Some 60 million German voters are expected to vote this Sunday to renew their Parliament, which in turn will determine who will succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The election promises to be close and could lead to a coalition government. During the campaign, two candidates seemed to stand out.
On the one hand, it is Armin Laschet of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Merkel’s party of which he is the current president. At 60, he is also the Prime Minister of Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia.
Opposite, there is Olaf Scholz of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). At 63, this former finance minister is currently vice-chancellor.
Britain, which has placed many African countries on the “red list”, imposing strict quarantines on travelers arriving from these countries, risks discouraging vaccination efforts on the most struggling continent, the authority denounced on Thursday. of the African Union.
These travelers, even inoculated with the same vaccines that are administered in Europe, must undergo a ten-day quarantine in a hotel chosen by the British government.
“We regret this position of the United Kingdom and we urge them to reconsider it,” said the director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), John Nkengasong, during his weekly press briefing.
Britain has given more than five million vaccines to Africa, according to the UN. But “if you send us vaccines while saying we do not recognize these vaccines, it sends a very complicated message, which creates confusion within our population (…) causing more reluctance in the face of the vaccine”, he added.
Africans will wonder why they should get vaccinated, if some countries in Europe refuse to recognize the validity of these vaccines, he said.
“It is clearly unacceptable. We must raise our voices against these practices, it is not what is necessary to put an end to this pandemic”, insisted Mr. Nkengasong.
Eliminating countries that vaccinate their populations “creates stigma”, will hamper efforts to fight the pandemic and “will end up harming our efforts in Africa,” he added.
Some African countries are facing a resurgence of Covid as the continent lags behind in the global vaccination campaign, with only 4% of its population of 1.3 billion vaccinated.
Hunting wolves has now been banned throughout Spain since Wednesday, September 23, 2021. The decision delighted some, but saddened others, as in the Sierra de la Culebra, a paradise for both Iberian wolves and extensive breeding.
The 4×4 advances on a rough dirt road, the shepherdess gets off it and, with a robust step, goes towards a small ditch. “It’s there,” said Ana Vega, breeder at Ungilde, pointing at the ground.
Of the carcass of the calf killed two days earlier, nothing remains. “They took everything away”.
In the Sierra de la Culebra, an area of some 70,000 hectares located in Castile and Leon (north-western Spain), wolves are everywhere, on signs or T-shirts in souvenir shops. We talk about it in the singular, as in a tale.
“Here, it has always been a wolf’s paradise,” confirms Carlos Zamora behind his binoculars, on the lookout for a specimen in the shaving sun of dawn.
The forester explains that there are about eight packs of a dozen canines in the area, plus a few stray specimens, a figure that he says hasn’t changed in the last twenty years.
“There are three actors in the tragedy of the wolf: breeders, environmentalists and hunters. Everyone has their solution”, analyzes Carlos Zamora. To this are added the tourists, “who come from Europe to see it as we go to see the lion in Africa”.
Until now, the regions north of the Duero river treated the wolf as a hunting species, which allowed a certain percentage to be killed, like Cantabria, where the elimination in 2021 of 34 wolves (20% of the population).
But in order to unify the rules in the country, the leftist government of Pedro Sánchez has banned his hunting throughout the peninsula, as is already the case in France or Italy. Published Tuesday in the Official Journal, the decree entered into force on Wednesday.
“When it comes to a rare species like the Iberian wolf, the responsibility for its conservation must rest on the whole territory”, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Hugo Morán, told AFP.
But the decision provoked the ire of Cantabria, Asturias, Galicia and Castile and Leon, regions which concentrate the vast majority of the wolf population and which promise to file a lawsuit.
While environmentalists welcome “this important advance”, associations of breeders, such as the Union of Peasants of Castile and Leon (UCCL), deem “incomprehensible that regions without wolves impose their radical ecologism”.
Ana Vega remembers the time when the villagers took justice into their own hands when a sheep was killed by a wolf: “if they caught it, they killed it”.
His phone is full of macabre snapshots of his devoured beasts, some bloody where the animal’s trunk is half shredded.
“I’m not saying we should kill them all, but we should all be able to live,” she continues, asking for help.
Because extensive breeding, where animals graze in the open air, involves heavy investments in the face of predators.
We must feed and vaccinate the guardian angels of the herd, about fifteen mastiffs: giant dogs as tall as ponies, which gobble up kilos of kibble.
Ana has also paid out of her own pocket for tractors to pull up tall grass, where wolves like to hide, on twenty hectares of pasture.
José Castedo’s 450 sheep graze in areas secured by electric enclosures.
“Farms like this, there are few,” says the 62-year-old breeder, more annoyed than proud, who remains cautious about the new legislation, especially with regard to the amount of compensation in the event of wolf attack and payment terms.
He mentions “unfair competition” from other regions, where “sheep are looked after two hours a day with a one-meter-high barrier.”
