Week in Review: Christmas in Paris, 'Black Tuesday' strikes and Congo's forgotten wars

French unions launch "Black Tuesday" strikes against pension reform, cartoonists use art to fight political repression, the magic of Christmas in Paris and revisiting Congo's forgotten wars.

ARTICLES

French unions rally against pension reform in ‘Black Tuesday’ protest

As nationwide strikes continue in France against President Emmanuel Macron’s signature pension reform, unions are planning mass demonstrations on Tuesday in a pre-Christmas push to get the government to withdraw its reform plan altogether.

'Mister Pensions' resigns amid scandal as French strikes continue

As massive strikes over pension reform in France continue for a 12th day – with unions livid, for one, that workers under the revamp would have to work until age 64 to retire without penalty – one key player is already out of a job. The father of the reform, Jean-Paul Delevoye, stepped down Monday under the glare of a transparency scandal.

Algeria's political cartoonists use social media to fight repression 

Since the beginning of the popular protest movement in Algeria, press cartoonists have supported it by publishing their satirical images on social networks. But after the conviction of one of their own and the election of Abdelmadjid Tebboune as president, they fear increased repression.


THE INTERVIEW

Exclusive: ICC chief prosecutor warns Libyan strongman Haftar

In a wide-ranging interview with FRANCE 24, the International Criminal Court's Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda discussed the ICC's ongoing cases regarding Libya, Ivory Coast, the Palestinian Territories, Afghanistan, Myanmar and the Philippines.

 

YOU ARE HERE

The magic of Christmas in Paris

Paris really puts on a show for the Christmas season: The whole city is immersed in a warm and magical atmosphere, and the Christmas market at Tuileries Gardens delights locals and tourists alike. Meanwhile, the Printemps department store shows off the handmade puppets in its shopfront windows. But the festive season is also about food: French bakers and pastry chefs work frantically to showcase their holiday creations, while butchers are equally rushed off their feet. FRANCE 24 takes you to discover the magic of a Christmas in Paris.

 

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Luxury retail therapy: A French recipe for success

This week we're exploring some of Paris's famed department stores: These monuments to shopping have been in business since the mid-to-late 18th century and are internationally renowned. But the shopping experience is the result of a lot of hard work by large numbers of people. Our team spent 24 hours behind the scenes at the Printemps store. We also met Frank Rosenthal, a retail expert, to find out more about how the "Grands Magasins" have remained such important institutions over the decades.

 

REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK

Unpunished Crimes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Few people have heard of the two Congo Wars (1996-2003) that left millions of people dead. FRANCE 24 returned to some of the worst battlegrounds, from Kisangani to Bukavu.

 

PERSPECTIVE

French pension reform 'would increase inequality'

As France sees fresh protests against pension reform, sociologist and professor of political science Eric Fassin says it's time for French people to come together in a united defence of their social security. He says the planned pension reforms would only make the poor poorer and would increase inequality in the country.

FOCUS

How China keeps a close eye on Uighur diaspora in France

"Re-education camps"' have exposed China's programme aimed at brainwashing Uighurs in Xinjiang province. But the government has also crafted a surveillance system to keep a close eye on Uighurs living abroad. By threatening their families back in China, Beijing aims to prevent the diaspora from speaking out.

 

REPORTERS

A rare look at the restoration of Notre-Dame Cathedral
After an April 15 fire consumed its roof and spire, Paris’s Notre-Dame Cathedral is undergoing massive repair work. The site remains closed to the public, but we got rare access inside to see how things are coming along and got a sense of the momentous task that still lies ahead.

 

THE 51 PERCENT

Go West, young woman

Cowgirls are reclaiming the American West, with about 30 percent of US ranches now owned by women. Also, why hailing a cab in Mexico as a woman can be a dangerous move, thanks to the high level of assaults and rape.

 

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Syrian director Waad al-Kateab's 'For Sama': a tale of humanity beyond war

"What a life I've brought you into. Will you ever forgive me?" That was the heartbreaking question that Waad al-Kateab asked her newborn daughter in the documentary "For Sama", which has been shortlisted for an Oscar. She recorded some 500 hours of footage, documenting the deadly siege on Aleppo launched by the Syrian regime and Russian forces. It's a visual letter about the human cost of the ongoing conflict, and it's dedicated to her daughter. The director spoke to us about her tale of humanity beyond war.

 

PEOPLE & PROFIT

Striking out: France sees biggest walkouts since 1995 over pension reform

As France sees its biggest strikes in more than 20 years, we take a look at how powerful unions can bring the country to a standstill. Meanwhile, one in four people in France say they've experienced discrimination at work. 

 

ENCORE!

The high notes of 2019 from the world of music

'Tis the season to look back at the tunes that marked 2019. FRANCE 24's special Christmas show rounds up the high notes of 2019 and what to look forward to in 2020.

 

Director Karim Aïnouz on the female perspective and fighting fascism 

Karim Aïnouz tells us about his latest film "Invisible Life", which won the "Un Certain Regard" prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It tells the story of two vivacious young sisters grappling with the oppression and brutality of the patriarchy in 1950s Brazil. Aïnouz explains why those issues are just as relevant some 70 years later.

 

FASHION

Fashion influencer and Instagram star Steves Hounkponou

The digital revolution and explosion of social media have given rise to an entirely new job in fashion: the influencer. Courted by brands, influencers are closer to "consultants" than journalists. Steves Hounkponou is one of the unique personalities in this dynamic new landscape, with more than 117,000 followers on Instagram. He tells us his unique story, from childhood in Benin to his successful career in Paris.