30 October 2011

An aspirin a day... By Martin

According to scientists, a daily dose of aspirin should be given to people at high risk of bowel cancer, such as patients with Lynch Syndrome. Indeed, aspirin is thought to enable one to fight cancer of the bowel and even repair damaged DNA... Thus, according to a study, two pills a day for two years has reduced bowel cancer by 63% in a group of 861 patients suffering from Lynch Syndrome. Nevertheless, it is too early to recommend daily aspirin for those at lower risk.

A vaccine against cancer has yet to be found, but science has discovered new means of limiting the risks of cancer. It is amazing to discover how such a simple thing as aspirin, taken daily, can save people with genetically high risks of the disease...

27 October 2011

Hope for Palestine? By Adam

Palestine has presented its application for membership of the United Nations to Ban Ki-moon. What will this change for Palestine? Will Israel change its colonizing, segregationist and authoritarian policy towards Palestine?

I think this is great news because it will give, if it is accepted, new life to the Palestinian people, reduced to slavery by colonialist Israel. As Mahmoud Abbas said: "After 63 years of suffering: enough, enough, enough!". Israel infringes international law! We must all of us accept the Palestinians as our brothers and our sisters so that they can live freely...

16 October 2011

Brave new world... By David, Loïc & Benoît

In 1997, Dolly the sheep attracted the attention of the world. Now, 14 years later, cloning methods have undergone a new revolution. Researches of a New York laboratory have discovered that if human skin cells are transferred into a human egg, it forms an early embryo. These stem cells can be transformed into any type of cell for the body... It is like a “repair kit” for the body ; People injured in an accident could have their damaged body parts replaced !

Cloning is a science that is still in its infancy. People remain weary of this type of medicine, but experiments show encouraging results.

15 October 2011

Gauls save what's left of the Roman Empire! By Adam

This article by Barry Alberge, published in The Guardian on September 19th 2011, highlights French-Italian collaboration to save Pompeii. A few months ago, after heavy rain, one of its major buildings collapsed... The journalist also explains how Paris can save Pompeii, which is likely to be withdrawn from the UNESCO World Heritage list...

I think that Pompeii must remain a World Heritage site. It is such an important place historically, giving us an incomparable insight into a lost culture. I hope that Paris will indeed "save Pompeii from the waters" and that the Italian Government will fund repairs... I am convinced that we must at all costs keep Pompeii intact, for us and especially for our children so that they too can have the pleasure of discovering the unforgettable charm of this city. In YOUR opinion, how can we rescue Pompeii?

Lapidary diplomacy... By Edouard

On the website of Sky news HD, in a news item dated 6th October 2011, we learn that Palestinians want to join UNESCO, as a full member State instead of their current "Observer" status...

On the 23rd September 2011, Mahmoud Abbas handed-in its application for UN membership for the “State of Palestine” to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. It will probably be refused since the question of full membership is too sensitive. But if Palestine does not become a UN member State, how can Palestinians join UNESCO as a full member State ? Moreover, the USA has described the decision as "inexplicable" and is against the request, just like the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. For the while, the Palestinian bid to join UNESCO looks like a no-hoper...

The unstable situation between Israel and Palestine started in 1948 with the Israeli Declaration of Independence. All peace processes in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict have failed. To my mind, the peace process cannot succeed if the two enemies do not seek a compromise. The violence will only stop once the Palestinian State is recognized by Israel and terrorist attacks stop. What do YOU think? Comments please!

How generous?/!

10 October 2011

Sasquatch? By Gael

Have you heard of the Yeti, also called Bigfoot or Sasquatch? Maybe you have seen the famous film from the 1950s: The Abominable Snowman? Well, a team of scientists says that there is a 95% chance that Siberia's wintry tundra is home to the mythical Yeti!

More than a dozen scientists flew in from Canada, Estonia, Sweden and the US to take part in a day-long conference in the town of Tashtagol, some 2,000 miles east of Moscow in the Kemerovo region. Locals there have reported an increase in sightings of a creature in recent years.

They said they "collected irrefutable evidence" like twisted willow branches, hair, footprints, a presumed bed and other markers...

Whatever, the Kemerovo government proposed opening a university research centre in order to know a little more about this mystery.

Back to the future... By Floriane, Hadrien & Jérémy

In the 1984 picture above, Steve Jobs is young and looks determined. He is at the beginning of his technological adventure. He holds one of the first Apple Macs.

In the second picture, taken a few months before his death, he has the look of someone who has achieved his goal, though he looks older than his years. The MacAir he is holding uses brand new technology.

Jobs was old and ill, but his ideas were as young as ever.

Bear necessities... By James, Floriane & Anne-Sophie

For the second time, in down-town Sapporo (Japan), three brown bears have been seen looking for food last week. They were starving, due to the bad weather and also because there isn’t enough food in the forest. They made the town messy by braking shop fronts and destroying bins with the hope of finding some leftovers. Inhabitants were shocked by these unusual visitors. Authorities warned everybody of the bears' dangerous presence and tried to capture them.

The last time some poor bears tried to find food in the city, the local authorities killed them... This problem will probably happen again because of the lack of food in the forests.

