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Meet Eric Zemmour, France’s far-right presidential contender

Jacob Scott

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Eric Zemmour, candidate to French president.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Eric Zemmour, often referred to as France’s version of former U.S. President Donald Trump, has joined the race for the French presidency.

His far-right views are highly controversial and political experts argue he is the biggest political threat to the anti-immigration politician Marine Le Pen ahead of a key election next spring.

French voters will chose their next president in the April vote. Polls indicate that current President Emmanuel Macron will be reunited with far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the second round of the vote. However, as new players announce their candidacies — Zemmour in particular — the outcome of the vote remains highly unpredictable.

“[Zemmour] is the ideal candidate for Macron because he is splitting the vote with Le Pen,” said Tomasz Kamil Michalski, associate professor at H.E.C. Business School.

Michalski said that while Le Pen has been in politics for a while, Zemmour brings no baggage to the election, thus offering an alternative to far-right supporters. He has, however, been involved in a number of court cases over alleged incitement to racial hatred.

Meanwhile, at his first major campaign rally on Sunday, a man reportedly grabbed at his neck amid some clashes between his supporters and anti-racism campaigners. Zemmour has subsequently been signed off work for nine days.

Opinion polls project Zemmour getting 14% of the public vote in the first round of the French presidential vote due in April, and Marine Le Pen receiving 19%. However, there’s plenty of time for voting intentions to change in the coming months.

The entire electoral campaign has markedly shifted to the right, with all front-runners taking a tough line to varying degrees on immigration.

Anna Rosenberg

Head of Europe and U.K. at advisory firm Signum Global

Some anti-immigration supporters argue that as voting day nears, either Le Pen or Zemmour should resign to give the other a stronger chance to dispute the second round of the vote against Macron. The latter has not yet announced his intention to run for a new mandate but is currently leading the polls with about 24% of the vote.

Other political experts argue that Zemmour is in it for the long run and is unlikely to drop out of the race.

“More likely, still, is that Le Pen and Zemmour will split the extreme votes, delivering a second-round election between Macron and Pecresse,” Erik Nielsen, group chief economist at UniCredit, said in a note to clients Sunday, referring to the conservative party candidate Valerie Pecresse.

Anna Rosenberg, head of Europe and U.K. at advisory firm Signum Global, also expects Zemmour and Le Pen to “cannibalize each other.”

“Their discourse is no longer unique: The entire electoral campaign has markedly shifted to the right, with all front-runners taking a tough line to varying degrees on immigration and Islamic radicalization, denying the far-right the opportunity to exclusively benefit from this sentiment,” Rosenberg told CNBC via email.

Who is Zemmour?

Zemmour, 63, a former TV pundit and familiar face to French voters, is best known for his vocal anti-immigration views. These are just some of the reasons why he’s often compared to Trump, who also campaigned on an anti-immigration platform and was a well-known public figure.

However, Rosenberg said that Zemmour’s “attempt to rise to power based on former U.S. President Donald Trump’s social media tactics … will not work in France to the same degree.”

Zemmour, for his part, thinks he has more in common with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who also started his career in the media. However, he also told French media that Trump “succeeded in uniting the working classes and the patriotic bourgeoisie. That’s what I’ve been dreaming about … for 20 years,” Politico reported.

Michalski, though, noted one key difference: “Trump is about himself. But, Zemmour is about the ideology.”

Zemmour’s party, Reconquest, was built on the premise that France needs to “find itself” — catering to an audience that thinks the country has lost its traditional values. He also appears to link immigration with many of France’s modern-day ills, claiming on Twitter, for example, that there is a connection between immigration and threats to women.

“I am the only one to establish, without false modesty, the obvious link between immigration from the other side of the Mediterranean, and the threats which weigh more every day on French women, on their freedom and sometimes on their lives,” Zemmour said on Sunday, without providing any evidence.

In a recent video outlining his plans for the French presidency, Zemmour said he wants “to save France.” He added that although immigration is not the source of all problems, it is making them even worse.

