Coronavirus: Numbers May Be Four Times Higher in China

More than 232,000 people may have been infected in the first phase of the coronavirus in mainland China, a number four times higher than that released by the authorities at the time. The conclusion is from a study carried out in Hong Kong, which comes after Beijing was accused by several countries of not being transparent about the numbers and the origin of the pandemic.

Coronavirus: Merkel, Others Urge Transparency from China

German Chancellor Angela Merkel today called on the Chinese government to be transparent about the origin story of the new coronavirus. This comes after three other countries have, on their part, already expressed suspicion about the information made available by China. “I believe the more transparent China is about the origin story of the virus, the better it is for everyone in the world in order to learn from it,” Merkel said at a press conference. 

Macron Calls on Europeans to Act in Face of “Arms Race”

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday urged Europeans to play a more direct role in the face of global turmoil by participating fully in upcoming negotiations on arms control. Macron also invited European partners to engage in a “strategic dialogue” on the deterrent role of France’s nuclear capacity as the country embarks on a costly modernization of its arsenal.

Macron Courts Poland, Criticizes Poland’s Courts

Emmanuel Macron wants to find a new friend in Poland, but he is not going to abandon his ties with Russia. The French President tried to accomplish this difficult task during his two-day visit to Warsaw, where he showed caution and did not criticize the country’s government for a rollback from democracy. Macron also tried to recruit Poland as a military ally, but emphasized the need to maintain relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Libya: Turkey and France Accuse Each Other of Breaking Cease Fire

Less than two weeks after the Libyan conference in Berlin, French President Emmanuel Macron has sharply criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to Macron, Turkey has broken its promise not to interfere in the affairs of the troubled North African state. The French president views the issue as a “clear violation” of what was agreed in Berlin.

Strikes Continue in France, Cabinet Passes Controversial Pension Reform

On Friday, the French cabinet discussed and passed the controversial pension reform project proposed by President Emmanuel Macron. Opponents of the reform have chosen this date to organize strikes and demonstrations. The head of the General Confederation of Labor, Philippe Martinez pledged to “withstand the withdrawal” of the reform project. Once it is adopted, however, the cabinet will refer the bill to Parliament for decision.

Macron Vows to Defend Sahel States Against Jihad

A rise in the attacks by terrorists in West Africa has raised concerns over French military involvement in the region. The current French operation has been on-going since 2014, coordinating security related issues with Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Chad. Currently, over 4,500 French troops are in the region. Despite the challenge, the French President, Emmanuel Macron vows to give a new force to the fight armed groups in the Sahel states in West Africa.

71 Soldiers Killed in Attack on Niger Army Base

An ambush by suspected Islamic militants in a military base in western Niger has left more than 70 soldiers dead. Twelve soldiers were injured in the attack that is said to be the deadliest in the region in living memory. Niger’s Defense Minister, Issoufou Katambe, said that there was a fierce battle after around 700 militants attacked the military base in Inates, near the border with Mali. “Sadly, we regret to announce the following toll: 71 military personnel killed, 12 injured. Other missing,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement aired on national television.

Normandy Talks – A Breakdown of Each Nation’s Geopolitical Interests

The Normandy Format talks started on December 9, 2019 in Paris. The countries present are Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France. The main goal is to resolve the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. The group was created in 2014 but the talks have been stalled until now. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky stated peace with Russia is his top priority.

Trump Calls Macron’s NATO Statement “Highly Offensive”

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump described French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement that NATO was “brain dead” as “very offensive.” In an interview with The Economist in November, Macron stated that NATO is in a “brain dead” state, due to a lack of strategic coordination between European allies on the one hand, and the United States and Turkey on the other.

Macron Lands in China, Will Raise “Taboo Topics”

Frеnсh Prеѕіdеnt Mасrоn аrrіvеd in Shаnghаі оn Monday, hоріng to promote France-China economic аnd trаdе соореrаtіоn. However, Chіnа аlѕо wаrnеd him nоt tо tаlk аbоut sensitive topics, such аѕ Hоng Kong dеmоnѕtrаtіоnѕ. Thіѕ is the ѕесоnd tіmе thаt Mасrоn has paid a state vіѕіt to Chіnа ѕіnсе he tооk оffісе. Mасrоn wіll also раrtісіраtе іn thе Intеrnаtіоnаl Import Expo. This іѕ the ѕесоnd tіmе thаt Chіnа hаѕ hоѕtеd thіѕ іmроrt fair since thе Chіnа-US trаdе wаr brоkе оut.

Investigation Continues into Paris Police Murders – Personal or Terrorism?

On Thursday, a police officer stabbed four of his fellow workers at a police station in central Paris and was eventually shot dead by police. It is unclear whether the murder by their co-worker was a terrorist act or personal. The investigation into the killer’s residential home and interrogation of his wife did not reveal his motive for killing his colleagues.

Dozens of Foreign Leaders Say “Adieu” to Jacques Chirac

Dozens of world leaders, including German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Russian President Vladimir Putin, attended the funeral of former French Present Jacques Chirac, which began on Monday. His body arrived at the Church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris. The archbishop of Paris, Michel Obetit, leaned in front of the coffin of Chirac, wrapped in a French flag, before being moved from the hall outside the church, where he was greeted by a large crowd of citizens.

Strike Over Pension Reform Paralyzes Public Transport in Paris

The wave of protests against the French President, Emmanuel Macron, opened this Friday with a strike on public transport in Paris. The reason is pension reform, which can lead to an extension of working time and a loss of benefits for some professions. Ten of the 16 subway lines in the capital stopped working, as well as two-thirds of buses and a good part of the suburban trains. Macron and his Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, hope to diffuse this and other protests through a broad social dialogue before the approval of the reform next summer.

Rouhani: Negotiating with US “Meaningless” Unless Sanctions Lifted

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in a telephone call with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, said that talks with the United States would be “meaningless,” unless sanctions are lifted. Rouhani also said that “if agreements with Europe are finalized, we’re ready to return to JCPOA commitments, and a meeting between Iran and the 5+1 is only possible when sanctions are lifted.”

New French Law to Enable Lesbians, Single Women Access to In Vitro Fertilization

France’s government under the stewardship of president Emmanuel Macron has drafted a law on bioethics. The law includes broadening the list of people who can have access to treatments such as artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization. Single women of any sexual orientation will no longer have to travel abroad to have children. The proposed law if passed would give them access for the first time to assisted reproduction medical techniques.

As U.S.-Iran Tensions Mount, Europe Tries to Save the Deal

Amid ongoing saber rattling between the United States and Iran, two European envoys have been dispatched to attempt to save the Iran Nuclear Deal.  Emmanuel Bonne, representing French President Emmanuel Macron, was in Tehran this week, and British Foreign Minister (and Prime Ministerial candidate) Jeremy Hunt is headed for Brussels.  Meanwhile, Iran says it’s ready to talk, conditionally.  It seems unlikely the United States will be as willing to listen.

Unions Join France’s Yellow Jacket Movement

Yellow Jacket protesters in France got a boost this week when some trade unionists announced their decision to join the movement. The “gilets jaunes” have been in the streets of France, clashing with police for six months. Protests started after the government of Emmanuel Macron moved to cut pensions and raise gas prices, but this was more of a last straw, members of the movement say.

The group’s name come from the road safety vests that early marchers donned when they started blocking roads in rural areas.