FRANCE BLEU
France Bleu is a network of 44 local and regional radio stations across France, part of the national public broadcasting group Radio France. The network has a public service mission to serve local audiences and provides local news and content on its radio stations and news websites. France Bleu was created in 2000 as a merger between "Les locales de Radio France" and "Radio Bleue".
Rooster, Mon Amour: The Not-So-Quiet Truth About Our Famous French Countryside
food / travel
Anne-Sophie Goninet

Rooster, Mon Amour: The Not-So-Quiet Truth About Our Famous French Countryside

To most, the French countryside evokes an idyllic paradise, from the southern Provence region with its lavender fields to vineyard-covered Burgundy to the castles of the Loire Valley. In this postcard vision, you can smell the soft air, see the grazing cows and hear the silence, broken only by the rare tolling of local church bells.

You probably never considered ... the noise.

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Scottish call-center consultant Jason Griffin suspended his new workspace from a cliff in Wales
BBC
Rozena Crossman

Work → In Progress: Redefining Our Work-Life Balance

Telework, telework, telework … The concept may seem like old hat at this point. And yet, there are also new elements to the phenomenon that keep cropping up — new words, shifting workplace relationships, evolving office spaces — as society continues to morph around this shifting reality.

Fascinating innovations around our new work-life balance are still blossoming, in other words — and negative repercussions are still taking us by surprise. This edition of Work → In Progress stays ahead of the game, pinpointing the problems and solutions that will be on our minds even in a fully-vaccinated future.

LET'S GET PHYGITAL The hybrid system of working from both home and the office is now so common that France has come up with a new word to describe it: "phygital." A combination of the words physique (physical) and digital, the concept is so ingrained into modern work life that jobs ads for "chief phygital officer" are starting to pop up, and the French daily Le Figaro reports that many of the country's largest corporations are gearing up for a post-pandemic phygital workplace.

WORK FROM WHERE? While some may be moving their home office to a new room, one Scottish call-center consultant suspended his new workspace from a cliff in Wales. Armed with nothing but his laptop, a mobile internet connection and a hanging tent, Jason Griffin spent a day juggling client calls while dangling above the sea. He's already planning his next home office adventure on the western coast of Scotland. Perhaps his stunts will inspire an x-treme teleworking trend.

THE NEW ABNORMAL Workplace abuse is back on the rise in Brazil. According to the financial paper Valor Econômico, social distancing and the shift to remote work in the early months of the pandemic caused reports of harassment, sexual and otherwise, during working hours to fall by as much 22.7%, leading to a wave of optimism. But the change was short-lived: According to a new survey by Valor, these old problems have found new ways to sneak back into the country's companies, regaining pre-pandemic levels and then rising by an additional 6.2%. For example, sexual harassment now takes place through webcams, where "the internet gives people a sense of impunity." It seems that perpetrators, too, have adapted to the so-called new normal.

THE ODD JOB

BUTT OUT, BOSS Hiding a screaming child from a company Zoom meeting is no easy feat. As offices and schools shut down around the UK at the beginning of the pandemic, employees found themselves explaining their difficult situations to their superiors in an attempt to adapt their new work-life balance as best they could. But the Forward Institute, a non-profit that analyses leadership within companies, found a "fundamental shift in what employers know, and need to know, about their employees' personal circumstances." While some fear this new information sharing may lead to discrimination, the director of PurpleSpace, a company that provides support for disabled employees, told the BBC that company leaders are becoming "more human."

SWAPPING SPACES As Laura, a young Parisian professional explained in recent interview with France Bleu, work used to end as soon as she got onto the metro heading home. But since the lockdown periods began, she now finds herself answering e-mails well into the evening. And that's only one of her gripes with remote working. The other big problem is the lack of home-office space, which is why Laura and her boyfriend are part of a growing number of professionals leaving cities not for sanitary or social reasons — or even to be closer to nature — but to gain a bit more elbow room, so to speak. Adequate work space at home has become so important that, as the Wall Street Journal reports, landlords are now looking to rent out rooms and retail spaces in suburban areas, blurring "the distinction between residential and commercial neighborhoods."

STAT DU JOUR

TECH GLITCH When it comes to the future of the African market, organizations like the World Bank, the IMF, the African Union and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development have been clear about one thing: The digital revolution will electrify the continent's economy. And yet, as the pan-African news website Jeune Afrique reports, some economists feel the tech boom will do nothing to solve the massive unemployment plaguing the Sub-Saharan region. One argument purports that in the manufacturing sector, African companies can either create jobs or become more competitive, but the machine-driven nature of our world today does not allow for both. Much of African job creation currently takes place within the agricultural industry and much of the work is informal. Perhaps actors looking to boost employment in Africa should put the same emphasis on farming as they do on tech.

French Hospital Accidentally Shows Porn To Emergency Room Patients
WHAT THE WORLD
Genevieve Mansfield

French Hospital Accidentally Shows Porn To Emergency Room Patients

You’ve heard of NSFW (Not Safe for Work), but what about NSFH (Not Safe for Hospitals)?

