Hands of Masters in Luxembourg

(Euronews) Contemporary craft biennial De Mains De Maîtres has opened its doors in Luxembourg.

A major exhibition dedicated to artisans and art creators — from concrete sculptors to fashion designers, glassmakers, painters and more — has been held for a second time in Luxembourg.

Taking place in Luxembourg City at the spectacular Arbed castle, a former steelmaking HQ, over 60 Luxembourgish and 30 international artists were invited to feature their creations at “De Mains de Maîtres”, which was attended by the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.

The biennial event aims to offer the widest representation of arts and crafts, putting the nation’s contemporary craftsmanship in the spotlight.
The theme this year was “Gestures and Wonders”.

“What we are looking for in this exhibition is diverse materials, so felt, glass, concrete, steel. That’s what’s exciting and what gives us emotion,” says Jean-Marc Dimanche, who curated the art showcase.

Watch highlights from De Mains de Maîtres in the video player above.

Read more: http://www.livingit.euronews.com/2018/12/03/innovation-and-craftsmanship-from-luxembourg

Back-to-front Renault features at France’s second-largest car show

(Euronews) The world’s oldest petrol-powered car, celebrity motors and a back-to-front Renault prototype are just a few extraordinary exhibitions that went on show at the 40th edition of Lyon’s Epoqu’auto expo in 2018.

Tens of thousands of motor enthusiasts descended on France’s second-largest collectors’ car show earlier this month, where hundreds of vehicles including trucks, motorbikes, racing cars and vintage showpieces covering over 52,000 square metres were on display in the southern city.

At the end of the three-day event, 56 vehicles were auctioned off, including a Jaguar K2 and Mercedes that once belonged to celebrity couple and fashion label co-founders Yves St Laurent and Pierre Berge.

“We have three main show areas: Renault, celebrating their 120th anniversary; Panhard & Levassor, showing off 32 cars displaying the history of the carmaker, now defunct; and Lamborghini, with 24 cars this year,” Commissioner general of Epoqu’auto, Claude Passot, told Living It.

“There are some exceptional vehicles this year, notably the first-ever Renault – 120 years old – and on the Panhard stand you can see the first ever car with a petrol engine made on a production line in 1891. It’s really an exceptional example.”

Watch some of my best bits from the event in the video player above.

Read more: http://www.livingit.euronews.com/2018/11/22/cars-that-marked-the-beginning-of-the-automotive-industry

Chocolate fashion show wows at Salon du Chocolat in Lyon

(Euronews) Chocolate, pastries, marshmellows, nougat and… meat pie. As part of the global series of Salon du Chocolat, the biggest names in dessert and beyond came together under one roof last week in the French gastronomic capital of Lyon.

A sugared and sequined fashion show rounded-off the eighth edition of the hugely popular chocolate showcase, which featured more than 80 chocolatiers, pastry chefs and Michelin-starred talent dedicated to homemade confectionery and regional specialities.

The three-day event drew thousands of visitors and appearances by local celebrities Sebastien Bouillet and Philippe Bernachon, who were on site to show-off some of their iconic sweets and share tips on chocolate-making.

Watch my best bits from the show in the video player above.

Read more: http://www.livingit.euronews.com/2018/11/16/chocolate-fashion-show-wows-at-salon-du-chocolat-in-lyon

153-year-old watchmaker Zenith sets sights on millennials

(Euronews) The luxury Swiss brand is modernising its mechanical watches to appeal to younger customers.

“Mechanical watches are not there any more to have the primary function of indicating the time. Their role is to present part of our personality,” says Julien Tornare, CEO of Zenith.

Read more: https://www.euronews.com/2018/09/14/traditional-watchmaker-zenith-turns-into-new-direction

Euronews feature: How can we put an end to suicide bombings in Afghanistan?

I call it the ‘Bloody Saturday of Kabul’.

On January 27, the Afghan capital witnessed a deadly suicide attack unlike any other. The Islamic fundamentalist Taliban filled an ambulance with explosives and managed to pass a security checkpoint. But at the second, the guards became suspicious and the driver detonated his vehicle. The blast killed 103 people, including eight soldiers at the checkpoint, and wounded 235 others.

