The Week Unwrapped: Sporting peril, boycotting France and farming tomorrow
Will rugby survive a concussion crisis? Why are French goods being recalled across the Arab world? And what’s happening down on the farm?
Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days.
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In this week’s episode, we discuss:
Sporting head injuries
At the age of 42, former England rugby player Steve Thompson says he can’t remember a thing about winning the World Cup in 2003. Diagnosed with early onset dementia he has now joined a group of players, all under the age of 45, bringing legal proceedings against the game’s governing body over what they claim is a failure to protect them from concussions. The matter raises many questions, including an existential one: can a sport continue, knowing some players may suffer long-term harm?
In the week that a French court convicted several accomplices of the gunmen involved in the attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, many majority-Muslim nations are organising a boycott of French businesses and products. Their beef is with Emmanuel Macron’s rhetoric about “radical Islamist separatism” - and his determination to enforce a very French idea of secularism.
Farmers in countries including the US and China are using facial recognition technology to identify and monitor pigs, cows and even crop plants, as part of the global push to make the industry more productive and sustainable. With UK farming practices also facing a major shake-up under new government plans, what other seeds are being sown for a greener agricultural future?