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Macron over Le Pen

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THE WINNER: French president-elect Emmanuel Macron celebrates on the stage at his victory rally near the Louvre in Paris, Reuters/UNI

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]To the French, a known devil is better than an unknown angel

By Shailaja Paramathma

Congratulations France for walking on the razor’s edge and crossing over intact, your fabled capriciousness saving the day. At a time when nations across the board seem to be giving in to the fear of the other—of Muslims in India, of immigrants in the United States and the European Union, and of the European Union in Britain—the French questioned the fear and arrived at a decision unique to themselves. Their choice in their own words was between “the plague and the cholera” and they decided to go with the “banker instead of the fascist”. So Emmanuel Macron becomes the youngest person to ever become president of any country, raising the ambitions of Generation-X parents across the globe. And Marine Le Pen goes back to a party that has never won the presidential elections in France but has brought it closer this time to the presidential seat than ever before.

Where there is moolah

The French are intellectually snobbish about money. So when they had to choose between pro-globalisation Macron and anti-immigration Le Pen as their next president, it was a war between their disdain for capitalists and their intellect telling them that fascism was wrong. And the more the rest of the world opted for rightism, the more eager they became to distance themselves from the ideology and decisively prove to the world that they were not a part of it.

Post the results of the election on Sunday, they confirmed that they had not fallen for the “poudre de perlimpinpin” (like Macron called Le Pen’s solutions to the economic problems of France), a remedy pretending to be miraculous but is absolutely bogus and ineffective in reality. But this was even as they signed arrogant-sounding petitions before it, saying: “Macron, I will vote for you not because I choose you but because I choose to make Le Pen fail.” This was their way of informing Macron that he had not won over their hearts but had just happened to be at the right place at the right time. To clarify their stand to the rest of the world so that they themselves did not have to go to bed feeling conquered, the petitions also said, “I will celebrate if you (Macron) win on May 7, but know that the very next day I will be part of the opposition.”

How come Le Pen?

While they defiantly insisted that Macron was not their candidate, the fact remains that the guys they claimed to agree with—the conservative François Fillon and the revolutionary Leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon—did not even make it to the finals. Yes, on the surface it seems like the French did not fall for the development card as we did in India and they did not give in to fear like the Americans did but they did allow Le Pen’s Front National to make it to round two yet again in 2017.

The easy claim that the French can make of intellectual and cultural superiority over the Americans has been testified in literature, movies and art century after century. They unhesitatingly regard Americans as a population without culture or morals who are forever after money, control and power. While these assumptions may ring true to some minds, it is also true that as globalisation created new jobs in big French cities, it also created unemployment in rural France which was double the national average, which is a very American phenomenon. And these are the places where the Front National under Marine Le Pen’s new marketing and self-promotion method of campaigning eked out a pretty strong base for itself.

ROUNDLY DEFEATED: Marine Le Pen, French National Front (FN) political party leader and candidate for French 2017 presidential election, casts her ballot in the first round of 2017 French presidential election at a polling station in Henin-Beaumont, Reuters/UNI

ROUNDLY DEFEATED: Marine Le Pen, French National Front (FN) political party leader and candidate for French 2017 presidential election, casts her ballot in the first round of 2017 French presidential election at a polling station in Henin-Beaumont, Reuters/UNI

Yet, notwithstanding her preference to be called Marine, her inheritance of the tainted Le Pen legacy has for the time being diverted her away from the seat of power. However, one must not over-celebrate this victory and one should definitely not negate the presence of fear and hatred in the French society for the other, for unchecked globalisation and loss in job share.

What next?

Right-of-centre Macron’s win over Le Pen on Sunday in France has liberals all over the world finding at best a sense of vindication and at least a respite. Post the Brexit referendum and following the election of Donald Trump in the US, this is no mean feat. They may breathe easy now but they will have to give space and support to Macron when very soon the establishment will find ways to stall him. They will have to continue to see with their discerning eye through media lies and leaked emails. They will have to remain fearless and take into fold the disenfranchised and the old and make them feel integrated in their societies.

Macron’s party, En Marche, might have won the battle but they are yet to win the war. The way ahead is still a big question mark. The legislative elections that will take place in June are crucial. Mid-June French citizens will once again head to the polls for two rounds of voting to elect the country’s 577 members of parliament. En Marche has currently no parliamentary seats or backing. The result of the June elections will be a test of the authority of the new president’s office. If Macron does not win a parliamentary majority, making his reform proposals see the light of day can become a distant dream. If he is constantly opposed and harassed, the quick-tempered Macron may find himself in a position à la Kejriwal and then it will only be a matter of five years before Le Pen finds herself contesting the elections again with a much bigger promise of getting her hands on the keys to the Élysée Palace.

But irrespective of what lies ahead, next time a Hollywood movie wants to depict a Frenchman as the poor cousin from the village with a flock of sheep following him on a rural road, they need to hold up a mirror to their faces and see themselves for what they truly represent, believe in and have chosen as their president. They largely misrepresent Muslims, too, in their movies but that we can come to at another date. For the time being the French is back in fashion.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Bigg Boss 14 contestant Rahul Vaidya struggles walking in knee deep water, compares Dubai rains with Mumbai floods

Singer and TV personality Rahul Vaidya was recently stranded in the Dubai rains.