(Euronews) Euronews correspondent Masoud Imani Kalesar visited Kabul in the wake of a deadly ambulance blast that killed dozens earlier this year. He witnessed the violence — and Afghans’ defiance — first hand.

I call it the ‘Bloody Saturday of Kabul’.

On January 27, the Afghan capital witnessed a deadly suicide attack unlike any other. The Islamic fundamentalist Taliban filled an ambulance with explosives and managed to pass a security checkpoint. But at the second, the guards became suspicious and the driver detonated his vehicle. The blast killed 103 people, including eight soldiers at the checkpoint, and wounded 235 others.

One image from the attack has stuck in my memory: a wounded child in an ambulance. According to a UN report released last year, 923 children were killed and 2,589 wounded in 2016 while on their way to and from school in Afghanistan.

No other country in the world witnesses suicide attacks on an almost daily basis like in Afghanistan. Why? And who is responsible for preventing them and protecting civilians? After intensive planning to ensure security, I was given the green light by my bosses to head to Kabul in April to pose those very questions to the Afghan people and their government officials.

Students at Esteghlal high school in Kabul (Euronews)
Students at Esteghlal high school in Kabul (Euronews)

One bureaucrat on my list was the newly appointed minister of education, Mirwais Balkhi, who took office in March. He is a minister unlike many among his “foreign” ranks. He visits schools and meets students with fully-armed bodyguards.

He took me to Esteghlal high school, where, due to its proximity to the presidential palace, sharpshooters are stationed around the building while teenage pupils attend their classes. I was not allowed to film them, nor the school gates where all students are thoroughly searched before they can enter.

“How, amid such instability and insecurity, can we expect students to study with peace of mind?” I asked Balkhi.

Before I could finish my question, he interrupted me: “Frankly, the people of Afghanistan are very brave.

“Despite the different kinds of threats we face in this country, a thirst for education [among Afghans] is very much there.”

Shafigha Ahmadi Vardak (Euronews)
Malala School principal Shafigha Ahmadi Vardak (Euronews)

Malala High School, an all-girls faculty which lies 10 metres from where the ambulance attack unfolded, was the minister’s next destination that day. There, the school Principal Shafigha Ahmadi Vardak presented him with fragments of the blown-up vehicle that she and her colleagues collected to make a “museum” in the school.

Mrs Vardak’s account of that day, and photos and videos she took in the immediate aftermath, were shocking and disturbing.

“I saw a hand that had been cut off, but it was still moving,” she said. “And even now when it is stormy, there are trees on the other side of the building from which hats, boots, even chins and pieces of hearts, livers are falling.”

On “Bloody Saturday”, Malala school was mercifully closed. It was a public holiday and so hundreds of students had been spared from serious injury. The wave of the blast shattered windows and ripped doors from their hinges. Shards of glass blanketed desks and chairs, and scraps of material from ceilings peppered the floor leaving gaping holes up above.

Masoud Imani Kalesar and Afghanistan's Minister of Education, Mirwais Balkhi. (Euronews)
Masoud Imani Kalesar and Afghanistan’s Minister of Education, Mirwais Balkhi. (Euronews)

While visiting the classrooms, now fixed up and filled with smiling schoolgirls, I asked the minister why he was accompanied by armed bodyguards — a rare scene in many countries, let alone in a high school.

“Warmongers are always looking for ways to eliminate me,” he said. “Thus, I have no choice but to surround myself with youths [bodyguards] so we can fight ignorance. That is the only reason.”

About 60% of the Afghan people are illiterate, according to the ministry of education. Among them, UNICEF reports that 3.7 million children are deprived of an education — 60% of them girls. I asked Balkhi if boosting literacy could put an end to suicide attacks in the country.

“100 percent, 100 percent,” he said enthusiastically.

After my meeting with Balkhi was over, I turned to the other names on my checklist for this trip. Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, who’s second only to President Ashraf Ghani in government, was next, followed by Amrullah Saleh, the former head of state intelligence, and Pierre Mayaudon, the EU Ambassador to Afghanistan.

