Slap in the face for Le Pen
‘Rien ne va plus’ for Marine Le Pen: according to a latest survey carried out by the Harris Interactive institute for Challenges, the Rassemblement National candidate collapsed in voting intentions in the first round of the 2022 French presidential elections. She obtained just 16% of preferences, down from 24% last month. Many in Paris wonder whether she is not undergoing a sort of ‘Zemmour effect’, in reference to Eric Zemmour, the far-right polemicist very much followed on TV and considered excessively radical even by Le Pen who continues to fuel suspense about his possible candidacy.
Jerusalem: woman killed as she attempted to stab officers
A woman was killed by police after attempting to stab some officers in the Old City of Jerusalem. In an official statement, the police explained that the assailant, armed with a sharp object “attempted to stab some officers in a street leading to the al-Aqsa mosque”. An AFP journalist heard gunshots and saw the body of a woman on the ground, then covered with a sheet.
Pope warns of food wastage
Pope Francis has given a stern warning about world food wastage, saying that “fighting the terrible scourge of hunger also means fighting waste”. In a tweet on the day against food waste, he said it was “scandalous not to realise how much food is a precious commodity and how much good food ends badly”. A report produced by the Waste Watcher International Observatory, lists how much food countries waste: the Americans 1,453 grams weekly, followed by the Chinese with 1,153 grams, the Canadians with 1,144 grams, the Germans with 1,081 grams, and then, under a kilo, the British (949 grams), the Spaniards (836 grams), the Russians (672 grams) and the Italians with 529 grams.
On Wednesday Pope Francis praised young environmental activists for challenging global leaders on emission policies ahead of a UN climate summit next month. In a video message to some 400 young climate activists who had gathered in Milan for the Youth4Climate gathering, Francis thanked the activists for their “dreams and good projects” and encouraged them to help “rebuild the fabric” of humanity through care for the planet.
US declares 23 bird, fish and other species extinct
The ivory-billed woodpecker, once the US’s largest woodpecker, is among 23 species declared extinct by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The service has proposed removing them from the Endangered Species Act, which protects species under threat. In all, 11 birds, a bat, two fish, a plant and eight types of mussel have been declared extinct. They said the determination based on “rigorous reviews of the best available science for each of these species”.
Protest by victims of Beirut port explosion
The families of the victims of the Beirut port explosion held a demonstration outside the Beirut Palace of Justice on Wednesday, protesting the suspension of an investigation into the August 2020 explosion. Around 300 supporters joined the families as they made speeches in support of Judge Tarek Bitar who is leading the investigation into the blast which killed at least 218 people and wounded around 6,500. Bitar was forced to suspend his investigation after being accused of political bias.
Tunisia: first female PM
President Saied of Tunisia named engineering researcher academic Najla Bouden Romdhane to form a government, making her the first woman in the country’s history to hold that office. The academic, who used to work for the World Bank, is entering the top ranks of Tunisia’s political scene in a moment of crisis, two months after Saied suspended parliament and dismised the then-Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi in a move described by his critics as a “coup”.
Daniel Craig to play Macbeth
Once the James Bond tuxedo is off, Daniel Craig prepares for a new, challenging play on Broadway: the star of five 007 films will be Macbeth in a new edition of Shakespeare’s tragedy produced by Barbara Broccoli, the historical producer of the franchise of 007. The drama, based on ambition and thirst for power, will run for 15 weeks at the Lyceum Theatre in spring 2022. Sam Gold (A Doll’s House, Part 2 and Fun Home) will direct. Alongside Craig, Ethiopian-Irish actress Ruth Negga will play Lady Macbeth. Craig last starred on Broadway in 2013 in “Betrayal” with his wife Rachel Weisz. The last 007 is not new to Shakespeare’s lyrics having done an Othello alongside David Oyelowo and directed by Gold himself.