After the US pulled out of the Paris climate agreement in 2017, France chose to not invite American leaders to a climate change meeting in Paris. Macron around the same time said France “will be there to replace” US contributions to the funding of climate change research.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told NBC News that Trump is “extraordinary” and “talented.” Putin called Biden a “career man” who “has spent virtually his entire adulthood” in politics.
Across 12 countries surveyed on Biden’s approval rating so far, a median of 75% of respondents said they felt confident he would “do the right thing regarding world affairs,” according to a Pew Research study released Thursday. At the end of Trump’s presidency, just 17% of global respondents believed the same about the former president.
The global image of the United States has vastly improved since President Joe Biden took office compared to all-time low ratings under former President Donald Trump’s leadership, new data released by Pew Research Center on Thursday shows.
Pew Research Center polled people in 16 countries and the results show a major shift in public attitudes after Trump left the White House.
The US’ average favorability rating increased by 28 percentage points this year – one of the biggest spikes on record since Pew started polling more than two decades ago. The number jumped from 34% in 2020 to 62% this year.
In six countries – France, Germany, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands and Canada – positive opinions of the US grew by at least 25 percentage points, returning to the high ratings seen during the Obama era.
Overall trust in the US president within the international community hit historic lows under Trump. The Pew study showed that with Biden, the numbers have rebounded to pre-Trump levels.
Around 75% of people surveyed expressed confidence in Biden to do the right thing when it comes to world affairs. A year ago, only 17% said the same for Trump.
Public confidence was particularly high among the US’ European allies. In Germany, 78% of respondents expressed confidence in Biden as a leader compared to just 10% who said so about Trump last year.
Biden was sworn in after a tumultuous year in which the US faced a raging pandemic, weakened economy, and a chaotic 2020 presidential election, leading to an insurrection at the Capitol on January 6.
Pew surveyed 16,254 adults from March 12 to May 26, 2021.
Alphabet’s Google has agreed to make changes to some of its widely-used online advertising services as part of an unprecedented settlement with France’s antitrust watchdog.
The California-based tech giant was also fined €220 million ($267.48 million) by the authority in the agreement that was revealed on Monday. The probe found Google had abused its market power in the intricate ad business online, where some of its tools have become almost essential for large publishers.
The watchdog’s decision is an attempt to rebalance the power struggle over online ads in favour of publishers, which held sway in the business in the pre-internet era, but lost considerable ground with the rise of Google and Facebook.
The French Competition Authority (FCA) said the decision opens the way for publishers who felt disadvantaged to seek damages from Google. Many publishers globally have expressed unhappiness over ad practices employed by the tech giants.
“The decision to sanction Google is of particular significance because it’s the first decision in the world focusing on the complex algorithmic auction processes on which the online ad business relies,” said France’s antitrust chief Isabelle de Silva.
De Silva said the fine was reduced because of the settlement, but she did not give specifics.
A Google spokesperson didn’t immediately reply to a request seeking comment. The watchdog said Google will not seek to appeal the authority’s decision in court.
The FCA’s investigation focused on the tools Google offers publishers online to sell and manage online ads.
The settlement with Google shows the firm is ready bend to antitrust pressure and make operational changes to some of its most popular ad business tools, whose success relies on the trove of data it has amassed over the years.
The watchdog found that Google Ad Manager, the firm’s ad management platform for large publishers favoured AdX, its own online ad marketplace, where publishers sell space to advertisers in real-time. It did so notably by providing AdX strategic data such as the winning bidding prices.
The watchdog also said Google AdX offered Google Ad Manager superior interoperability features than for rival so-called sell-side platforms (SSP), the crucial technology that allows publishers to manage advertising spaces available for purchase, fill them with ads and receive revenue.
Under the terms of the settlement, Google offered commitments to improve the interoperability of Google Ad Manager services with third-party ad server and ad space sales platform, the watchdog said.
The watchdog said it had accepted these commitments and that they were binding in its decision. The case follows a complaint by News Corp, French news publishing group Le Figaro, and Belgian press group Rossel.
The Allied invasion of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 was the largest amphibious invasion in history. The scale of the assault was unlike anything the world had seen before or will most likely ever see again.
By that summer, the Allies had managed to slow the forward march of the powerful German war machine. The invasion was an opportunity to begin driving the Nazis back.
The invasion is unquestionably one of the greatest undertakings in military history. By the numbers, here’s what it took to pull this off.
Around 7 million tons of supplies, including 450,000 tons of ammunition, were brought into Britain from the US in preparation for the invasion.