Masoud speaks to grieving colleagues and relatives of victims who died in the twin suicide blast (Euronews)
Masoud speaks to grieving colleagues and relatives of victims who died in a twin suicide blast in Kabul. (Euronews)

General Nicholson, the Commander of NATO & US Forces in Afghanistan, couldn’t make his appointment with me, despite his office earlier confirming he would be available. And I missed out on meeting President Ashraf Ghani — his office did not reply to my media requests, so that was that.

On April 30, seven days after my arrival, I was done and ready to fly back to Euronews headquarters. But Kabul wasn’t finished with me yet. When I reached the capital’s airport, the counter was closed. I was 10 minutes late and the next flight wasn’t scheduled to leave until the next day. Then on the way to my guest house, I learned that a suicide attacker on a motorbike had blown himself up in the Shash Darak neighbourhood, not far from the airport.

Despite warnings that a second attack might follow, I decided to head to the scene which was just 300 metres away and film with my mobile phone. My Afghan colleagues were already there, so I packed some recording equipment and prepared to leave.

Yar Mohammad Toki
Slain journalist Yar Mohammad Toki

But I quickly realised I was missing a crucial cable. My microphone wouldn’t work without it, so I asked my cameraman Hayat Skandari to join me as soon as he could. Unbeknownst to me, as I waited for him, a second suicide attacker disguised as a journalist had hurtled into a media huddle at the scene of the first blast and detonated a device, killing nine of my Afghan colleagues.

Among the dead was Yar Mohammad Toki, a Tolo News Cameraman. Just few days earlier, we rubbed shoulders while filming in a nearby garrison where hundreds of young commandos were graduating.

But my mourning didn’t stop there. Hayat finally joined me outside a war victims emergency centre in haste, but not for long. After accompanying me to film desperate relatives who had lost touch with loved ones in the blasts, his phone rang.

He learned that his nephew, Nowroz Ali Rajabi, a reporter for Afghanistan’s 1TV station, had perished in the second explosion. And it is only through sheer luck or chance that I was spared the same fate — just because I’d lost a cable.

The following day I made my flight and left Afghanistan, a country battle-scarred by 40 years of war and conflict. A country that wonders when the day will come that a minister can visit schools without armed bodyguards, and an ambulance can safely pass a bustling district carrying neither explosives, nor a child wounded in a suicide attack. To my surprise, most of the people I spoke to in Kabul do believe that day will soon come.

Read the full story on Euronews.com: http://www.euronews.com/2018/06/29/the-aftermath-of-bloody-saturday-how-schools-could-bring-an-end-to-suicide-attacks-in-afgh

Euronews: Concours d’Elégance Suisse 2018 – Iconic cars descend on Geneva

The third edition of the Concours d’Elégance Suisse in Geneva saw a spectacular range of cars on display, from 1920s vintage classics to the iconic Lamborghini Miura supercar and the first ever Jaguar E-Type ever built.

Saturday’s contest, held in the gardens of Château de Coppet, saw 85 historic vehicles compete for 37 prizes and the ultimate Best of Show Award. The cars had been shipped from across Europe, and from as far as the United States and Thailand.

“The field this year is very, very interesting. Not only for the competitors but especially for the visitors,” said Adolfo Orsi, who co-chaired a team of 21 motor experts, restorers and historians tasked with inspecting the vehicles’ condition and authenticity.

“They will have the possibility to look at cars which normally they may have seen only on photos or books, and they are today here on the field.”

Catch a glimpse of the show and some of the stunning cars – as well as their lucky owners – in the video player above.

Read more: http://www.livingit.euronews.com/2018/06/29/concours-d-elegance-suisse-classic-cars-from-the-20s-to-the-80s-compete-for-grand-prize

What are the abortion laws in Europe?

An interactive tool which details abortion rules for almost* every country in Europe.

(Euronews) An interactive tool which details abortion rules for almost* every country in Europe.

This interactive Q&A embed was created from scratch using HMTL, CSS, Javascript and jQuery.

Read more: http://www.euronews.com/2018/05/24/quiz-what-are-the-abortion-laws-in-your-country-

*Cyprus is excluded due to the ambiguity of its abortion rules at the time the tool was published on Euronews.com.

