For: readers who are interested in general news about French-speaking countries.

Québec, France, Sénégal, Suisse. Quoi de beau ? (what’s beautiful)

The French expression « Quoi de beau ? » is just another way to ask for the news. Yes, there are some « belles nouvelles » (beautiful news) to pay attention to. Economics, green transition, culture, stand-up comedy shows, here’s some belles nouvelles that everyone should know about.

  1. With the vast program Végétalisons Paris, the city is becoming « une ville plus verte » (a greener city)
  2. French-speaking countries in Africa are coordinating to reach sustainable development, as their « Rapport de la Francophonie sur le Développement Durable » shows (PDF).
  3. Québec is attracting the brainiest researchers in the world with its institute of Artificial Intelligence led by Yoshua Bengio, winner of the 2018 Turing Prize.
  4. The Brussels commission will present the European Green Deal in summer 2020. « On a hâte ! » (we can’t wait)
  5. France is taking the lead in the plastic-free revolution. It first country to ban single-use plastic such as utensils and plastic cups. The ban will start in January 2020, and it follows the ban on plastic bags already implemented in 2019.
  6. France banned usage of pesticides in public gardens, starting with the controversial glyphosate. Individuals also have to find non-toxic alternatives. There’s isn’t a better incentive for becoming greener!
  7. Belgium elected Sophie Wilmès to be their first « Première Ministre » (female head of government) in history.
  8. In Grenoble, France, neuroscientists and doctors teamed up to help a young paralysed man walk a hundred meters using a mind-controlled skeleton.
  9. Senegal is laying the ground for universal health coverage by 2022. « Un exemple à suivre ! » (an example to follow)
  10. Senegal again is taking the lead by investing in sustainable agriculture and empowering their young workforce with the PRODAC program (see, in French).
  11. The railway station of France fifth biggest city, Nantes, will double its public transportation capacity. More public transportation, means decreased carbon footprint!
  12. Léacafé has « un nouveau site pour les étudiants » (a new website for students). That’s good news for 2020 too!
  13. Two new museums opened in Kinshasa, Congo and Lomé, Togo. « Vive la culture ! » (long live culture)
  14. Québec is giving birth to move female movie directors. Il pleuvait des oiseaux by Louise Archambault, La femme de mon frère by Monia Chokri and Antigone by Sophie Deraspe gained popular and critics applause in 2019.
  15. We’re waiting to see the coming movies of Sophie Dupuis, Miryam Bouchard and Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette in 2020.
  16. The ZLEC, Zone de Libre Echange Continentale (African Continental Free Trade Agreement) is has now 54 members and it makes Africa the biggest free trade zone. The economical impacts are debated (read more, in French)
  17. The successful French telecom company Free, founded by Xavier Neil arrives in Senegal! (see, in French)
  18. Québec students are now 5th in the PISA Education ranking worldwide. Bilingualism may contribute to that education success!
  19. « La Bande-Dessinée » (graphic novels and comics) is reaching new heights in Québec with the Montréal-based editions « La Pastèque » celebrating its 200th publication!
  20. Swiss stand-up comedy festival that takes place every year in Montreux is now available to watch. « Riez un bon coup en français » (have a good laugh!)

Voeux de Jacques Brel

In 1968 (pronounce in French « mille neuf cent soixante huit »), the singer and songwriter Jacques Brel said his wishes to the world. Thanks to French learner Brad, (« Merci à toi Brad ! ») for bringing out these ageless words that I think are worth wishing to all of us, human beings from 2020.

<< Je vous souhaite des rêves à n’en plus finir et l’envie furieuse d’en réaliser quelques uns. Je vous souhaite d’aimer ce qu’il faut aimer et d’oublier ce qu’il faut oublier. Je vous souhaite des passions, je vous souhaite des silences. Je vous souhaite des chants d’oiseaux au réveil et des rires d’enfants. Je vous souhaite de respecter les différences des autres, parce que le mérite et la valeur de chacun sont souvent à découvrir. Je vous souhaite de résister à l’enlisement, à l’indifférence et aux vertus négatives de notre époque. Je vous souhaite enfin de ne jamais renoncer à la recherche, à l’aventure, à la vie, à l’amour, car la vie est une magnifique aventure et nul de raisonnable ne doit y renoncer sans livrer une rude bataille. Je vous souhaite surtout d’être vous, fier de l’être et heureux, car le bonheur est notre destin véritable. >>

« I wish you an endless list of dreams, and the furious desire to make some of them come true. I wish you to love what should be loved and to forget what must be forgotten. I wish you passions, I wish you silences. I wish you bird songs at dawn and children’s laughter. I wish you to respect people’s uniqueness, and we should discover the value and merit of each. I wish you to overcome stalemates, overcome indifference as well as the sins of our time. And I wish you never to renounce the search, adventure, life, love, because life is an incredible adventure and no reasonable human being must renounce it without putting up a tough fight. I wish you most of all to be yourself, proud and happy, because happiness is our true destiny. »

Jacques Brel, 1er janvier 1968

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