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Stretching and stretching is healthy

We should exercise regularly, that is now clear to almost everyone. But also stretching the muscles and the mobility of the joints are essential to stay healthy. In the podcast we explain why stretching is not so crucial before exercise, but rather should be incorporated into everyday life much more often – and how best to do it.

Lucia Schmidt

Editor in the “Life” section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

You can find more articles from our health department here.

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The materials researcher Dan Shechtman turns eighty

So Some researchers have to struggle with strong headwinds at the beginning of their careers, which often even come from their own colleagues. The reason is often theories or measurements that at first glance seem to contradict common textbook opinion, but later turn out to be a major discovery. The Israeli materials researcher Daniel Shechtman had to listen to the accusation of having worked improperly when he was doing research on a sabbatical at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in 1982. While searching for new materials, he made an unusual observation that was to be honored with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2011.

The crystal lattice of a strongly cooled alloy of aluminum and manganese, which he examined with his electron microscope, showed a strange symmetry that had never been observed in a crystal. Instead of a well-ordered crystal structure, Shechtman saw an aperiodically broken structure, as is known from the ornate ornaments of Arab builders.

Schechtman, who was born in Tel Aviv and studied engineering and materials science at the Technion in Haifa, where he also received his doctorate in 1972, initially refused to believe what he saw under the microscope. But he could not find any experimental errors himself. He met with widespread skepticism among his colleagues, to whom he immediately reported his discovery. They were convinced that the guest from Israel had been caught by an artifact and therefore did not even want to check the findings.

The long road to a paradigm shift

A big mistake, as it turned out two years later. Because Shechtman was able to confirm the observation made in Washington when he returned to his alma mater. With the support of a few colleagues, he submitted an article to the renowned “Physical Review Letters” in November 1984, which hit like a bomb among crystallographers. Shechtman’s crystal was henceforth known as quasi-crystal.

Daniel Shechtman

Daniel Shechtman

Image: dpa

But the critical voices did not want to fall silent. The two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling even dubbed Shechtman as a quasi-scientist. But more and more scientists admitted that they had observed similar crystal structures before, but had not paid much attention to them. It would take until 1992, however, before the International Union for Crystallography officially accepted quasicrystals and defined the term crystal more broadly than before.

And soon afterwards, more quasicrystals were found in the laboratory, but also in nature. Because the materials have unusual properties compared to normal crystals – hard but brittle and poor heat conduction – they are also interesting for applications such as coatings.

When the call came from Stockholm nine years later, Shechtman, who had meanwhile risen to professor and head of the institute and was awarded the prestigious Wolff Prize, felt satisfaction. In its justification, the Nobel Prize Committee then also emphasized the persistence of the Israeli researcher and his courage in having trusted his own ideas, contrary to popular belief.

Shechtman, who uses every opportunity to encourage young researchers to persevere in their own way and not shy away from starting a business, once again attracted attention in 2014. He ran for the office of Israeli President, linked with the hope, among other things, to improve the state education system. His request failed because the popular researcher in the Knesset who elects the president did not find a majority. Today the successful lateral thinker Daniel Shechtman celebrates his eightieth birthday.


Biden and Johnson agree to strengthen the “special relationship” between the US and the UK

An image of Johnson during the conversation with Biden.

An image of Johnson during the conversation with Biden.

The president of the United States, Joe Biden, has spoken this Saturday for the first time since taking office with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, with whom he has agreed in “strengthen the special relationship between both countries.”

In a statement sent by the White House, it is assured that both have spoken about the “critical role” of NATO in the “collective defense” of both countries, as well as in the intention of “revitalizing transatlantic ties”.

Among the topics of conversation addressed, the need for “coordination” on “shared foreign policy priorities” such as China, Iran and Russia.

Biden has been willing to “work closely” with Johnson in organizing the G-7 and the 26th United Nations Climate Summit, events that will take place this year in the UK.

“It was great talking to President @JoeBiden tonight. I look forward to deepening the long-lasting partnership between these two countries as we move towards a green and sustainable recovery from COVID-19,” the British president tweeted.