Euronews explainer: Could new EU data protection law have stopped the data leak scandal?

(Euronews) Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced one of his toughest tests yet when he was grilled by 44 senators in Capitol Hill. It came amid questions over how Russia used the social network during the US election of 2016, and how political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica was able to harvest data from 87 million Facebook profiles without most users’ consent.

(Euronews) Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced one of his toughest tests yet when he was grilled by 44 senators in Capitol Hill.

It came amid questions over how Russia used the social network during the US election of 2016, and how political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica was able to harvest data from 87 million Facebook profiles without most users’ consent.

But his job will get harder should the US follow the EU’s lead and install aggressive data protection legislation to empower citizens.

In an effort to harmonise such laws across the continent, the EU has prepared the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will come into force from 25 May 2018.

The framework would ensure internet users’ personal data is not shared without their express consent, and that organisations have thorough data protection policies and records of their activities in place, as well as a data protection officer in some cases.

They would need to guarantee that personal data is processed lawfully, transparently, and for a specific purpose until it no longer serves that aim, by which time it must be deleted.

The rules would apply to all companies that control or process data from within the bloc, regardless of where they are physically based, and it would be their responsibility to adhere to them.

The regulation represents the biggest overhaul in data protection law in Europe since 1995, and will make companies like Facebook more accountable than ever should personal data be improperly handled. Fines imposed under the new rules could amount to as much as 4% of a company’s global annual revenue.

Could the GDPR have prevented the data leak scandal?

There is little hope the 87 million Facebook users affected by the data harvest will be able to claw back their personal information from Cambridge Analytica (CA) and get justice short of launching legal action. However, a regulation as rigid as the GDPR should prevent similar data leaks from occurring on its patch.

The reason the leak was so large was because CA was able to retrieve personal data belonging to the friends of Facebook users that downloaded their quiz app — their data-harvesting tool — because it was allowed by the social network at the time: Facebook Friends’ consent was not required.

But under the GDPR, companies must have users’ permission, given via a clear affirmative action, before they can receive their personal data or override their privacy preferences.

Secondly, personal data sought by a business must be specified contractually and must be necessary for the service it provides. Aside from pooling information from users’ friends, Facebook has since confirmed that CA may have collected private messages, too. Such data was not needed for users to complete personality tests on the quiz app, and taking it would have breached GDPR rules.

The regulation also requires that companies inform the relevant data protection authority should a breach occur that risks peoples’ rights and freedoms within 72 hours of being made aware of it. Facebook has admitted that it first learnt data was being handled improperly by Aleksandr Kogan, who developed the quiz app, and CA in 2015 — two years before it was exposed publicly and brought to authorities’ attention. Under the GDPR, such an infraction would incur a penalty equal to 2% of the social network’s annual worldwide revenue ($813 million in 2017). An eye-watering amount that would likely displease shareholders and threaten 33-year-old Zuckerberg’s position in the company.

Read the full story on Euronews.com: http://www.euronews.com/2018/04/11/could-eu-s-new-data-protection-law-have-stopped-cambridge-analytica-scandal-

Euronews feature: Kidnappings, murder and ISIL − A Syrian family’s voyage to France

A feature exploring a Syrian family’s journey from rebel-held Raqqa to Lyon in France.

In spring 2013, Syria’s government lost the city of Raqqa to rebel militants. It would later become the de facto capital of the so-called Islamic State (ISIL), a jihadist terror group. Raqqa was also home to the Khatib family, who offered shelter to international journalists at their house as the conflict escalated. But one day, two of them disappeared, and the Khatibs realised their time was nearly up.

It’s October 2013. Abed Alhamid Khatib is sitting down for two interviews with French journalists Nicolas Henin, a writer for Le Point magazine, and Pierre Torres, a reporter with French-German television channel Arte. An opponent of President Bashir Al-Assad, 56-year-old Hamid is a respected and well-connected anti-government activist in Raqqa and has been working to establish a local council for its residents. Rebel groups have infiltrated the city and, in an effort to gain power, are more interested in fighting each other than taking care of the community.

Journalists are regular guests in the Khatib household, and Henin and Torres have been living there for weeks while covering the conflict on the ground. But one day, Hamid becomes anxious. It is late, and he has been waiting for the reporters to return for hours.

