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Eurovision 2015 Contestants: Albania

The 60th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, that annual European musical event that no one really understands, will take place on May 23 in Vienna, Austria. This year, 40 countries will participate, including, for the first time that country down in the extreme southeastern corner of Europe: Australia. (organizers cite “strong cultural ties” to explain their qualification).

We will use this space to introduce the 40 contestants this year, one-by-one.

It turns out Eurovision has a whole set of rules, and voting doesn’t only consist in countries giving points to their neighbors. But as we’re still not too sure what makes a good Eurovision song, we will rate them according to our own three selected criteria: “Does it make you want to visit that country?”, “Was there enough glitter?” and “Should they actually be in the music business (OK to quit your day job)?”

Our first contestant is Albania and its singer Elhaida Dani, who became famous after winning Star Academy Albania in 2009 and The Voice of Italy in 2013. She will be performing “I’m Alive,” a song about feeling one’s existence and emotions to the fullest through love and pain.

In the video, various women working different jobs can be seen staring at the camera, shedding a single tear before pulling that tear back into their eye and smiling.

Our vote:

Does it make you want to visit that country? 4/10

Was there enough glitter? 3.25/10

Ok to quit your day job? 4.75/10


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Inside Copernicus, Where All The Data Of Climate Change Gets Captured And Crunched

As COP28 heats up, a close-up look at the massive European earth observatory program 25 years after its creation, with its disturbing monthly reports of a planet that has gotten hotter than ever.

A photo of Sentinel-2 floating above Earth

Sentinel-2 orbiting Earth

Laura Berny

PARIS — The monthly Copernicus bulletin has become a regular news event.

In early August, amid summer heatwaves around the Northern Hemisphere, Copernicus — the Earth Observation component of the European Union's space program — sent out a press release confirming July as the hottest month ever recorded. The news had the effect of a (climatic) bomb. Since then, alarming heat records have kept coming, including the news at the beginning of November, when Copernicus Climate Change Service deputy director Samantha Burgess declared 2023 to be the warmest year on record ”with near certainty.”

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Approaching the dangerous threshold set by the Paris Agreement, the global temperature has never been so high: 1.43°C (2.57°F) higher than the pre-industrial average of 1850-1900 and 0.10°C (0.18°F) higher than the average of 2016 (warmest year so far). Burgess, a marine geochemistry researcher who previously served as chief advisor for oceans for the UK government, knows that the the climate data gathered by Copernicus is largely driving the negotiations currently underway at COP28 in Dubai.

She confirmed for Les Echos that December is also expected to be warmer than the global average due to additional heat in sea surfaces, though there is still more data to collect. “Are the tipping points going to be crossed in 2023,?" she asked. "Or is it just a very warm year part of the long-term warming trend varying from one year to the next?”

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