While negotiating the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, Johnson bet to strengthen the transatlantic alliance with the United States taking advantage of his personal harmony with Donald Trump and the tense relationship between him and the EU.


The WHO already investigates the coronavirus on the ground in a quarantined Wuhan

One year after the outbreak of the coronavirus, this Thursday the experts of the World Health Organization (WHO) finally arrived in Wuhan who will try to find out its origin. The mission did not start too well because two of its fifteen experts could not fly because they tested positive for antibodies precisely to Covid-19, since China requires that all tests be negative to enter. With these two specialists stranded in Singapore and awaiting further analysis, the other thirteen have already begun their investigation … in quarantine.

Of the more than a month they will spend in China, the first two weeks are for the mandatory quarantine locked in a hotel room. As announced, they will take advantage of that time to hold interviews with their Chinese counterparts by videoconference. When they are done, they will spend another two weeks in Wuhan visiting research centers, hospitals and the Huanan market, where wild animals were sold and it is suspected that this new coronavirus, called Sars-Cov-2, which has unleashed the worst pandemic in a century.

At the moment, the only thing that is known is that it seems to come from bats, but those animals were not sold in the Huanan fish market and it is unknown in what other intermediate species the coronavirus mutated until it passed to humans. Although experts assure that they will have access to all the information, the Chinese regime is trying to slip away as the origin of the pandemic and points out that it entered the Huanan market through frozen foods imported from abroad, something that the WHO itself considers unlikely .



Millions of people, at least, are confined to try to stop a number of infections that, despite everything, is very low in relation to Western countries.

Reinforcement of controls.

The authorities continue to tighten controls against the traditional mobilization of millions of Chinese on the occasion of the Lunar New Year holidays, which begins on February 12.

To do this, Beijing relies on inconclusive studies that have found antibodies in Italy and the United States before the outbreak in Wuhan. But the newspaper ‘South China Morning Post’ already revealed in its day that the first cases of coronavirus in China were detected on November 17, before it was officially recognized.

The mission comes a year after the outbreak in Wuhan and plagued by doubts about the transparency of the authoritarian regime in Beijing, which tried to hide the epidemic by silencing the doctors who warned about it, such as Dr. Li Wenliang. Under a highly charged international climate because Covid-19 has become a political issue, the work of the experts will not be easy and will be under the scrutiny of public opinion at all times.

In addition to the mission’s 13 virologists, epidemiologists, doctors and veterinarians, who come from Japan, Qatar, Germany, Vietnam, Russia, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States, the team includes technicians from WHO and from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Connected by the internet, two scientists from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will help them from abroad.

“The idea is to advance a series of studies that we have designed to better understand what happened in December. These studies will help us to go back in time in order to identify geographic areas where the virus could have jumped into the human population, “explains the head of the mission, food safety expert Peter Ben Embarek, in a video recorded by WHO. , who was already in China in July. Lowering expectations, he assures that “it can be a very long journey before getting a full understanding of what happened. I don’t think we will get clear answers after this first mission. But we will be on the road, and hopefully in the coming months it will be completed with expeditions and further studies that will slowly lead us to an understanding of the origins of the virus.

The first death

Another bad sign is that the arrival of the WHO mission coincides with the worsening of outbreaks in China, which have already claimed their first life in eight months. Since May 17, the country had not reported deaths from the coronavirus, which was under control after the long and harsh confinement of Wuhan. Until Wednesday, when a patient died of the outbreak in Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing and has set off alarms.

This Thursday, the authorities reported 138 new cases; 124 of local transmission and 14 imported from abroad. Of the local infections, 81 were detected in Hebei, where there are three confined cities and more than 500 infected, and 43 in Heilongjiang, a province bordering Russia with more than a hundred. With the closures of Shi jiazhuang, the provincial capitals of Hebei, Xingtai and Langfang, as well as other towns in Heilongjiang, more than 20 million people have been confined to stop these outbreaks.


