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Illicit pandemic travel, Audrey Hepburn behind the glamour and Da Vinci's Loire Valley

·5-min read

This week, FRANCE 24 explored efforts to make the French language less sexist and spoke to those daring to travel in these pandemic times. We also took a look at Audrey Hepburn outside the limelight and witnessed Leonardo Da Vinci's lingering legacy in the castles of Loire Valley. Further afield, the UN special envoy on Myanmar made the case for targeted sanctions after the coup.

‘Françaises, Français’: Could the French language be less sexist?

Efforts to address entrenched gender bias in the French language ran into familiar resistance this week as lawmakers called for a ban on “gender-neutral” writing. But experts say the rearguard action is neither backed up by history nor suited to present times.

With cultural venues off limits due to Covid-19, the French find refuge in art galleries

Spared the shutdown orders imposed on other cultural venues, French art galleries have seen record numbers of visitors in the last three months and have come to symbolise the last bastion of a pre-pandemic world. For arts professionals, more patrons are a welcome relief for a sector hard hit by the health crisis and uncertain of its future.

As more governments mull vaccine passports, critics raise discrimination fears

As vaccinations pick up pace around the world, the idea of “vaccine passports” is gaining traction among governments and industries looking for a way out of shutdowns, curfews and travel bans. But while some see it as a potential ticket to freedom, others fear such documentation could exclude or discriminate against those made most vulnerable by the pandemic.

Breaking the rules for a ‘Covid-19 break’: ‘I just want to feel alive for a few days’

Sara wanted to visit museums again, David found a sneaky way to get around border checks and Matthew is taking the first chance he gets to jump on a plane to Italy: One year into the coronavirus crisis, more Europeans feel the need to go on Covid-19 breaks.

VIDEOS

Facing shortages, French medical centres forced to delay Covid-19 vaccinations

Nearly 2 million people in France have received a first injection of the Covid-19 vaccine so far, and over 350,000 have received their second shot, the health ministry said Tuesday. But many vaccination centres do not have enough doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab to meet demand and appointments in the coming weeks are scarce.

SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

'Targeted sanctions are needed,' says UN special envoy on Myanmar

In an interview with FRANCE 24, Christine Schraner Burgener, the UN special envoy on Myanmar, held out hope that the military would not brutally crack down on the ongoing mass protest movement against the February 1 coup. She also called for "targeted sanctions" on leaders of the regime and said she had asked them to allow her to visit the country, a request they have rejected "for the moment".

REPORTERS

Covid-19: The Swedish exception?

No face masks, no lockdown, no closure of restaurants or schools: the Swedish government relied on the Swedes' self-discipline to battle the Covid-19 pandemic. Most of them supported its decisions and working from home became the norm. But in the end, calls to be responsible and socially distance proved insufficient. Although Sweden's Covid-19 figures are no worse than the European average, the country has reported 10 times more deaths than its Scandinavian neighbours.

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Lawmakers in US state of Virginia vote to abolish death penalty

Lawmakers in Virginia have voted to abolish the death penalty. The move marks the end of a long history of capital punishment in the state. Virginia currently has the highest number of executions in the United States. We take a closer look with FRANCE 24's Valérie Dekimpe.

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Breaking down Israel's Covid-19 strategy

Almost half of all Israelis have now received Covid-19 vaccines. Thanks to a world-leading inoculation programme, the country is one of the first developed nations to now be rolling back its latest round of restrictions. At the weekend, it introduced its Green Pass scheme: opening up restaurants, cinemas and gyms to anyone who can prove they've had both doses of the jab. For more on Israel's Covid-19 strategy, we speak to Professor Cyrille Cohen, director of the Immunotherapy Lab at Bar-Ilan University. He's also a member of Israel's advisory council on vaccines.

PERSPECTIVE

Bearing witness to the refugee experience through photographs

Muhammed Muheisen is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer who says he's determined to be more than just a messenger. Over the past two decades he's taken photographs of refugees and internally displaced people across the world, documenting their despair, their struggles and their hope. He's also the founder and chairman of the Everyday Refugees Foundation, an organisation that works to empower refugees and educate the wider world about their plight. He joined us for Perspective to tell us more.

ENCORE!

Film show: Audrey Hepburn's life beyond the glamour in unseen footage

British filmmaker Helena Coan speaks to movie critic Lisa Nesselson and Eve Jackson about her documentary "Audrey", which pays tribute to the eternal movie icon Audrey Hepburn with a mix of film excerpts, touching interviews with family members and audio clips of the star herself.

Singer-songwriter and poet Arlo Parks on her debut album 'Collapsed in Sunbeams'

At only 20 years old, London-based singer-songwriter and poet Arlo Parks has just released one of 2021's most anticipated albums, "Collapsed in Sunbeams". A record full of soothing vocals, warm guitar chords and neo-soul, it tackles sensitive topics like mental health and love. She counts among her fans former US first lady Michelle Obama and she is regularly name-checked by international pop sensation Billie Eilish. FRANCE 24's Florence Villeminot caught up with her to find out more about her music and her links to Paris.

YOU ARE HERE

In France's Loire Valley, Leonardo da Vinci's legacy lives on

More than 500 years after his death, Leonardo da Vinci's legacy lives on in the castles of France's Loire Valley. The Italian genius spent the last three years of his life at the court of King Francis I, in Amboise. Today, volunteers are bringing the Château d'Amboise back to life by recreating royal balls there. At the Clos Lucé, which was da Vinci's residence, the chef brings 16th-century recipes up to date. Finally, in the nooks and crannies of the Château de Chambord, a researcher tirelessly tracks down every trace of the legendary artist.