When entering an emergency room waiting area, you might expect the smell of ammonia, old magazines and maybe even a television set to the local news station or weather channel. But in a hospital in Bayonne, in France"s Basque country, the staff wanted to offer patients and accompanying family members some surprise programming on the waiting room TV ...

The France Bleu broadcaster reported that staff had set the TV to a paid channel in order to broadcast that evening's top soccer match, but once it ended, the next paid feature was an X-rated film. No one changed the channel, and the pornographic film played for a full 20 minutes.

One patient posted a video of the scene to Twitter with the caption "This is how patients are treated in Basque Country. Welcome to Bayonne's emergency room at night."

The director of the hospital issued a statement apologizing to the patients and staff, blaming the incident on the private television company that manages the hospital's TV channels and recently changed its programming filters. Until their filters are fixed, we'll just consider that hospital waiting room Rated ER.

French Village Finds Treasure In Old House … Twice
FRANCE 3 REGIONS
Bertrand Hauger

French Village Finds Treasure In Old House … Twice

Working at the town hall in Morez, we imagine, must be a busy yet somewhat uneventful affair: There's roadworks on the main rue de la République to take care of, planning for the reopening of the Eyewear Museum — and perhaps most stressful, worrying about budget and spending for this village of 4,800 nestled in the peaceful Jura mountains.

So imagine Mayor Laurent Petit's surprise (and delight) when his staff struck actual gold, not once, but twice in a matter of months … Money "almost heaven-sent," the mayor told France Bleu radio station: After discovering 500,000 euros worth of gold coins and bars last spring, hidden in jars of jams in a decrepit house the town had purchased for a measly 130,000 euros, a safe was recently found in the very same house, at the back of an old wardrobe.

In the safe: another trove of more than 500 gold coins, estimated to be worth between 100,000 and 150,000 euros, as local paper Voix du Jura reports.

Rumors had circulated about a hidden treasure in the three-story house in the town center, which belonged to a long line of eyewear and clock merchants. But when the last owner died last year in his 90s, the person who inherited the place chose to sell it to the town hall rather than having to deal with generations-worth of "junk."

As Mayor Petit told France 3 Regions, "the town's budget is only 6 million euros, so that'll do us good, for sure."

Parents Call Cops On Teen Son For Refusing To Clear The Table
WHAT THE WORLD
Bertrand Hauger

Parents Call Cops On Teen Son For Refusing To Clear The Table

Parenting can be a tricky thing.

Who can safely say they've never, in the heat of the moment, brandished over-the-top threats to try to get unruly offspring to comply? And who ever follows through?

Well the scene earlier this week inside a family home in Limoges, France, was looking familiar, as reported by local radio station France Bleu Limousin: Facing their 15-year-old son's refusal to clear the table after dinner, Papa and Maman launched the not-so-credible We'll-call-the-cops ultimatum. But this time, they followed through and dialed #17, the emergency police number in France, to report a "big family dispute."

When officers arrived, after making sure that everyone was fine, they had a lecture for the parents, that the situation "was more a matter of lack of authority than a police concern."

All clear then — that is, except for the table.

Syrians demonstrated in the city of Idlib against the presidential elections which were held this Wednesday, with Bashar al-Assad expected to win a fourth term
BBC

The Latest: U.S. Probes COVID Origin, Macron In Rwanda, Hello Friends

Welcome to Thursday, where Joe Biden calls for a deeper investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, France recognizes its responsibility in the Rwandan genocide and six famous friends are reunited after 17 years. Persian-language magazine Kayhan-London also reports on how the pandemic, combined with dire economic conditions and government repression, has had a profound impact on Iranian's mental health.

• Biden orders investigation into coronavirus origin: U.S. President Joe Biden has ordered intelligence officials to "redouble" efforts to determine the origins of COVID-19, including the theory that it came from a Chinese laboratory. China has already rejected this theory, accusing the U.S. government of politicizing the pandemic.

• Macron recognizes French "responsibility" in Rwanda genocide: On a symbolic visit to Rwanda on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron recognized France's "political" responsibility in the 1994 genocide, though adding that France was not complicit in the genocide.

• Azerbaijan captures six Armenian troops: Azeri troops have captured six Armenian soldiers near the border, the latest incident in continuing tensions since war reignited last year in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh.

• Eight killed in San Jose mass shooting: At least eight people were killed when a gunman opened fire at a California rail yard before taking his own life, the latest mass shooting as Congress debates legislation to curb gun violence.

• Dozens missing after Nigeria boat sinks: Dozens of people are missing in northwest Nigeria after an overloaded boat carrying around 160 passengers sank in the Niger River.

• Manhunt in Belgium for suspect who threatened to kill COVID expert: A manhunt for career soldier Jürgen Conings, 46, has entered its second week in Belgium, after the suspect allegedly stole an arsenal of deadly weapons from a military barracks and threatened to kill one of the country's most famous virologists.

• Hello, old Friends: The long-awaited Friends reunion special will be aired today, 17 years after the final episode and featuring such acquaintances as Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga.

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