Armin Laschet will succeed Merkel at the head of the CDU

The prime minister of the populous federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, is the new president of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Defender of the continuity of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel’s policy, Laschet clearly prevailed in the second round over the former leader of the conservative parliamentary group in the Bundestag Friedrich Merz during the 33rd federal congress of the CDU, held for the first time completely virtual due to the coronavirus epidemic. According to the general secretary of the Christian Democrats, Paul Ziemiak, Laschet obtained 521 votes of the 991 cast by the delegates in Congress, while Merz obtained the support of 466 delegates. Four abstained from voting. In the first round, the CDU foreign policy expert Norbert Röttgen was eliminated. A large part of the latter’s followers opted in the second vote for the head of the regional government.

Laschet, 59, succeeds Annegrett Ktramp-Karrenbauer in the presidency of the CDU, who resigned in office last February fed up with internal criticism of her person and who is currently head of Defense in Merkel’s cabinet. Proposed by the latter as his successor at the head of the party, Kramp-Karrenbauer endured just over a year in office in the face of harassment from his own coreligionists. The pandemic caused the holding of a congress for the election of a new party president to be delayed several times last year. Due to the digital nature of this congress, Laschet’s virtual election must now be confirmed in a legally binding manner with a mail-in vote by the Christian Democratic delegates. The official announcement of the result will be on January 22, although no one doubts that the one announced this Saturday is already the final one.

As soon as he was proclaimed the winner, Armin Laschet sought the cohesion of the party and claimed the support of the followers of his two defeated rivals. “I will do everything in my power to move forward this year together,” said the Rhenish prime minister with a view to the general elections to be held in Germany next September and the various regional elections that will take place until then. first in March in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. The CDU must succeed in the regional elections and “ensure that, after the Bundestag elections, the Union is once again the one to decide who will be the next Federal Chancellor.” After four legislatures and 16 years in power, Angela Merkel has announced that she has no intention of running for reelection once again.

Both Merz and Röttgen immediately congratulated Laschet and equally stressed the need to demonstrate unity as a party. Among the first congratulations was also that of the president of the twinned Social Christian Union (CSU) and Prime Minister of Bavaria, Markus Söder. “Together we will continue the Union’s success story,” Söder said in a tweet. It remains open who of the two, Söder or Laschet, will be the next head of the list of the two parties of the Union in the general elections of September. Both rejected all kinds of speculation on the matter and commented that it will be later when it will be decided who could succeed Merkel as the head of the German government. No one doubts that the next federal chancellor will be a members of the Union of CDU and CSU. All polls rank the Conservatives first in the voting preferences of Germans, with an overwhelming advantage over the rest of the parties.

Continuity in the CDU

Continuity and minimal risk. These are the fundamental characteristics of the policy of the new president of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Armin Laschet, and the reason for his election this Saturday by delegates from the party that has been in power for three decades thanks to Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel , whom he reveres with devotion. Born in February 1961 in Aachen, Laschet is not thrilling or crowded, neither is his politics, and he may even be boring, but he is reliable and as pragmatic as the Conservative leader. After two decades of the successful protection of the chief, the thousands of delegates of the CDU gathered virtually have fled from any experimental alternative and bet on insurance when choosing the candidate who will best defend the legacy of the federal chancellor. Facing Norbert Röttgen and Friedrich Merz, his two defeated rivals with no precedents in power, Laschet also has government experience after almost three years as prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state with more than 16 million population.

Of Belgian origin from both his maternal and paternal family, Laschet grew up with three siblings in a Catholic religious home. His father was a miner before studying teaching and running a primary school. The new president of the CDU joined the party at the age of 18 and a decade later, after studying law in Munich and Bonn, he was elected councilor of the city council of his native city. In 1994 he won a direct mandate for the Bundestag and in 1999 a seat in the European Parliament, where he worked in the foreign and security policy committees. In 2005 he was appointed Minister of Generations, Family and Integration in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where in 2012 he assumed the regional leadership of the party after the electoral failure in the elections in that “Land” of Röttgen, curiously one of his rivals in the campaign for the CDU national presidency. Five years later, he led his party to electoral victory and the recovery of power in that region of traditional social democratic rule.

