Yesterday the Greek economy made a symbolic return from the brink when the government submitted its 2019 draft budget to the European Commission. While prime minister Alexis Tsipras and his partners in Brussels will be keen to brand the exercise a success, there is one alarm bell sounding in the report’s contents. That is, the omission of previously agreed – but deeply unpopular – pension cuts that were originally due to be implemented by January. Rescinding on the measures is a bid by Tsipras to swerve any disagreeable cuts that might impact the popularity of his Syriza ruling party. It’s a risky move though – investors are still wary of Greece and any attempt to deviate from the plan might spook them further.
With winter approaching, Paris’s mayor Anne Hidalgo has announced a temporary solution to get homeless people off the streets. Eight town halls across the French capital will be adapted to house about 3,000 people, while still fulfilling their gubernatorial functions. One of the buildings in question is the 14th-century Hôtel de Ville where two salons (normally reserved for receptions and exhibitions) will provide homeless women with beds, food and sanitary facilities. Conservative politicians have decried Hidalgo’s move as demagoguery but they have no grounds for indignation: historic spaces are worth nothing if the state can’t provide for its citizens – Hidalgo’s effort is humane and welcome.
Military operations are known for their bombastic codenames: Operation Red Dawn, Operation Wrath of God and Operation Overlord, to name just a few. By contrast, China’s latest war games have been dubbed Peace and Friendship 2018. This weekend it will join Malaysia and Thailand for manoeuvres in the Strait of Malacca where it will deploy destroyers, frigates, helicopters, aircraft and 692 servicemen. While Beijing has said explicitly that the drills are not intended for the attention of any nation in particular, some are considering it a timely display of sabre-rattling for the US’s benefit. The two world powers have been jostling for influence in the South China Sea, with relations deteriorating. Here’s hoping that Peace and Friendship 2018 is as innocuous as it sounds.
The beachside restaurants are packed and the yacht parties are setting sail – that must mean Mipcom, the TV industry’s blockbuster event, is in full swing in Cannes. The American accents you overhear as you stroll down La Croisette may well belong to some of Hollywood’s most powerful producers and execs. They’ve come here to buy and sell new formats – as well as to discuss this year’s theme “The Big Shift”. While television is undergoing a period of disruption as Netflix, Amazon and Apple gobble up the market, the UK’s emeritus producer David Puttnam is convinced that the future of good programmes lies in independent, writer-driven companies as much as it does technology behemoths. “Data-driven programming only looks backwards at what’s successful and tries to replicate it,” he says. “It is in all of our interest to ensure there is a plurality of talent operating at every level of the industry.”
The celebrated Chicago-based artist, known for his figurative paintings depicting black figures using his signature black paint, sits down with Augustin Macellari to reflect on his early passion for painting, the influence of the European masters and the invisibility of black bodies in the western canon of art.
Unconventional, ever-changing and utterly beguiling, this megalopolis is an endless parade of sights, sounds and smells.
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