23,250 US troops fought their way ashore at Utah Beach as 34,250 additional American forces stormed Omaha Beach. 53,815 British troops battled their way onto Gold and Sword beaches while 21,400 Canadian troops took Juno Beach.
By the end of June 11 (D+5), 326,547 troops, 54,186 vehicles and 104,428 tons of supplies had been unloaded in France. By the end of the war, those figures would increase to 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles, and 4 million tons of additional supplies.
Hold on to your vaccination cards: European Union representatives agreed on Wednesday that Americans who have been fully immunized should be allowed to visit the EU’s 27 member nations. They won’t have to show a negative COVID-19 test result or quarantine upon arrival, NBC News reported. Children may also be able to accompany their vaccinated parents abroad, regardless of their own vaccination status – provided that they have a negative coronavirus test.
The new travel guidelines are expected to be formally approved by the European Council later this week, meaning travel from the US to Europe could be possible this summer.
It’s likely that Americans will need to show government-issued vaccine certificates to visit most European countries. For now, neither EU nor US officials have specified whether people will need to show the white vaccination card issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or other documentation.
Lisa Lee, a public-health expert at Virginia Tech, said European countries will probably have patchwork of different rules for US travelers.
“Some have said they’re only going to accept electronic [vaccine records] so it can be verified,” Lee told Insider. “Other people are afraid that the CDC cards are too prone to fraud and they won’t accept the paper cards.”
In an interview with Ouest France, French President Emmanuel Macron said foreign tourists could visit France with a “health pass” starting June 9. Macron didn’t expand on what that pass would look like, though.
Spain’s tourism secretary, meanwhile, has said the country is prepared to let travelers return in June – as long as visitors show proof they’ve been vaccinated, recently tested negative for the coronavirus, or recently recovered from COVID-19.
“One thing is clear: All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by EMA,” Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, told The New York Times in April, referring to the European Medicines Agency. The EMA has authorized all three vaccines used in the US: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.
Already, a few European countries – including Greece and Iceland – are allowing visitors from the US. Their policies could offer a hint at what to expect from other nations moving forward.
The US still doesn’t recommend travel to Europe
The CDC currently recommends avoiding all international travel to European countries, with the exception of Iceland and the UK. (The agency says Americans can travel there for essential visits only.) Similarly, the US is denying entry to visitors from the EU or UK unless they’re US citizens.
The Biden administration hasn’t said whether it will remove these restrictions in the near future, but travel and aviation groups are pushing the US government to open its borders to more countries, with testing requirements in place.
For now, the US also requires fully vaccinated Americans to test negative before reentering the country.
Lee said this policy helps protect the population from highly transmissible variants that are more prevalent in other countries and might evade protection from vaccines.
“These vaccines are incredibly effective, but they’re not 100% – and they’re certainly not 100% or as effective against strains that we don’t know about yet that might be developing through transmission, so it’s still a good time to be somewhat cautious,” she said.
Greece and Iceland are accepting CDC cards as proof of vaccination
As of April 19, Greece is welcoming US travelers with a few stipulations: Visitors are asked to fill out a locator form at least one day before entering or leaving the country. Americans must also provide proof that they’ve been fully vaccinated – a CDC card is sufficient – or present a negative PCR test.
US travelers don’t need to quarantine under this policy, a change that came with the new rule. Previously, Americans entering Greece had to isolate for a week. If a person tests positive upon arrival, however, they’ll be transported to a hotel, where Greek authorities will confirm the test results and ask them to stay inside for 10 days.
US travelers to Iceland can also avoid the nation’s mandatory quarantine by presenting a CDC card that shows they are fully vaccinated. Alternatively, a person can provide proof that they’ve had COVID-19 already – either through a positive PCR or antibody test result.
But those going to Iceland still need to take another COVID-19 test upon arrival, then wait at their accommodation until the results are back (which can take up to 24 hours). Hotels in Iceland may ask to see your CDC vaccination card as well.
Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Montenegro aren’t requiring US travelers to quarantine, either, if they show proof of vaccination. Italy is similarly allowing American visitors to bypass quarantine requirements with a negative COVID-19 test.
UK residents have been able to travel internationally since May 17 – but Americans who want to visit the UK must still present a negative COVID-19 test, quarantine for 10 days upon arrival, and get tested twice during their visit.
Travel requirements aside, an international trip brings risks
Just because a country is accepting US travelers doesn’t mean a visit is low-risk. For Americans trying to decide whether to travel or where to go, Lee recommended that fully vaccinated people look at two key metrics: low levels of transmission and case numbers that are declining day over day.
“If you look at Portugal, for example, the incidence is a lot lower than Spain and they’re right next to each other,” Lee said.
