• French President Emmanuel Macron survived a narrow no-confidence vote after forcing through an unpopular pension reform law, avoiding a vote in the National Assembly. Macron’s decision to invoke article 49.3 of the constitution, which gives the government power to bypass parliament, has enraged many across the county and led to mass protests of millions of people across France.
(“Mass Protests in France Call for Government to Drop Pension Changes,” Guardian, March 23, 2023; “French Government Survives No-Confidence Votes Amid Protests,” Guardian, March 20, 2023)
• In his Feb. 7 State of the Union address, President Joe Biden proclaimed that “Covid no longer controls our lives,” adding that “while the virus is not gone … we have broken Covid’s grip on us.” On May 11, the Biden administration will end the federal government’s official designation of Covid as a public health emergency, just 1,200 days after it was first declared in January 2020. This act will close the state’s assumed primary responsibility for the pandemic and its effects and herald the beginning of the next era of Covid, one where the private market rules the pandemic response.
(“Biden Hands the COVID Response to the Private Market” In These Times, March 7, 2023)
• In 2019, the college town of Ithaca, NY took a bold pledge to ‘go green,’ setting a goal of going carbon neutral by 2030. The shift required weatherizing and electrifying Ithaca’s aging buildings, tearing out boilers and gas stoves, and installing heat pumps in some 6,000 buildings.
(“Wall Street’s Big Bet on Rewiring American,” American Prospect, Jan. 23, 2023)
This week’s News Summary was narrated by Anna Manzo.