Infantile fibro fog due to sponge overdose! By Corentin, Pierre & Benoit

Nickelodeon has often been accused of promoting homosexuality and propaganda against global warming... But now, it is Sponge Bob Square Pants that faces accusations of hindering children's concentration. Studies supposedly show that, after watching this cartoon, lots of children were not able to concentrate as well as usual. Scientists pointed to the fact that Sponge Bob’s characters were always in motion and doing nonsensical things, thus decreasing children’s abilities to pay attention...
We think that this kind of study is really useless. It is true that watching TV is not the best thing for kids because children often mimic the chaotic, fast-moving and illogical behaviour of the characters. But, cartoons are part of our culture, and we cannot change that. Moreover, other cartoons and programmes are probably more negative, such as reality shows that show people  doing unusual and useless things in front of the camera. Sponge Bob is part of American culture; He is an innocent character and he does not turn children into silly sponges for all that!

Are you pro or con? 10th October is World Day against the Death Penalty

9 October 2011

Nowhere to hide... By Anne, Philippe & Etienne

In his introduction to the very first issue of the National Geographic Magazine, Gardiner Greene Hubbard explained two crucial thoughts of his: high technology had to be used by geographers, and everybody should be a geographer, meaning everybody should contribute to the knowledge of what surrounds us. Google Earth, with its more than 1 billion downloads since it was created, has achieved both of Hubbard's requirements. Using the power of new information technology, anybody who owns a computer can see any part of the world and contribute to a huge database, leading us soon, perhaps, to absolute knowledge about our planet... 

Backfire? By Timothy, Adam, Valentin & Edouard

Sirte is the native city of the former dictator Gaddafi. The conflict taking place there, they say, will be the final battle and the beginning of a new Libya. The article deals with the situation of the rebels besieging Sirte. “The battle is a ramshackle affair” says the journalist. They launch almost daily attempts to take the city, and fire waves of rockets randomly all over the city, but they do not just hit Gaddafi's supporters but also civilians. Despite the multiple assaults on Sirte the rebels still haven't been able to take the city and more and more civilians are dying from these skirmishes. Worst of all, this isn't the last stronghold of Gaddafi's fighters; there is also Bani Walid... So will this war truly end with Sirte or go on and on?

The Libyan people have to take Sirte and Bani Walid in order to finally be free and establish a democratic regime. However, should we not fear these rebels for they will most likely turn on our governments sooner or later? We should not rejoice too soon and be weary of them...

Bubble tax... By Clotilde, Clémence & Marion

In this article from La Montagne, published on September 28th, the journalist writes about the tax rise which will be voted in October on sodas. The aim is to fight obesity in Europe. This proposal has provoked controversy. Coca Cola has threatened to suspend its investment in Europe.
These new taxes, we feel, will not have a real impact on obesity levels. But we all know that the Government will raise 120 million Euros. Are taxes on sodas not more beneficial to the government than on the health of the population?

"And one more thing..." By Martin, Adeline & Pierre

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, died yesterday. Millions of people paid tribute to him and his genius. He was considered a visionary, who changed our notion of what computers are all about.

It is surprising how this man was able to combine success and secrecy. The world lives to the rhythm of his inventions.

Liposuccion? By Justine, Carole & Romain

The Chinese Finance Minister visited Greece last week. He signed a deal to help the Greek economy. Will it help Greece avoid recession?
By "buying up" the Greek debt China is "integrating" the European Union... Greece will become dependent on China. China also needs a stable Euro so that it can continue exporting to the EU.
China is going to take pat in a meeting on Monday with EU members.

The Chinese are clever, they see long-term... The whole world is now coming under Chinese control. After lending the USA a lot of money it is now the Europeans' turn to become indebted to China. We think that China is becoming too powerful in the world. China has given the Greeks the money they need and the Greeks are very grateful. Europe should have done more, but it looks like it is too mean and short-sighted...

Loveage... By Michaël, Sybil & Alexandre

BBC news, on the 08th august 2011, announced that the Duchess of Alba has married for the third time. She is 85. Her last husband died in 2001. Her new husband is 24 years younger than her, proof that love knows no boundaries. The Guinness Book of Records mentions her as  having one of the highest number of titles of nobility. And she is very wealthy...

The Duchess of Alba seems to have lost her marbles! She has married a mere commoner, an insignificant civil servant. Her children think that he is only interested in her money. We tend to agree...

Mine's bigger than yours! By Justine, Vanille & Hannah

This superyacht, Eclipse, could be seen during several days this summer off the coast of Antibes. Why? Because it was just too big to get into the "Quai des Milliardaires"! With its 164 meters, Mr Abramovich's Eclipse is the biggest superyacht in the world. Worth 800 million Euros, it has two helicopter pads, a missile defence system, an intruder detection system, and a mini submarine.

It has always been a trend among rich people to compete for the biggest castle, the biggest car, and now it seems that one just needs to have the biggest yacht

With 800 million Euros, one could have built a hospital, fed a few million hungry people, or given shelter to the world's homeless...What would YOU have spent it on?!