Without quantifying them, the Ministry of Transition promises “financial resources”: “the breeder who lives with large carnivores requires special treatment”, assures Hugo Morán.
But this cohabitation can turn out to be a happy marriage, even a godsend, as for the breeders Rosi González and her husband Alberto, who made a commercial argument of it with their brand of meat “Grazing with the wolves” (pastandoconlobos), whose logo mixes the profiles of a sheep and a wolf.
Some regions feel penalized by the new law because protecting their farms from the predator is expensive. They are asking for help.
Spain’s decision contrasts with that of Donald Trump’s administration which, at the end of October 2020, had confirmed that wolves would no longer be a protected species in the United States. It thus revoked a classification in place since 1978 after their virtual extinction, and paving the way for them to be further hunted.
The announcement came days before the November 3 presidential election, when many Republican elected officials in the Midwest, crucial electoral land, demanded the removal of the wolf from the protected list.
“After more than 45 years under protected status, the gray wolf has exceeded all conservation targets for its recovery,” said Home Secretary David Bernhardt (the first protections began in 1974) .
The wolf population (Canis lupus) in the United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) has risen to 6,000, against less than 1,000 in 1967, according to the Department of the Interior.
Under the presidency of Barack Obama, the wolf had already lost its protected status in Idaho and Montana.
It is now up to states to decide how to manage wolf populations, whether or not they authorize hunting and traps. The measure was demanded by breeders. Only the “Mexican wolf”, present in the Southwest, will remain protected at the federal level.
The scientific community and a large number of elected officials, citizens and activists opposed the revocation, because the wolf has not yet regained all its historical habitat.
The NGO Earthjustice had promised to challenge the decision in court, accusing the federal agency responsible for the protection of animals of not having followed normal scientific procedures.
Six days after the start of the submarine crisis, Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday announced “commitments” to restore hard-hit confidence, the US president now hoping for a “return to normal”.
Solicited by Washington, the telephone interview was eagerly awaited. And the American leader seemed to recognize a lack of dialogue with his oldest ally, according to a joint statement released by the Elysee and the White House.
The two men agreed that “open consultations between allies” would “have made it possible to avoid this situation,” the statement said.
During the exchange which lasted about thirty minutes according to the White House, Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden tried to find a solution to the most serious diplomatic crisis between the United States and France since the French “no” to the Iraq war in 2003.
The tone of the conversation was “friendly” and Joe Biden “hopes” that the meeting marks “a step towards a return to normalcy” between the two allies, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said during the meeting. a routine press briefing.
It will be followed Thursday in New York, where the UN Annual General Assembly is held, by a tête-à-tête between the French and American foreign ministers, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Antony Blinken, announced an American official.
Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden have decided to meet “at the end of October” in Europe, where the American president is expected to participate in the G20 in Rome on the 30th and 31st, then at the COP26 at the beginning of November in Glasgow, Scotland. Until then, they will launch “a process of in-depth consultations aimed at putting in place the conditions guaranteeing confidence”.
To do this, Emmanuel Macron decided that the French ambassador to the United States, the experienced diplomat Philippe Etienne, would return to Washington “next week”.
Paris announced on Friday the recall of the ambassadors to the United States and Australia, an unprecedented decision, to protest against the announcement of a strategic partnership between these two countries and the United Kingdom in the Indo-Pacific region, which has torpedoed a French submarine mega-contract in Canberra.
The French industrialist Naval Group has let it be known that it will send Australia the invoice for this breach of contract “in a few weeks”.
“The messages are good” with the recognition that it would have been necessary “to communicate better”, commented Benjamin Haddad, director for Europe of the think tank Atlantic Council. “The Americans understood that the main shock in Paris did not come so much from the commercial aspect as from the breach of confidence”, he added, warning however that “we do not overcome everything overnight. by a conversation “.
Contrasting with the very virulent French declarations of the last few days, the joint communique with its very measured tone specifies that “the engagement of France and the European Union in the Indo-Pacific region is of strategic importance”.
Like an olive branch stretched out in Paris, Joe Biden also deemed “it necessary for European defense to be stronger and more efficient” to contribute to transatlantic security and complete “the role of NATO”. A subject on which the United States has, in the past, been ambivalent and which is a French priority.
The crisis has intensified the debate in France, but also in other EU countries, on the need to accelerate towards greater European sovereignty in the area of defense in order to free itself from the American umbrella.
Several candidates for the Elysee Palace, from Jean-Luc Mélenchon (LFI, radical left) to Marine Le Pen (RN, far right) through Eric Ciotti (LR, right), call for a review of links with NATO, some asking the question of France’s participation in the integrated command of the organization.
“Political dialogue is non-existent within NATO”, but “we must not slam the door” of the alliance for as much, replied Wednesday the Minister of the Armies Florence Parly.