Macron finds his feet on the international stage

Macron finds his feet on the international stage
French President Emmanuel Macron. (AFP)
Updated 18 January 2018

Macron finds his feet on the international stage

Macron finds his feet on the international stage

LONDON: He may have entered the Elysée with almost no diplomatic experience, but Emmanuel Macron has hit the floor running with his foreign policy.
Ahead of his meeting with Theresa May Thursday, the French president “played a blinder” as one UK newspaper put it, by offering to allow the Bayeux Tapestry to be displayed in Britain.
The 11th century work — which depicts the Norman Conquest of England — has not left France in 950 years. But the 40-year-old Macron appears to have little time for the constraints of tradition.
A day later, Britain had offered to pay £44.5 million ($62 million) to help France bring in new measures to tackle migrants trying to cross into the UK from the French port Calais.
Coincidence or another Macron masterstroke?
While Angela Merkel has been distracted by domestic political problems, Macron has positioned himself as the main European voice on the international stage. And he seems to be enjoying the limelight.
In the Middle East, Macron swept into the UAE in November for the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi. He visited Saudi Arabia amid tension over the future of Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
When he hosted Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Paris last month, he was not afraid to condemn Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, calling it a “threat to peace.”
He angered Italy when he hosted a meeting in Paris between the two main Libyan powerbroker on either side of the country’s war. But the symbolism of a handshake between Khalifa Haftar and Fayez Al Sarraj, overshadowed grumblings that Macron’s meeting was distracting from UN and European efforts to resolve the conflict.
Perhaps Macron’s biggest diplomatic coup since he took office in May was hosting a major climate summit in December to reinvigorate international efforts against global warming after Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord.
He has also been praised for his role in helping set up a new force among north African countries to tackle extremist militants in the Sahel.
But some have accused Macron of being the master of the diplomatic gesture but failing to back this up with substantial policy.
On his recent visit to China, Macron started proceedings by presenting a horse to his host, Xi Jinping, called Vesuvius.
Macron’s move to boost France’s standing on the international stage has played well domestically. A survey for French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche in December found 52 percent of those asked were satisfied with Macron, compared to 40 percent in August.


Alarming study reveals effects of long COVID

Alarming study reveals effects of long COVID
Updated 2 min 2 sec ago

Alarming study reveals effects of long COVID

Alarming study reveals effects of long COVID
  • Almost a third of patients who recover return to hospital within 5 months, 1 in 8 dies
  • Author: ‘People seem to be going home, getting long-term effects, coming back in and dying’

LONDON: A new study has revealed the devastating toll that COVID-19 takes on those who recover, with patients experiencing a myriad of illnesses including heart problems, diabetes and chronic conditions.

The study by researchers at the University of Leicester and the UK’s Office of National Statistics said data shows that almost a third of patients who recover from infection return to hospital with further symptoms within five months, and one in eight die.

Out of 47,780 people who were discharged from hospital in the UK’s first wave, 29.4 percent were readmitted to hospital within 140 days, and 12.3 percent of the total died.

“This is the largest study of people discharged from hospital after being admitted with COVID-19,” said the study’s author Kamlesh Khunti, professor of primary care diabetes and vascular medicine at the University of Leicester.

“People seem to be going home, getting long-term effects, coming back in and dying. We see nearly 30 percent have been readmitted, and that’s a lot of people. The numbers are so large. The message here is we really need to prepare for long COVID.”

Long COVID is the term used to characterize the long-term effects that many patients experience after catching and subsequently recovering from the virus.

Khunti said the illnesses that people have been recorded as experiencing after recovering include heart, kidney and liver problems, as well as diabetes.

Other studies have found that patients experience breathlessness and fatigue, and some have even been confined to wheelchairs by long COVID.

The University of Leicester study has not yet been peer reviewed, meaning it has not yet undergone rigorous critique by peers in the field, but scientists have already hailed its results.

Christina Pagel, director of the clinical operational research unit at University College London, tweeted: “This is such important work. Covid is about so much more than death.”