Always noble? By Adrien, Arnaud & Dylan

The Nobel Prize was created by Alfred Nobel, a great medical researcher of the 1890s, and his associate the physiologist Jöns Johansson. They wanted to create a prize which rewarded those who had made the most important advancements in Physiology and Medicine, Economics, Literature, and Peace. The first Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine was attributed to Emil Von Behring in 1901.

This Year, the Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to a Frenchman, Jules Hoffmann, an American, Bruce Beutler, and a Canadian, Ralph Steinmann.

We consider that it is fair to give the award to people who have made great discoveries, but some Nobel Prizes have been awarded to people who not really deserve them, for example Barack Obama who was given the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009…

Dopey laws... By Camille & Leo

Sixty French Internet users have broken the Hadopi laws by downloading movies and music. They have been condemned to pay a 1500€ fine or have their Internet link disconnected for up to a month...

Are these sanctions really dissuasive for hackers? Can we not find a better way of respecting copyright? We think advertising on film and music Web sites would be a more efficient means of remunerating authors, film makers and artists.

Justice on trial... By Sophie, Clarisse & Emeline

Amanda Knox was accused of her roomate's murder, which happened on the 1st November 2007 in Italy. A young English woman was found dead in her bedroom, after having been sexually assaulted, tortured and stabbed. Thanks to DNA analysis three people were found guilty. The first trial sentenced Amanda Knox to 26 years, her boyfriend to 16, and a third person to 30 years. They appealed and in the end Amanda and her boyfriend were aquitted because of lack of evidence.

We don't believe in Knox's innocence because DNA was found on the corpse, the third person is still guilty (16 year sentence), and Amanda's boyfriend has already served time. We wonder if the Italian justice system is really efficient because, even after the aquittal, many questions around the murder remain unanswered...

Stranded and poor on Wall Street... By Jo-hakim & Jenguiz

The protest movement was started by just a small group of young people two weeks ago. They were following the example of movements like “la puerta del sol”. It has quickly grown to become a very large socially mixed movement grouping people of all ages.

It is fighting against the growing inequalities in the United States: the rich are getting richer and the rest of the population is getting a lot poorer. Because Wall Street is at the centre of financial speculation and of the American economy in general, it was decided to protest there.

From our point of view this article is incomplete. A number of things are not mentioned. No reactions from the political or financial word to what is happening are given. Also, the older people present are described as being there just to encourage the younger people though they do not seem to agree with the aim of the movement, which is silly. Does this programme want to discredit the movement? We think this is a shame as we support the protesters...

1 October 2011

Faster than the speed of light? By Adrien

The neutrino is an elementary particle. A recent experiment seems to show that neutrinos travel faster than light... Sent underground 730km from the CERN on the French-Swiss border to Gran Sasso in Italie, neutrinos arrived 60 nanoseconds faster than a light beam would have done.
It’s an astounding discovery which may disrupt all the known physical laws, particularly Einstein’s theory on the speed of light (E=mc²).

Neutrinos let us imagine that another dimension exists and they use it like a "short cut". Even more exciting, if neutrinos are faster than light that means they are able to go back in time... When will we be able to use them to see the past (again)?! 

Who needs the €! By Edouard

On the 23rd September 2011, the Guardian website published an article on the “Chiemgauer”. It's an alternative currency to spend in local shops in southern Germany. This new currency was the result of a school project. Its value diminishes after three months and is only valid in the local economy. The fact that it depreciates accelerates its circulation and therefore boosts the local economy (it circulates nearly 2.5 times faster than the Euro). More than 600 businesses now accept the Chiemgauer. In 2011, it constituted the most successful alternative currency in the world. Other local currencies were created during the crisis of 1929...

German Euroscepticism has risen following the crisis of 2008. I’ve a feeling that people have lost hope in the European currency. Indeed, the creation of regional or national currencies would indicate a return to the past. And the events in Greece might further compromise the Euro's credibility. What do you think? Does the Euro still have a future ? Comments please!

11:08 pm, September 21, 2011... By Adam

Ed Pilkington writes in The Guardian about the execution of Troy Davis.

Davis was accused of murdering a white police officer, but was he really guilty? This article gives ten arguments that Davis should not have been executed...

He was accused based on highly controversial testimony. This terrible story shows us that the death penalty is incompatibility in a country which recognizes human rights.

Here in France we must continue to refuse capital punishment and seek to have it repealed in the countries still practising it.

If the war goes on... By Romain

"A year at war", an article from the New York Times, gives testimonies of American soldiers after a year in Afghanistan. Soldiers explain that they thought going home would be easy, but in fact, it isn't... Alan Bakula, a soldier, said : "Getting injured a few times definitely changes your perspective a little bit... It makes you feel a little less bulletproof." It seems that their stay in Afghanistan has hurt these soldiers a lot. Another soldier wondered if he could ever talk openly to friends again, having come so close to death so many times... He says that people think he is exaggerating when he speaks to them about the risks he took. We can guess that there are many unanswered questions in their heads. Going back to "normal life" would appear to be very difficult after a year of a dreadful experience.