“[They] had left the house and did not return by 12am, so I waited until 6am the next morning,” says Hamid, now 61 and living in Lyon. “But they didn’t come back, and I realised they had been kidnapped again.”

The jihadist al-Nusra Front are the most dominant rebel group in Raqqa. They had already taken Henin and Torres hostage two weeks earlier, robbed them of their money and passports, and released them. This time, however, they did not feel so generous.

But journalists were not their only targets.

“We took the decision to leave after I saw the kidnapping of my friends and neighbours,” says Hamid, who lived in Syria with his wife Hala, then 49, and two of his four children: Mowaea, 21, and Ziad, 14.

From left to right: Mowaea, Hala, Hamid and Ziad. Euronews
From left to right: Mowaea, Hala, Hamid and Ziad. (Euronews)

It was around this time that Nusra would cede control of Raqqa, and their detainees, to ISIL. The terror group learned of Hamid’s activism and spied on his house. Militants stormed the homes of his fellow activists and arrested them. Many were murdered, while the fate of others remains unknown.

Then came the threats to kill Hamid.

“We felt that we were going to being next, so we decided to flee to Turkey,” he says.

The escape

Hala, at least, was safe, having flown to Dubai months earlier to stay with relatives due to ill health, while Mowaea was in Turkey training with an NGO. leaving Hamid to plot an escape with Ziad.

Recalling his last day in Syria, Hamid says: “You cannot comprehend the pain of leaving your home and your country behind. When you leave everything to go to a country where you do not speak its language or know anyone there.

“I stood in front of the door of my house. We had a big house, full of pictures and stuff.

“I am a poet and I had my poems and paintings, and so I asked myself: What can I take with me from this house?

“I decided to take only my passport and nothing else…except maybe some trousers and a shirt.”

Hamid and Ziad took their few belongings and spent the night at a friend’s house before paying a driver to take them to the Turkish border at dawn.

“The roads were blocked by ISIS so we fled to Turkey illegally,” says Hamid.

The pair managed to cross the border gates without visas and pass through the city of Urfa, before joining Mowaea 65km north of the border after a four-day trek.

Within months, Hala had returned from Dubai and the family found a permanent home in the city of Gaziantep. Ziad was homeschooled, while Mowaea secured work as a project officer with a US organisation and used his salary to support the household.

Back in Raqqa, the Khatib’s house was a pile of rubble. Within days of it being abandoned, jihadist fighters moved in and erected a wall around it, attracting the attention of military jets. The family suspects bombs were being made there, but will never know for sure.

Returning the favour

The Khatibs had been living in Turkey for six months when they received an unexpected phone call.

“I left Syria in October and they were arrested in June,” says Hamid, referring to Henin and Torre’s capture by jihadists.

“The journalists had a Facebook page and we learned that there had been a deal.”

In April 2014, the French government had secured the release of four journalists and ISIL hostages: Didier Francois, Edouard Elias — and Henin and Torre, who had been chained together in an underground cell for half a year.

Left to right: Didier Francois, Edouard Elias, then-president of France Francois Hollande, Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres. (REUTERS)
Left to right: Didier Francois, Edouard Elias, then-president of France Francois Hollande, Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres. (REUTERS)

“They called us,” Hamid continues, “Nicolas and Pierre.

“They said they were in a hotel in Turkey.”

The Khatibs were delighted. Hamid and his two sons arranged to meet the pair in Gaziantep. It was an emotional reunion.

“Everyone from the [French] embassy was there, and some of them cried when they saw us meet.

“And then they made an asylum application for me that I didn’t know about – I did not apply.”

A new life

Following months of interviews, background checks and paperwork, the Khatibs were finally granted passage to France and settled in Lyon in 2015. They have since made it their home – along with the rest of the family.

Hala and Hamid took up French. Ziad, now 18 and sporting a topknot, has almost finished his Baccalaureate in English, French and Arabic literature. Mowaea, 27, lives in Paris, where he is studying Persian at university. And the eldest children, Marwan, 35, and Layal, 32, uprooted their lives in Dubai and Oman respectively to join the family in France.

