Fight for the Safety of Children and Women

Each and every one of us tends to have an innate desire to preserve the innocence of children, regardless of our differences in terms of personal identity. However, there has been a longstanding debate over the exact age at which children should be able to make their own decisions. Although this remains indefinite across the world, nations have had to come to their own conclusions in the process of setting a legal age of sexual consent. The consequence of a lack thereof is apparent in recent cases. Four months ago, the alleged rapist of an eleven-year-old girl was exonerated from rape charges. The absence of elements such as violence, threat, surprise and constraint ultimately led to the thirty-year-old man’s discharge.

With the implementation of France’s new policy towards setting the legal age of sexual consent at fifteen-years-old, sexual contact with anyone under that age will be convicted with rape charges, regardless of context; Children are never in the position to give consent. This move is supported by Marlene Schiappa, the Equality Minister, following the advice of legal professionals. This is an extremely uplifting news seeing as these offenders could only be accused of sexual abuse of a minor instead of rape prior to this. At worst, they could only be forced to serve a five-year sentence, in addition to an $87,000 penalty. That is the same punishment for both minors and legal adults. That leaves room for plenty of alleged rapist to break free. Those who are behind such horrific acts deserve a far more punitive consequence.

 “Setting a legal age of sexual consent would allow a collective awareness and that everyone would see what was legal and illegal,” quoting Agnès Buzyn, the Minister of Solidarity and Health in Le Figaro, the French newspaper reports.

Even the current fixed age seems too young in comparison to Cyprus, who has set their legal age of sexual consent at seventeen-years-old. Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Portugal, on the other hand, have set their age at fourteen-years-old. Furthermore, France had some uncertainty regarding the exact age, be it thirteen or fifteen. In that period of time, many activist organizations that supports the cause of fighting violence against children were pushing for the higher age, reaffirmed by the Equality Minister and President Emmanuel Macron.

All of the aforementioned components concerning sexual assault policies are awaiting the government’s approval in the coming weeks. A separate case that incriminated a twenty-eight-year-old man with sexual assault charges have had some changes recently. The victim was initially described as “not physically forced to have sex” but the change in policy have decided that it is indeed, rape. With varying legal age of consent across the world, ranging from thirteen to eighteen, how do we determine when children have the ability to make the right judgements?

Perhaps we should focus on improving the safety of these women (and men) by eliminating the callous criminals. In the meantime, we can only attempt to do so through the platform of legal proceedings. Children and women should be able to feel safe in their environments as well as everybody else. Legal age or otherwise, children will eventually reach the consented age but that still does not ensure that no harm will come in their way. As a matter of fact, sexual assault is a usual occurrence on the streets of France as well. Findings have revealed that one in every eight French females has been sexually assaulted before. Hence, new plans for anti-street harassment policy are vital to the safety of women in France.

Further updates will be posted when it is announced.

Featured Image via Flickr/wp paarz

France Paves The Way With Solar Road

If you happen to be taking a drive in the northern part of France, you might notice something a little different about the road. In the village of Tourouvre-au-Perche in Normandy, the first solar power road covers over 30,000 square feet.

The new solar power road, named Wattway, was built by the French engineering firm Colas, who is also working on nearly a hundred more solar projects, like this one, around the world. The one 1 kilometer (0.62 miles) stretch of solar panel road was put in place to power the street lights.

The project cost €5 million ($5.2 million) and is part of an even larger plan to create 1,000 kilometers of photovoltaic road. France’s minister of energy and ecology says that if the five-year plan is a success, the solar roads will generate enough energy to provide almost five million citizens with electricity.

There are, however, a few things standing in the way of making this project the success it has the potential to be. The cost is of course number one, with the effectiveness of the solar roads being the second. Unlike solar panels on houses or buildings which are angled properly for effectiveness, these road panels lay flat which could affect the amount of sun gathered daily. Colas has also said that the panels are strengthened with silicon to lengthen their durability, but the amount of traffic and types of vehicles that come across these roads also pose the question of how long these solar roads will last.

In 2014 the Netherlands created a bike path that stretched 70 meters which was successful at powering the homes with electricity. However, harsh climate issues resulted in parts of the panels breaking off, but engineers have since claimed to have resolved that problem.

Ultimately the lasting issue seems to be cost. How many millions will it take to pave the streets with solar panels?

Airbus Newest Plane Takes to the Sky

Airbus flew the new A350-1000 for the first time Thursday. It is the largest twin jet the European aerospace company has made. The jet took to the sky from Toulouse, France, headquarters of Airbus, at 10:42 a.m. local time (4:42 a.m. ET) and flew over France several hours before returning to the runway.

The new jet is powered by the Trent XWB engine, which is made by Rolls-Royce and can put out 97,000lbs of thrust. The A350-1000 can seat at least 350 to 440 passengers depending on airline configuration. With its 7,950-mile range, Airbus estimates the jet will be able to reach cities such as Shanghai, Boston, L.A., and Manchester, England.

Whereas traditional jets are made with aluminum, the -1000 is made of carbon fiber composite materials. The use of these materials allows for better features such as fuel efficiency, comfortable humidity in the cabin, and larger windows.

Airbus made a smaller version in 2013 called the A350-900. The -900 is smaller and able to travel 200 miles farther than the -1000. It also seats about 325 passengers.

Until the -1000, Boeing has long since conquered twin-engine, long-haul jet sales. Boeing and Airbus have been in competition for years. Each has tried to top the other by making a bigger, faster, more efficient plane. With the addition of the A350-1000, Airbus seems to be on the verge of surpassing Boeing’s 777-300.

Boeing’s 777-300 is its most popular product, selling over 809 frames, yet Airbus counters that the -1000 is 30 tons lighter and 25% more fuel efficient. Fabrice Bregier, CEO of Airbus, stated on Thursday that “The -1000 has killed the 777-300ER. What we wanted has been achieved, without having even demonstrated it in flight.”

Boeing’s 777 program includes the 777-9x and the 777-10x. The 777x was launched back in 2013 as a competitor for the A350 program. Boeing’s 777 can carry more than 400 passengers. Yet Bregier estimates that this feature works against the plane. He said, “It’s not that there is a market pushing for a bigger aircraft. They need to add seats to justify the cost per seat,” noting that the jet hasn’t sold well since 2013. However, there have been rumors the -1000 is lacking in capacity to compete with Boeing’s 777x.

Airbus already has 810 orders for the A350 program, and that includes 195 orders for the -1000. Airbus holds hope that with the new sales for this jet, along with sales for revamped versions of A330, will see it’s percent in sales rise 50%.

Since the A350 program was first launched in 2006, the -1000 is its latest installment and the first order has already been promised to Qatar Airway. Qatar Airway will be the first air carrier to fly the plane sometime late next year.