Weekly roundup

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The biggest news overall in Europe this week was Russia’s seizing of three Ukrainian ships, and the Ukrainian parliament’s subsequent declaration of martial law. Danube is, however, a sociocultural website, and so:

Top sociocultural news was the ratcheting up of the gilets jaunes protests against president Emmanuel Macron and rising costs of living in France – so called because of the yellow vests worn by the protesters. The protests turned violent, with hundreds of arrests and clashes between some protesters and police. The Guardian’s report was a good one, while Politico reported that the protests also moved to Brussels.

Macron was scathing in his response, saying: “What happened in Paris today has nothing to do with the peaceful expression of legitimate anger. There is no reason why the security forces should be attacked, that shops should be looted, that public or private buildings be burned, that passersby or journalists be threatened, that the triumphal arch should be defiled.”

Sticking with France, Macron’s decision that France should start returning some of the cultural treasures it obtained during its colonial period is also provoking a backlash, as reported by AFP.

Georgia elected its first woman president, just as the role is being stripped of most of its meaning and power, the BBC reported.

Italian film director Bernardo Bertolucci, the only Italian director to have won an Oscar for best director according to film industry newspaper Variety, died age 77.  Variety had the best-written obituary we saw of the controversial figure.

The plane that was carrying Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel to Argentina for a meeting of the G20 was forced to make an emergency landing in Spain. What’s the cultural relevance of that, you cry? Politico’s Matthew Karnitschnig had some interesting thoughts.

One of EurActiv’s daily briefings had a nice intro by Samuel Stolton that looked at the history of persecuted astronomer Galileo Galilei, and how he eventually lent his name to the EU’s satellite navigation system.

In the UK, a parliamentary committee is looking into why so few working class people make it in the entertainment industry, as nicely reported by The Stage.

In is-this-trivial-or-important conundrum corner, the BBC reported on how Germany’s interior ministry felt the need to apologise after it served pork sausage at a conference on Islam, which forbids the eating of pork.

And finally, the BBC also put together a short video on how Norwegian chess champion Magnus Carlsen finally retained his world championship title after an epic, record-breaking 12 draws and more than 50 hours of play.

Words: Craig Nicholson

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