A practicing Catholic and member of the parish of San Miguel in Aachen, in which he was baptized, of which he was an altar boy until 1977 and in which he married his wife Susanne in 1985, Armin Laschet is the father of two boys and a girl already Adults. His brother Patrick recently posted on the family website the Laschets’ family tree, dating back to and related to Charlemagne. Within the Christian Democrats, its new president belongs to the more liberal and moderate wing, in which he appears as a defender of religious dialogue between Christians and Muslims and the integration of migrants under the principle of equal opportunities, so that the ascent in the social ladder possible through education. Like Merkel, Armin Laschet also defends the rapprochement with the Greens, whom he considers the best alternative as partners for a new coalition government at the national level after the general elections that will take place in the autumn of this year.


Google threatens to disable Australian searches due to press law

Google threatened this Friday with disable search function in Australia if the Parliament of Canberra passes a law that would force it, like Facebook and other big tech companies, to pay local media for publishing their content.

According to the project, which was presented last month before the Parliament of Canberra, the Government will designate an intermediary to determine the amount to pay for the consideration of the content published by internet platforms in the event that an agreement is not reached through negotiation between the parties.

“If this version of the code becomes law, it would give us no choice but to stop the availability of Google Search available in Australia,” said Google Australia Managing Director Mel Silva in a virtual appearance before a Senate committee that analyzes the bill.

Silva stressed that this option would occur “in the worst case scenario”, insisting that for Google the legislative proposal “would create an unmanageable risk for our businesses in a digital economy. It is not compatible with the way search engines operate.”

After learning of the threat from Google, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Brisbrane that the Parliament and the Government of Canberra determine the rules of the game and “if you want to work with them, in Australia, you are welcome, but U.S we do not respond to threats“.

The Senate committee plans to deliver its report on this bill on February 12, which has been criticized by the creator of the World Wide Web, the British Tim Berners-Lee, who said it may contravene “the principles of the web by requiring payment to link certain content online. “

For their part, the high commercial representatives of the US Government Daniel Bahar and Karl Ehlers urged Canberra to “suspend” its plans to carry out this project by expressing that it may generate concern “about Australia’s international trade obligations,” they wrote. a letter to the committee.

It may interest you

The proposal, which aims to protect local media, responds to the recommendations of the Australian Competition and Consumption Commission expressed in December 2019 in a report on the impact of search engines and social networks on the advertising and media market.

The day before, Google reached an agreement with the editors of French newspapers on a system for remunerate them for publishing their content, which ends a months-long dispute that had reached the courts.


United States: he wins $ 1 billion in the lottery

Un billion dollars, or more than 821 million euros. This is the astronomical sum won by a Michigan resident on Friday, January 22, playing Mega Millions. The man will thus cash the second biggest gain in the history of the game, explains the HuffPost. He will now have to make a choice: if he decides to immediately collect the full amount, he will have to pay taxes on his enormous gain. The winner can also choose to spread the payments over the next thirty years, specifies the news site, according to which the man had only one chance in 302 million to find the good combination.

By spending only two dollars, the lucky winner won a jackpot that has been increasing since last September. Two years earlier, a player whose identity has not been revealed had won $ 1.537 billion at the Mega Millions. In January 2016, the sum of $ 1.6 billion was also put into play by Powerball, but it was ultimately shared between several players.

READ ALSOBritish lottery winner descent into hell

Much lower amounts in Europe

The sum won by the inhabitant of Michigan should make European gambling enthusiasts dream. On the Old Continent, the gains are indeed much lower than those offered in the United States. EuroMillions, which involves the highest amounts, cannot in fact exceed a ceiling of 250 million euros. To date, the biggest win in European lottery history was won by a Frenchman on December 11. The man then won 200 million euros.