Critics, however, say Zemmour lacks substance beyond his anti-immigration views.

“Zemmour does not really have anything to offer on the pandemic,” Michalski said.

Rosenberg also noted that “the far right has not been able to benefit much from the pandemic, and [it] is unlikely that will change at this point.”

Back in November, Zemmour said that fears related to the coronavirus pandemic were overblown, Reuters reported.

He has also attacked the elites, the media, politicians, academics, trade unionists, religious authorities and the European Union.

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‘Moon Knight’ Took Marvel in a Different Orbit, but It Didn’t Rise to the Occasion

Jacob Scott

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Before anyone writes that off as an anomaly, “Eternals” tackled a similar introduction of a dense mythology on the bigger screen, with equally mixed results. It’s a reminder that while film-goers have had more than a decade to get to know characters like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, introducing some of these lesser-known heroes can pose a more formidable challenge beyond catering to the most ardent fans.
For Marvel, there are warning signs in that, since “Moon Knight” will be followed by several series based on second-tier characters, although the next two on the horizon, “Ms. Marvel” (which is due in June) and “She-Hulk,” at least have the benefit of sharing franchises and name recognition with existing Avengers.
Ultimately, “Moon Knight’s” murky storytelling appeared to squander its principal assets, which included the cool look of the character — a costume that was too seldom used — and the presence of Isaac, who possesses additional genre credentials via the “Star Wars” sequels.

Taking its time in peeling back the layers of the character’s complicated backstory, “Moon Knight” took a weird plunge into the Egyptian mythology behind it, in ways that became increasingly confounding and surreal.

By the time the protagonist’s two halves, Steven Grant and Marc Spector, wound up in a psychiatric hospital talking to an anthropomorphic hippo in the penultimate chapter, the question wasn’t so much being able to keep up with the story as whether bothering to do so was worth the effort.

The sixth and final episode brought the plot to a messy close, seeking to stop the goddess Ammit from proceeding to “purify the souls of Cairo, and then the world.” In the customary credit sequence, the producers capped that off by introducing a third personality, Jake Lockley, also rooted in the comics. While that seemingly spelled the end for the show’s villain (Ethan Hawke), the finish — giving the god Khonshu the protégé he sought — paved the way for further adventures should Marvel so choose.

That last twist might be cause for celebration in narrower confines of the Marvel fan universe, but “Moon Knight” too often felt like it was one long Easter-egg sequence, conspicuously preaching to that choir.

Granted, Marvel has made clear that Disney+ offers the chance to explore different kinds of stories, but “Moon Knight” feels at best like a quirky showcase for Isaac and at worst a failed experiment in terms of execution and tone.

That doesn’t mean this “Moon” won’t somehow rise again, if the closely held streaming data justifies it. But the promise that surrounded this property has faded, providing further evidence that even Marvel isn’t immune from setbacks as it moves into its next phase.

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Start-up Pony.ai says it’s the first self-driving company to get a taxi license in China

Jacob Scott

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Autonomous driving start-up Pony.ai can collect fares for robotaxi rides in parts of two major Chinese cities as of Sunday.

Pony.ai handout

BEIJING — Self-driving start-up Pony.ai announced Sunday it received a taxi license, the first of its kind in China.

The license allows Pony.ai to operate 100 self-driving cars as traditional taxis in the Nansha district of the southern city of Guangzhou, the company said.

The Chinese start-up, which is backed by Toyota, received approval from Beijing city late last year to charge fees to operate a commercial robotaxi business in a suburban district of the city. It is not the same as a taxi licence.

Baidu’s Apollo Go also received approval in the same Beijing district last year.

Pony.ai was valued at $8.5 billion in early March. The company said its Nansha taxi license required 24 months of autonomous driving testing in China and/or other countries, and no involvement in any active liability traffic accidents, among other factors.

The start-up said it plans to launch commercial robotaxi businesses in two other large Chinese cities next year. The company is already testing self-driving cars in those cities and in California. 

Robotaxis in China currently have a human driver present for safety.

— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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How to watch Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies: TV channel, NBA live stream info, start time

Jacob Scott

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Who’s Playing

Memphis @ Minnesota

Current Records: Memphis 2-1; Minnesota 1-2

What to Know

The Memphis Grizzlies’ road trip will continue as they head to Target Center at 10 p.m. ET this past Saturday to face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Memphis will be strutting in after a win while Minnesota will be stumbling in from a loss.

The Grizzlies are hoping for another victory. They beat the Timberwolves 104-95 this past Thursday. The victory came about thanks to a strong surge after the first quarter to overcome a 39-21 deficit. Memphis’ success was spearheaded by the efforts of power forward Brandon Clarke, who had 20 points in addition to eight rebounds, and shooting guard Desmond Bane, who shot 7-for-15 from beyond the arc and finished with 26 points and six boards.

Barring any buzzer beaters, Memphis is expected to win a tight contest. They might be worth taking a chance on against the spread as they are currently on a two-game streak of ATS wins.

Memphis’ win brought them up to 2-1 while the Timberwolves’ defeat pulled them down to a reciprocal 1-2. A couple offensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: The Grizzlies come into the game boasting the second most points per game in the league at 115.6. But Minnesota is even better: they rank first in the league when it comes to points per game, with 115.9 on average. Tune in for what’s sure to be a high-scoring contest.

How To Watch

When: Saturday at 10 p.m. ET Where: Target Center — Minneapolis, Minnesota TV: ESPN Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.) Follow: CBS Sports App Ticket Cost: $76.96

Odds

The Grizzlies are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Timberwolves, according to the latest NBA odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Grizzlies as a 3-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

See NBA picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Memphis have won 19 out of their last 28 games against Minnesota.

Apr 21, 2022 – Memphis 104 vs. Minnesota 95 Apr 19, 2022 – Memphis 124 vs. Minnesota 96 Apr 16, 2022 – Minnesota 130 vs. Memphis 117 Feb 24, 2022 – Minnesota 119 vs. Memphis 114 Jan 13, 2022 – Memphis 116 vs. Minnesota 108 Nov 20, 2021 – Minnesota 138 vs. Memphis 95 Nov 08, 2021 – Memphis 125 vs. Minnesota 118 May 05, 2021 – Memphis 139 vs. Minnesota 135 Apr 02, 2021 – Memphis 120 vs. Minnesota 108 Jan 13, 2021 – Memphis 118 vs. Minnesota 107 Jan 07, 2020 – Memphis 119 vs. Minnesota 112 Dec 01, 2019 – Memphis 115 vs. Minnesota 107 Nov 06, 2019 – Memphis 137 vs. Minnesota 121 Mar 23, 2019 – Minnesota 112 vs. Memphis 99 Feb 05, 2019 – Memphis 108 vs. Minnesota 106 Jan 30, 2019 – Minnesota 99 vs. Memphis 97 Nov 18, 2018 – Memphis 100 vs. Minnesota 87 Apr 09, 2018 – Minnesota 113 vs. Memphis 94 Mar 26, 2018 – Memphis 101 vs. Minnesota 93 Dec 04, 2017 – Memphis 95 vs. Minnesota 92 Feb 04, 2017 – Memphis 107 vs. Minnesota 99 Nov 19, 2016 – Memphis 93 vs. Minnesota 71 Nov 01, 2016 – Minnesota 116 vs. Memphis 80 Oct 26, 2016 – Memphis 102 vs. Minnesota 98 Mar 16, 2016 – Minnesota 114 vs. Memphis 108 Feb 19, 2016 – Memphis 109 vs. Minnesota 104 Jan 23, 2016 – Minnesota 106 vs. Memphis 101 Nov 15, 2015 – Memphis 114 vs. Minnesota 106

Injury Report for Minnesota

No Injury Information

Injury Report for Memphis

Dillon Brooks: Game-Time Decision (Foot) Santi Aldama: Out (Knee) Killian Tillie: Out (Knee)

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