Stories about France

What helped me get through a coronavirus quarantine in France

Thousands of people around the world are either going into quarantine or self-isolation to minimise the potential spread of COVID-19. This includes those who have been isolated after testing positive for the infection and those who are suspected of contracting the virus after coming in contact with a carrier. The first group of Pakistanis who experienced quarantine were students caught in the crisis right at the start of its outbreak in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Their desperate calls for help through social media and electronic media provided the first glimpse of how daunting it can be to experience ...

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Should Pakistan instate a travel ban against coronavirus emergent regions?

In its final year in office, the current Trump administration has instated a 30-day travel ban extending to Europe and to its ally the United Kingdom (UK), supplementing the already existing bans on China and South Korea. Blaming the large number of new clusters in the United States (US) as a result of travel from Europe, President Donald Trump moved to present a resolute US front against the rapid spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), which the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared to be a global pandemic. On the other side of the Atlantic, here in the UK, Prime Minister ...

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The importance of economic transparency in Pakistan

The boisterous wrangling over the post-Brexit agreement between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU), and the adoption of an assertive economic nationalism by the United States (US) in the ongoing trade disputes with other major economies have quickened the pace of realignment and reconfiguration in the global economy. The ensuing volatility and uncertainty have been compounded by the staggering challenge of coming up with a sustainable solution to climate change, managing the inexorable spread of coronavirus, and rationalising the network of relations in the global supply chain. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has responded to these developments ...

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Why is the world embracing right wing politics?

In 2019, Modi’s re-election in India alongside Bolsonaro in Brazil added to the growing list of right-wing populist leaders around the world. With Trump serving as the president of the United States, Israel’s Netanyahu becoming the country’s longest-serving prime minister and a resurgent European far-right, the rise of populist strongmen as leaders in several countries has become a subject of intense scrutiny especially focused on why these changes are taking place. In order to understand the issue at hand, I shall look at studies from the 90s to the 2000s, which will also be complemented by current research and then applied to political ...

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Is Venezuela the new Afghanistan?

Three days ago, the first United Nations (UN) rapporteur to visit Venezuela in 21 years told British media outlet The Independent that US sanctions on Venezuela are illegal and bordering on “crimes against humanity” under international law. No one in the international media will say it, but sanctions are always the precursor to war. Never mind Washington’s barbaric sanctions on pre-2003 Iraq, which are estimated to have killed 1.7 million Iraqi civilians, including 500,000 children. Not many people acknowledge this fact, but before the Pearl Harbour attack during World War II, the US had targeted Japan’s rapidly developing economy heavily with economic sanctions, forcing Japan to respond ...

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Bidding goodbye to a year of political turmoil, endless warfare and myopic leadership

In the blink of an eye, another year has passed. Like the previous year, 2018 has been intriguing, exciting and alarming. We have witnessed several positive, and unfortunately, an equal number or even more negative events during the year. These include SpaceX conducting a successful maiden flight of Falcon Heavy, Vladimir Putin getting elected for a fourth term as the Russian president, the United States withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), and of course, France experiencing its worst civil unrest since the protests of 1968, to name a few. Would I say the world is becoming scarier with each passing ...

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Controversies, surprises and uplifting moments – 2018 was the year of football

Football is rightly lauded as the king of sports and 2018 was another year where this sport proved why it is held in such a high regard. Since this was also a FIFA World Cup year, there were already major expectations attached with the sport, but like every year, football managed to exceed these expectations and then some. So without further ado, let’s have a look at some of the moments which helped consolidate football’s position right at the top during this past one year. Croatia losing the FIFA 2018 After 63 matches and 163 goals, Croatia and France were the last two ...

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To squat or not to squat?

I was one-year-old when my family moved from Pakistan to Botswana. Located in Southern Africa, Botswana is about the size of France, with an astonishingly low population of two-and-a-half-million people. We spent most of our time abroad but would often visit home, and at least once a year we visited Karachi, where I was born. Although it had been a few years since my last visit to Karachi, this is a city that always pulls on my heartstrings, and after spending only a week in the city of dreams, I found myself used to the cultural oddities, such as ...

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Stepping into the void: A magical journey to the picturesque Swiss and French Alps

The mountains are calling and I must go – this is what I told myself while planning my summer vacation. Selecting Switzerland was a no-brainer, as it remains one of the most sought after and popular destinations for tourists around the world, thanks to its alpine peaks, mountain vistas and magical landscape. I started my European journey from Chur, reportedly the oldest town in Switzerland, and made my way to the Glacier Express, dubbed the world’s fastest slow train. This is a panoramic train which reaches Zermatt, a Swiss mountain resort, passing through spectacular lakes, enormous mountains and breath-taking landscapes. [caption ...

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A day trip to the micronation of Andorra, a jewel hidden between European giants

Sandwiched between Spain and France in the Pyrenees mountains, very few have heard of the micronation that is Andorra. I too only came across this tiny European country on Google Maps while I was planning my Euro tour. With a total area of only 468 kilometre square and a population of almost 77,000 people, it attracts over 10 million tourists annually, which is where 80% of its gross domestic product (GDP) comes from. Seeing its beauty and its unusual size, it didn’t take long for me to include it in my itinerary as I planned to visit every single state in ...

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