlowski/Reuters

By Sean Farrell for The Guardian – France has been sceptical about TTIP from the start and has threatened to block the deal, arguing the US has offered little in return for concessions made by Europe. All 28 EU member states and the European parliament will have to ratify TTIP before it comes into force. Fekl’s statement follows similarly gloomy comments from the German economy minister, Sigmar Gabriel. He said on Sunday: “The negotiations with the United States have de facto failed, even though nobody is really admitting it.”

France Burkini: Highest Court Suspends Ban

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By Staff of BBC News – The ban in Villeneuve-Loubet “seriously and clearly illegally breached fundamental freedoms”, it found. The ruling could set a precedent for up to 30 other towns that imposed bans on their beaches, chiefly on the Riviera. At least three mayors have already said they will keep the bans in their towns. The court will make a final decision later on the bans’ legality.