What We Missed in April

Photo: Eleni Zaras

Photo: Eleni Zaras

Femen attempted action in front of the Tunisian Ambassy (April 4)

Fifteen women from the feminist group Femen were arrested in front of the Tunisian embassy in Paris demonstrating support for Amina Tyler. The Tunisian woman fled from her family due to threats of stoning, following the publication of pictures exposing her topless. Three other Femen members showed their support, burning a Salafist flag outside the Grande Mosque in Paris.

Sidaction sees rise in donations in 2013 (April 5)

Every year Sidaction organizes a fund-raising campaign to support AIDS research and prevention. This year the nonprofit organization gathered promises of contributions amounting to €851,000.

Failure of the referendum in Alsace (April 7)

For the first time a referendum was held at a regional level in Alsace, in order to merge two local authorities, the Conseil régional and the Conseil départemental, in charge of a lower administrative district. But the electorate voted against the merger, contrary to the predictions of the polls. 67.53% voted in favor of the Bas-Rhin locality but 55.74% voted “no” in the Haut-Rhin. To succeed the referendum must gain the approbation of both localities.

State must find housing for Roms (April 8)

The prefect of the Rhônes-Alpes region had until April 8 to rehouse dozens of Romani families who were expelled in March if he wanted to avoid the financial penalty of €75 per person and per day following a decision of the administrative tribunal of Lyon. Families are now accommodated in hostels and houses. Recently a prefect from the Parisian suburbs was also forced to rehouse Romani people.

Decentralization bill split in three parts (April 10)

The absence of a majority in the Senate forced the government to split the bill on the decentralization reform in three parts to avoid a rejection of the text. The first part will present the structure of the reform of local authorities. The second part will redefine the functions of the departments and regions – a broader administrative area. The third part will tackle the reform of the communes – group of towns. The bill was presented to the Conseil des ministres on April 10 and is currently being examined by the Parliament.

National congress of PS interrupted by PSA employees (April 13)

Strikers from the group PSA Peugeot Citroën interrupted the National council of the Parti socialiste (PS), asking for the support of the government. The car manufacturing group, in the middle of a restructuring plan, announced the suppression of more than 8,000 employment contracts in France and the closing of factories, including the one located in Aulnay-sous-Bois.

Reform of departmental council elections: Voting for a couple (April 17)

The Parliament reformed the elections of departmental representatives by changing the “two-round” system. From now on, the electorate will no longer vote for one candidate but for a couple. The particularity of the system is the solidarity between the two candidates: if one is elected it triggers the automatic election of the other. Designed to ensure parity, it is also highly criticized by the opposition in Parliament.

Opening of an outsized trial : The PIP scandal (April 17)

Jean-Claude Mas, founder of the company PIP, and four other leaders are accused of aggravated deceit and swindle. An enormous trial opened on April 17: more than 5,000 plaintiffs and 300 lawyers are involved.

In 2010, the French health safety agency had ordered PIP branded breast implants to be retired from the market due to the silicon used and risks of rupture. A scandal then erupted after the death of a woman from cancer following the rupture of her implant in 2011. Today, almost 3,000 women are wearing a PIP implant sold during the 2000s.

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