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Rahul Vaidya, who was in Dubai ahead of his show which was scheduled to take place today, left the country due to heavy rains and reached Kolkata. The artist shared on social media his encounters in the UAE city, including challenges like walking through knee-deep water. Rahul provided an update regarding the heavy rainfall in Dubai on his Instagram profile.

The Bigg Boss 14 contestant revealed that he was in Kolkata and prepared to do an evening performance. Recalling the terrifying period he went through, Vaidya said there was a lot of confusion and panic in Dubai. The situation was similar to that when heavy floods hit Mumbai in 2005.

Vaiday also posted seval other images and videos of cars that were underwater and flooded roadways. The Bigg Boss 14 contestant, who shared his ordeal, claimed that even though it had just rained for two hours, the situation was dire.

In one of the video, which went viral he can be seen struggling in walking in knee-deep water. He can be also seen holding his sneakers in one hand and with other hand he was seen managing other things.

This is the result of the two hours of rain that it had, he can be heard saying in the video. Vidya also said he dosen’t believe Dubai is accustomed to a lot of rain. Everything had stopped working, he remarked.

After taking part in the first season of the singing reality show Indian Idol, Rahul Vaidya gained widespread recognition. In addition to Bigg Boss, he took part in Khatron Ke Khiladi 11.

Meanwhile, heavy rains that triggered flooding in the UAE and Bahrain, which left 18 people dead in Oman on Sunday and Monday, have paralyzed the financial hub of the Middle East, Dubai.

A lot of incoming flights were diverted from Dubai’s international airport because of the rain. At 7:26 p.m., the busiest airport in the world for foreign visitors stopped accepting new arrivals; a gradual resumption was announced for more than two hours later.

Images of planes navigating flooded tarmacs are making the rounds on social media.

According to pictures shared on social media, the flagship malls Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates both experienced heavy floods, while at least one Dubai Metro station had water up to the ankles.

There were several road collapses, severe flooding in residential areas, and numerous reports of leaks from windows, doors, and roofs.

Due to the unfavourable weather, schools around the United Arab Emirates were forced to close, and as more storms are predicted, the closures are anticipated to last until Wednesday. The government of Dubai allowed its staff to work remotely till this Wednesday.

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Dubai sky turns green during storm in UAE, video goes viral

The UAE witnessed record-breaking rainfall on Tuesday and the National Centre of Meteorology recorded 254 mm of rainfall in less than 24 hrs in the Khatm Al Shakla area in Al Ain.

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1 person was killed in UAE as it witnessed heavy rainfall on Tuesday, stranding commuters, flooding roads, disrupting trains and flights and resulting in water leakage from mall ceilings. The UAE witnessed record-breaking rainfall on Tuesday and the National Centre of Meteorology recorded 254 mm of rainfall in less than 24 hrs in the Khatm Al Shakla area in Al Ain. It is being said that the rainfall was the highest documented since the start of data collection in 1949.

The heavy rainfall in UAE came days after a similar situation in neighbouring Oman, where 13 people were killed in flash floods. Many parts of Oman saw torrential rains, which caused students to be trapped in buses and swept away motorists and trapped people in their homes.

Videos from Dubai circulating on social media showed widespread waterlogging on roads in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and other important cities. This left daily commuters in cars and other vehicles struggling to get back home. Dubai metro station too was seen flooded and closed.

One such video circulating on social media shows the aerial view of the city of Dubai from the top of a building. In the video the stormy winds are seen blowing over the city of Dubai. As the storm intensifies the Dubai sky turns green and ultimately gets covered by heavy rainfall. The video has gone viral on social media with more than 1.1 million views.

Another video showed water leakage from the ceilings of shopping malls, flooding the floors and destroying goods. A video which was shot in the famous Mall of the Emirates, showed pieces of ceiling falling as the rainwater gushed inside. Videos from many outlets of the Deira City Centre mall chain showed escalators being rendered unusable. Majid Al Futtaim, the company which owns the Mall of Emirates, said that the shopping complexes have been kept open and the customers are being sent away from the flooded areas. 

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Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda says statements on reclaiming Katchatheevu island from Sri Lanka have no ground

Devananda told the media on Thursday that it is not unusual to hear such claims and counterclaims about Katchatheevu as elections are taking place in India.

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Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda has said the statements from some political leaders in India on reclaiming Katchatheevu from the island nation have no ground. He told the media on Thursday that it is not unusual to hear such claims and counterclaims about the strategic island as elections are taking place in India.

The Sri Lankan Minister said he thought India is acting on its interests to secure this place to ensure Sri Lankan fishermen would not have any access to that area and that Sri Lanka should not claim any rights in that resourceful area. According to the 1974 agreement, Devananda said Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen can go fishing in the territorial waters of both countries until the pact was reviewed and amended in 1976.

The amended agreement resulted in fishermen from both countries being barred from fishing in neighboring waters. India’s ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday steered clear of the row surrounding Katchatheevu island. To a volley of questions on the Katchatheevu issue, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal reffered to External affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s recent comments on the matter.

He said he would like to talk about the issue that has been raised. He added the External Affairs minister has spoken to the press here in Delhi and also in Gujarat and has clarified all the issues. He said everyone should look into the press engagements and they would find the answers to their questions there.

The remarks from Devananda, a Sri Lankan Tamil, came days after the Narendra Modi government accused the Congress and its ally DMK in Tamil Nadu of overlooking national interests by handing over Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka in 1974. The BJP has also been slamming the 2 parties for not ensuring the rights of the fishermen wanting to fish in waters around the island.

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