On average, Spain is recording nearly 102 daily cases per 1 million people, while Portugal is recording around 39 daily cases per 1 million people. The CDC defines low transmission as fewer than 5 cumulative new cases per 100,000 people over the prior 28 days, and moderate transmission as fewer than 50 cumulative new cases per 100,000 people over 28 days.
If you’re looking to lower your risk of infection, choose less crowded locales where you’re unlikely to bump into people who haven’t been vaccinated. Opt out of large events like concerts or soccer matches, too.
“If you’re planning a trip to the countryside, that’s a very different calculus than if you’re planning a trip to the middle of a bustling city,” Lee said.
Of course, outbreaks can also change course quickly, so a country that looks safe now may have high levels of transmission in three months.
“Check the requirements frequently, right up until the departure date, as every country’s policies are going to be changing in response to the way the epidemic evolves,” Lee said.
The website Skyscanner offers real-time updates on countries’ travel restrictions and quarantine requirements. Make sure to prepare the necessary documentation for each country you plan to visit.
“You don’t want to get from one place to another and discover, ‘Oh, whoops, they need this piece of paper or that piece of software and I don’t have that,'” Lee said.
This story has been updated. It was originally published on May 2, 2021.
A French fighter pilot has filed a legal complaint after a brutal hazing ritual in which he alleges he was kidnapped, tied up, and left on a live firing range by his colleagues in the French air force.
During the hazing, airmen grabbed the recruit and tied him up with adhesive tape. He was then forced into the back of a pickup truck and had a hood placed over his head, reports from both the AFP and La Provence said.
Photos published by La Provence show the recruit bound by the legs and arms, with a hood over his head. He is laying on his back in the back of the truck.
AFP, which cites the man’s lawyer Frederic Berna, said he was driven to a live-fire range used by French pilots to practice dropping munitions. There he was tied to a target.
According to La Provence, he was left there for around 10 minutes in total silence. Then, the man says, he heard Dassault Mirage fighter jets begin to fly overhead. The planes then started dropping live ammunition around him. The bombardment lasted around 20 minutes, La Provence reported.
The soldier also alleges that before he was subjected to the kidnapping, he was belittled by his superiors almost as soon as he arrived at the Solenzara airbase.
“What is this? What have we been sent again?” – the complaint alleges one superior officer said to the man, according to La Provence.
Berna, alongside another lawyer, Silvio Rossi-Arnaud, told La Provence that the man subjected to the hazing filed his legal complaint in the city of Marseille this week. AFP reports that Berna believes the complaint “could lead to charges of deliberately endangering someone’s life and aggravated violence.”
Speaking to La Provence, Rossi-Arnaud also noted that he and his client believe that the hazing was “a monumental waste of public money.”
He claims that the cost of flying a Mirage jet amounts to roughly 15,000 euros per hour in fuel alone.
French authorities condemned the incident and said that “strong sanctions” had been issued against those involved, the AFP reported.
The Air and Space Force condemns any activity likely to undermine the integrity, both physical and psychological, of its staff,” Stéphane Spet, a spokesperson for the French ministry of defense, said in a statement given to La Provence.
This experiment, called Deep Time, provided thousands of measurements to assess the effect of removing measured time on people’s bodies, minds, and social interactions.
Insider spoke with Christian Clot, the team leader for this expedition. Here is what he told us about life in the cave.
Natural cycles were often longer than 24 hours
In the cave, all electronics had their clocks removed. There was, of course, no sunlight. This left people organizing their days by intuition.
They could complete tasks like taking scientific measurements, exploring and cleaning the cave, or cataloging insects during waking hours. The cave was mostly dark, apart from one living area that was kept illuminated.
People were told to sleep and eat whenever they felt like it. The only thing regulating the length of their day was their internal body clock and their interactions with others.
Under these conditions, the volunteers had widely different cycles governing their activities and sleep.
By the end of 40 days, most volunteers had completed only 30 cycles, Clot told Insider. Precise measurements are still being analyzed, but this suggests that most people ended up with “days” that were more like 30 hours long rather than 24.
One woman’s cycle was twice as long as normal, Clot told Insider. She only slept 23 times over the 40 days, which suggests that an average cycle was about 40 hours for her.
It was forbidden to wake people up
People slept in tents in the “quiet zone.” It was “absolutely forbidden to wake up someone else,” Clot said. There were no alarms or devices to tell them how long they had slept. They simply woke up when they felt like it.
“During the first week in the cave, it was really hard to accept the idea that when I wake up, I didn’t have to check my smartphone or my watch to see if I slept enough. I just have to listen to my body,” Clot said.