Together, they are on the hunt for a van for their up-and-coming mobile food business ‘Pita Et Baguette’, where they plan to serve hot, delicious Syrian food at public events.

The Khatibs have a future and are thriving. But what about Syria? Once the conflict is over and the country is rebuilt, would they go back?

“It was difficult and new for us. We had never left the city before,” says Ziad, recalling Raqqa. “Even when we did leave, it was only for a week or two.

“Then when we came to Turkey, I always thought we would go back to Raqqa, and I will never lose this feeling for the rest of my life.”

*Some names have been changed to protect the identity of the source.

Read more: http://www.euronews.com/2018/03/24/kidnappings-murder-and-isil-a-syrian-family-s-voyage-to-france

Euronews feature: Could severe storms like Irma one day thrash Europe?

(Euronews) More than one million residents in Florida are reportedly still without power, and millions more remain homeless after Hurricane Irma barrelled through the United States and Caribbean islands last week.

The category five cyclone, the most powerful kind, stretched over 800 miles-wide with wind speeds reaching 185mph at its peak, leaving a trail of destruction potentially worth $83 billion (€74 billion).
Over 80 deaths have been linked to the storm, which is thought to be the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history.

In Europe however, hurricanes are mercifully rare since they typically form over warm tropical oceans, but climate experts say that much larger storms will strike the region as carbon emissions heat the world’s atmosphere. Professor Uwe Ulbrich believes extratropical cyclones which blanket entire European countries will become more frequent and destructive within the next few decades.

“That is what the climate models tell us,” says Ulbrich, who heads the Institute of Meteorology at Freie Universität Berlin. “Their wind speeds will be less than what you see with hurricanes in the Atlantic, but they would also bring storm surges and intense flooding.”

Storm surges flood land by pushing water onshore via strong winds. Climate expert Dr Pieter Groenemeijer warns that countries nearest the British Isles and Balkans are likely to suffer most as global warming amplifies such extreme weather.

“Extratropical cyclones are caused by a difference in temperature over a very large area,” says Groenemeijer, director of the European Severe Storms Laboratory.

“They typically occur in Northwestern Europe in autumn, winter and early spring.

“And especially in Central and in Southern Europe, there will be more severe thunderstorms that can produce hail, wind, tornadoes and very heavy rainfall as climate change worsens.”

Severe storms are the second-largest cause of insured loss in the world, and between 1980 and 2013 they were the most expensive natural hazard in Europe, according to German reinsurer Munich Re. Last year, torrential rain and flooding in Germany, France and Austria inflicted almost €5.4 billion worth of damage between May and June.

But there are ways in which governments can adapt to the intensifying weather to reduce costs.

“There are two key things policymakers must do,” says Nicolas Jeanmart, the head of personal insurance, general insurance & macro-economics at Insurance Europe.

“The first is to have effective building codes that are properly implemented to avoid development in high-risk areas. For example, requests to build on floodplains should be denied.

“The second is to build defences for properties that have already been built in vulnerable areas. Such efforts can take the form of climate-proofing existing buildings or providing incentives, such as through taxation, for climate-resilient development projects.

“However, while insurers can provide valuable expertise in terms of dealing with severe weather, it is authorities that need to fully implement the Paris climate agreement to limit the increase in global temperatures that is leading to increasingly severe weather.”

So the question remains: Can Europe completely prevent the arrival of powerful, behemoth storms on its shores or is there no hope left?

“We need to adapt as the weather changes,” says Ulbrich, “but to stop it from getting worse we need to make sure we stop increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

“We may not see a drastic change within the next 10 years, but we can influence it by acting now.”

Daily Record: The Rape Clause explained

Nicola Sturgeon has demanded that Ruth Davidson “break cover” and speak publicly about the Tory Government’s rape clause.

(Daily Record) Nicola Sturgeon has demanded that Ruth Davidson “break cover” and speak publicly about the Tory Government’s rape clause.

The First Minister slammed the Scottish Tory leader as “shameful” for backing the barbaric new rule that was brought in under welfare changes.

Watch this video on Facebook.

Read more: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/speak-up-ruth-nicola-sturgeon-10215661