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Six takeaways as Macron unveils priorities of French EU presidency

Jacob Scott



French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters that France’s upcoming presidency of the European Union will aim to “move towards a powerful Europe in the world, a fully sovereign Europe, free of its choices and able master its destiny.”

The six-month tenure, due to start on January 1, overlaps with the country’s presidential election.

Here are six takeaways from Macron’s speech as he unveiled Paris’ priorities for the rotating presidency of the 27-nation bloc.

1. Towards a reform of Schengen

Macron told reporters that he wanted a Europe that is “able to control its borders” and would introduce a reform of the Schengen free-movement area.

“To prevent the right of asylum, which was invented on the European continent and which is our honour, from being misused, we must absolutely find a Europe that knows how to protect its borders and find a political organisation that puts us in a position to defend its values, which is why we will initiate, under this presidency, a reform of the Schengen area,” he said.

He cited “attempts at destabilisation, tensions including in our closer neighbourhood.”

In recent months, the bloc has accused Belarus of encouraging asylum-seekers to cross from the country into neighbouring EU members Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

Macron insisted on the importance of relations with the African continent and announced an EU-Africa summit to be held in February in Brussels.

“It is in our common interest. We must do this as Europeans, by building a future for African youth to reduce inequalities, to fight against the trafficking that exploits misery and the smugglers who have turned the Mediterranean into a shameful cemetery,” Macron said.

2. Defending Europe’s social model

Macron emphasised “the defence of our social model,” calling for “a model of production but also of solidarity.”

On March 10 and 11, France will hold “an exceptional summit around a new European growth and investment model,” the French leader said.

The bloc’s post-COVID economy needs new budget rules, Macron told reporters.

He proposed to “rethink the budgetary framework” of Europe so far defined by the Maastricht criteria, arguing that the question of being in favour or against the 3%” deficit rule was “outdated”.

Drawing on the success of the Erasmus programme, Macron also said he wanted a six-month “European civic service” for all young people under 25.

3. ‘Reconciling climate ambitions and economic development’

The French president vowed to “reconcile climate ambitions and economic development” and outlined plans for the EU’s new border carbon tax.

“Under the French presidency, one of our objectives will be to implement the carbon adjustment mechanism at the borders, the famous carbon “tax” at the borders of Europe, which will enable us to carry out this transition for all our industries, while preserving our competitiveness,” Macron told reporters.

“The European economic players can’t be the victims of efforts” to tackle climate change, he insisted.

He said the bloc shall “move forward on a European tool to fight deforestation,” forbidding the importation of products that contribute to deforestation.

4. Digital transformation among ‘top priorities’

Macron then outlined plans to “transform Europe into a digital power.”

Two legislative packages are currently underway at EU level, the Digital Services Act and the Digital Market Act and they will be “top priorities” of the French presidency.

He added that they would contribute to the “regulation and accountability of platforms.”

5. Rule of law ‘non-negotiable’

On the rule of law debate that has divided western and eastern Europe, Macron warned: “these are issues that are existential, they cannot be negotiated.”

Answering a question about Hungary’s Viktor Orban, whom he will meet shortly, the French leader said: “He is a political adversary but he’s a European partner.”

“We must work together for Europe,” he added.

6. Macron plays down interference with French presidential race

Macron has faced criticism — both in European capitals and at home — for not postponing France’s EU presidency, which could put him in a tricky position if he campaigns for reelection.

At the press conference on Thursday, he said “`France will remain France” no matter who wins the election and promised he would govern “until the final minutes of his term.”

Although he is widely expected to run, Macron has yet to formally declare whether he will seek a second term.

When questioned by journalists, he declined to present himself as a candidate.

“Good try,” he recently told reporters when asked about recent election polls. “I’m first going to try to do the task which I have been given, and we still have a lot of work to do to fight the epidemic.”

France’s presidency of the Council of the European Union could provide a platform for Macron’s campaign but also complicate it if the race is focused primarily on domestic issues such as the French economy, security and immigration.

The pro-EU leader would be able to use the presidency to influence the decisions of the 27-nation bloc, yet the EU’s complex and consensual EU decision-making process might play against him and produce few concrete outcomes before April’s election.

Macron promotes a vision for the EU’s “strategic autonomy” that would allow the bloc to better weather competition from China and put it on a more equal footing with the United States.

Notably, he is pushing for “a stronger and more capable European defence” that contributes to transatlantic and global security and is complementary to NATO.

France’s motto for the EU presidency is “Recovery, power, belonging” – the last word meant to convey the idea of enhancing Europeans’ sense of shared belonging to the bloc.

It is the first time since 2008 that France will hold the EU presidency.

The press conference was only the second one held by Macron at the Elysee presidential palace to answer a broad range of questions. The first one took place in April 2019 following the anti-government “yellow vest” protests against social and economic injustice.

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

Jacob Scott



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 says it’s the first self-driving company to get a taxi license in China

Jacob Scott



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

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

The license allows 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. 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



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


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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