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LES ECHOS

New TV Series: What If Leaders Of France And Germany Were Secret Lovers?

A German series imagines the unlikely passion between the heads of state of Europe's two continental powers. No, no: That's not Merkel or Hollande ... and certainly not Sarkozy.

Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Thibaut Madelin

BERLIN — He has just been elected as French president, and meets the German chancellor three weeks later during a European summit. On the agenda: Germany's request to France to shut down its nuclear plants and engage in new energy policies.

During the night, the two leaders run into each other in the hotel's kitchen. The French president had trouble sleeping and decided to make himself scrambled eggs. The chancellor felt like having a glass of warm milk. They discover that 25 years earlier they'd spent a memorable night of passion together in Berlin, the exact day the Wall fell.

The State Affair, which will premiere Tuesday in prime time on German TV channel Sat. 1, tells the unlikely love story between Anna Bremer, head of the German government, played by the star actress Veronica Ferres, and Guy Dupont, the French President played by Philippe Caroit.

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Veronica Ferres and Philippe Caroit — Photo: Facebook page

"This President doesn’t come from an elite," the French actor tells Les Echos. "He’s a sort of Sarkozy-like center-right playboy." He drives sports cars, is happily surrounded by models and wears Ray-Bans and Rolex watches.

Watchful eyes

The former French president may have inspired the film, but it is current German Chancellor Angela Merkel who seems to have been the model for the Veronica Ferres character. Anna Bremer may admittedly not wear colored blazers and she may have a slimmer figure thanks to her regular runs, but she does hold her hands together to shape a diamond, the mark of the (real) German chancellor. In the same way, there is a scene with her advisor imploring her to be more glamorous and be less rigorous. "People want charm, that little extra thing," he tells her.

"Of course, and how about 4% unemployment and a balanced budget?" she responds.

The show has the feel of a romantic comedy, and has no shortage of nods and winks. "But, without being a docudrama, this film could be used to make people think about a head of state's responsibilities," Caroit explains.

Ferres, who had lunch with Merkel in May — the day before François Hollande visited her in Straslund — revealed in an interview that Merkel "was not enthusiastic about the idea of having an affair with the French president."

Still, the German leader was apparently amused by the TV project. Whether out of curiosity or precaution, one of her advisors was present throughout the filming.

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Future

Injecting Feminism Into Science Is A Good Thing — For Science

Feminists have generated a set of tools to make science less biased and more robust. Why don’t more scientists use it?

As objective as any man

Anto Magzan/ZUMA
Rachel E. Gross

-Essay-

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, a mystery played out across news headlines: Men, it seemed, were dying of infection at twice the rate of women. To explain this alarming disparity, researchers looked to innate biological differences between the sexes — for instance, protective levels of sex hormones, or distinct male-female immune responses. Some even went so far as to test the possibility of treating infected men with estrogen injections.

This focus on biological sex differences turned out to be woefully inadequate, as a group of Harvard-affiliated researchers pointed out earlier this year. By analyzing more than a year of sex-disaggregated COVID-19 data, they showed that the gender gap was more fully explained by social factors like mask-wearing and distancing behaviors (less common among men) and testing rates (higher among pregnant women and health workers, who were largely female).

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