Covid-19: in England, one in eight people has been infected

One in eight people in England had been infected with the new coronavirus in December, marking a marked increase compared to the previous month (one in eleven) against the background of the spread of a new highly contagious variant, according to an official study released on Tuesday .

According to the Office for National Statistics, ONS, one in 10 people in Wales, one in 13 in Northern Ireland and one in 11 in Scotland had contracted Covid-19 in December. It is based on antibody tests carried out randomly in the population and therefore also make it possible to identify asymptomatic people, and not just those who test positive.

Confinement strict

A third wave of the virus, the deadliest, is currently sweeping the United Kingdom. This country deplores the death of 91,470 people tested positive for Covid-19, after recording on Tuesday a record of 1,610 additional deaths in 24 hours, according to an official report, the worst in Europe, published on Tuesday. The number of positive cases is close to 3.5 million.

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Faced with the strong spread of the virus, attributed to a new strain considered to be very contagious which appeared in the United Kingdom, the different constituent nations have decided to reconfigure themselves and to close schools, with different timetables, each one deciding on its own strategy. crisis.

In Scotland, even if the restrictions “are starting to have an impact” in terms of reducing the number of contaminations, this containment initially planned to last until the end of January will remain in place “at least until mid-February”, announced Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday.

“Any relaxation of containment while the number of cases remains very high, even if it is decreasing, could quickly reverse the situation”, she warned.

Towards long restrictions?

In England, the most populous with 56 million inhabitants, the restrictions are planned to be able to remain in force until March 31 but a review is scheduled for mid-February.

According to the ONS, overall mortality for the first week of January was 45.8% higher than the average for the past five years in England and Wales. The body warned, however, that the data could be skewed by delays in registering deaths during the Christmas holiday period.

London, particularly affected by the latest wave, recorded an increase of nearly 85% in the number of deaths compared to the average recorded the same week for the past five years.



Robin Rivaton, economist.By Robin Rivaton


The national low-carbon strategy is the French state's roadmap to lead us, by 2050, to a France free of its domestic emissions, underlines Jean-Marc Jancovici.By Jean-Marc Jancovici


In France, the rhythm of vaccination is progressing, but it stops after dark and slows down a bit on Saturdays and Sundays because we are resting.Nicolas bouzou

Ldemocracy in all its forms

Jean-Maurice Ripert, Ambassador of France.By Jean-Maurice Ripert

Joe Biden’s inauguration speech: a call for unity in the face of the “dark winter” of Covid-19

“Democracy won”. In saying these words on Wednesday in his inaugural address, Joe Biden turned the page on several such painful events in recent American political life. The contestation of the election results by his defeated rival Donald Trump, the assault on the Capitol by supporters of the latter, their threats against elected officials, their promises to return …

“The will of the people has been heard and the will of the people has been respected,” hammered the 46th President of the United States a few minutes after taking the oath. A 21-minute speech in which he called on the country to “unity” and promised to be the president of all Americans. “A new day is dawning on America,” he wrote a few hours earlier on Twitter.

In this ceremony all in restraint because of the context, the Democratic president warned against the arrival of “the hardest and the deadliest phase” of the pandemic, and invited the Americans to put aside their differences to face to this “dark winter”.

A minute of silence for the 400,000 victims of Covid-19

“We will get by together”, assured Joe Biden, before observing a minute of silence in tribute to the 400,000 victims of Covid-19, “mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, friends, neighbors and colleagues ”.

He further urged Americans to reject manipulation of facts, in a reference to Donald Trump, who for weeks denied the outcome of the presidential election and popularized the phrase “fake news”. “Not all disagreements should lead to all-out war,” he insisted. And we must reject the culture where the facts themselves are manipulated, and even invented ”.

“There is the truth and there are the lies, the lies spoken for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and a responsibility, as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders, […] to stand up for the truth and fight lies, ”he added.

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Joe Biden also promised to “defeat” “white supremacism” and “internal terrorism”, two weeks after the violence on Capitol Hill. “Today we are seeing the emergence of political extremism, white supremacism and internal terrorism,” he noted. “We have to face them and we will defeat them,” he said.