“It was like a liberation, you know. It was like: Wow, amazing. I just have to listen to me!”
At the beginning of the experiment, that meant that the volunteers were completely out of sync, Clot told Insider.
“People were awake around the clock,” he said.
However, by the end of the experiment, people had fallen into a rhythm and naturally started to wake up and go to sleep at times that worked for the group, Clot said.
“In an unconscious way, when people wanted to be together, they woke up at the same time,” Clot said.
Volunteers swallowed a capsule which sent back measurements of their temperature
Once swallowed, the pill stays in the body on average for 3 to 4 days, depending on the person’s physiology.
As it makes its way through the digestive tract, it sends temperature readings every minute, a spokesperson from the manufacturer, the French firm BodyCap, told Insider.
Because the body’s temperature changes during the day according to its internal clock, these measurements are useful to determine the effect of the experiment on the body.
The volunteers – seven women and eight men – also wore sensors to measure sleeping patterns, regularly took blood samples, monitored their brain waves, and tested their brain function by playing games with VR headsets.
Cameras were also constantly recording their interactions for later analysis.
“Thousands” of data points were collected during this experiment, Clot said. These are now being processed by 12 labs around the world, he said.
They had very little water to wash – and the cave was too humid to really bother
The team used water from an underground lake for drinking, cooking, and hygiene.
Getting the water was “a bit hard,” Clot said, so they used as little as they could.
Washing in the cave would not have been very pleasant anyway. The cave was cold – around 10 degrees Celsius (about 50 degrees Fahrenheit) – and humidity was at 100%.
They had bikes to generate electricity and tried to grow plants
Asked if humans could survive underground for longer periods of time, Clot said, “we had water. The only thing you need is food.”
“We tried to grow some vegetables. Some were growing nicely,” Clot said, although they didn’t have enough time to harvest them in the 40 days.
Standing bikes provided some exercise but were also hooked to a generator to produce electricity for computers while scientific measurements were being collected.
Everyone was shocked when the experiment ended
When it was time to leave, the volunteers were surprised. They thought they had much longer, with most guessing that they were around 30 days in rather than the full 40.
Clot told Insider that they had imagined a lot of possibilities for what would happen in the cave. But “absolutely not” that their perceptions would have been off by as much as ten days.
By the time the team on the surface came to tell them the experiment was over, many of the volunteers were not ready to leave the cave and had to adjust to the idea mentally, Clot told Insider.
Some loved it down there and want to go back
Returning to normal life was hard in some ways, Clot said.
In his case, it was challenging because he’s had to do a lot of interviews since emerging from the cave, he said.
“I sometimes think: Wow! It was so easy in the cave,” he told Insider.
At least three of the 15 volunteers would happily go back, he said. As for him, he would like to do it again, if only to repeat the experiment.
But before then, the team plans to test other extreme living conditions and will be going together to the Brazilian rainforest and Siberia, Clot said.
The video, published by Sky News, appears to shows a boat without a visible flag head toward another boat that’s flying the flag of Jersey, which is a self-governing dependency of the United Kingdom. The vessels then briefly collide.
Two British gunboats dispatched by Boris Johnson to Jersey have arrived after around 80 French boats gathered there to demand greater access to the island’s fishing waters.
Jersey, which is a British crown dependency, sits in the English Channel less than 20 miles off the French coast.
The British naval boats, which are equipped with guns, were sent yesterday after France’s sea minister Annick Girardin threatened to cut off the power to Jersey.
She was angered that Jersey had issued post-Brexit licenses to French fishing boats which imposed restrictive conditions including the amount of time they could spend in Jersey waters, Reuters reported.
“Regarding Jersey, I remind you of the delivery of electricity along underwater cables … Even if it would be regrettable if we had to do it, we’ll do it if we have to,” Girardin told France’s National Assembly on Tuesday, per Reuters.
The Daily Mail reported that Johnson made the decision to deploy the gunboats after intelligence indicated that the flotilla of French boats would try and block all access to Jersey’s Saint Helier port.
A Downing Street spokesman said on Wednesday: “The Prime Minister underlined his unwavering support for Jersey. He said that any blockade would be completely unjustified.
“As a precautionary measure, the UK will be sending two offshore patrol vessels to monitor the situation. They agreed the UK and Jersey governments would continue to work closely on this issue.”
Labour’s shadow defense secretary John Healey said: “The threats on Jersey are completely unreasonable. The Navy’s experience in sensitive situations will help reassure residents and protect Britain’s broader national interests.
“The British government must now get round the table with French colleagues and authorities in Jersey and sort this issue out.”