Geopolitics

Welcome To Xingtai, The Most Polluted City In China

As Chinese Premier Li Keqiang rolled out the country's new 'war on pollution,' Le Monde paid a visit to the city that has registered the dirtiest air in China.

Forecast: fog mixed with smog
Forecast: fog mixed with smog
Harold Thibault

XINGTAI – The decision, made in January 2013, for 74 Chinese cities to publish their pollution levels in real time only confirmed what many here already feared: Xingtai’s air quality is the worst in China.

And yet, no protesters have taken to the long Iron and Steel street, which goes from the north of the city to the south, and is home to a steel factory and a coal-fired power station. Instead, reactions of residents waver between muffled anger, doubts about the efficiency of the measures taken, and resignation.

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Society

Face In The Mirror: Dutch Hairdressers Trained To Recognize Domestic Violence

Early detection and accessible help are essential in the fight against domestic violence. Hairdressers in the Dutch province of North Brabant are now being trained to identify when their customers are facing abuse at home.

Hair Salon Rob Peetoom in Rotterdam

Daphne van Paassen

TILBURG — The three hairdressers in the bare training room of the hairdressing company John Beerens Hair Studio are absolutely sure: they have never seen signs of domestic violence among their customers in this city in the Netherlands. "Or is that naïve?"

When, a moment later, statistics appear on the screen — one in 20 adults deals with domestic violence, as well as one or two children per class — they realize: this happens so often, they must have victims in their chairs.

All three have been in the business for years and have a loyal clientele. Sometimes they have customers crying in the chair because of a divorce. According to Irma Geraerts, 45, who has her own salon in Reusel, a village in the North Brabant region, they're part-time psychologists. "A therapist whose hair I cut explained to me that we have an advantage because we touch people. We are literally close. The fact that we stand behind people and make eye contact via the mirror also helps."

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