Demonstration in Algiers, 18 October. RAMZI BOUDINA / REUTERS
Demonstration in Algiers, 18 October. RAMZI BOUDINA / REUTERS

While the presidential election of December 12 should have been the culmination of a democratic transition, the vote takes on a parody. Will Algeria succeed in turning the page of authoritarianism in a peaceful way? For a country that has often advanced in violent jolts, the challenge is immense and the historic opportunity. For the past eight months, non-violent demonstrations have been multiplying against the power set up twenty years ago by Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the deposed president. Of this one remain today only tinsel whose representatives are impotent to understand the meaning of the history and to apprehend the aspirations of a population exceeded by the infelicity in which the regime plunged Algeria.

The presidential election of December 12 should have been the culmination of the democratic process. The way the ballot is organized does not create the conditions for a real, legitimate and transparent transition to a comprehensive political agreement.

The bureaucracy and lobbies in power still have enough influence to try to maintain the existing backward of the demands of the street. The old reflexes remain the same, even if the popular pressure has forced the system to adapt its speech. But in a climate of general distrust of power, it has become inaudible.

Instead of drawing inspiration from the Hirak echo, the popular movement, in an attempt to give new prospects to an Algeria that is lacking so much, the army, now in the front line, seeks only to neutralize it. Wanting to perpetuate a system that has failed and against which Algerians are now vaccinated will only serve to radicalize discontent.

The upcoming election takes on the appearance of a democratic parody, in which the ex-ministers of the outgoing president pretend to participate in a competition that has only one goal: to bring out a personality of the seraglio so that nothing really changes. As long as the press is under constant pressure to spread the good word of power, as long as arbitrary arrests and exceptional justice continue, as long as the current government will not allow the electoral process to proceed freely, the conditions for the appointment of a new legitimate president will not be met.

In this context, the December 12 poll is likely to end in an empty election with a ridiculously low voter turnout. The new elected will be weakened, making the country ungovernable.

What makes the strength of this movement is that it is not a social revolt or categorical throwing in the street part of the Algerians against another. It is a momentum that mixes young and old, popular and better-off classes. Faced with this mass and diversity, power will have the greatest difficulty playing the division to maintain an illusory status quo.

If the proponents of the system imagine that a return to the ante situation is still possible, they are mistaken heavily. Algerians have not been demonstrating for eight months to obtain reforms at the margin with those who led them to the current situation. The vast majority demand a redistribution of national wealth, wants to put the sovereignty of the people at the center of political life and intends to take back in hand his destiny that a clan has confiscated for too long. At this stage, the December 12 vote is not up to this aspiration and will only complicate the democratic transition.
Leonardo da Vinci, \ "Portrait of young man holding a partition \", says \ "The Musician \" (detail)Leonardo da Vinci, "Portrait of a young man holding a score", says "The Musician" (detail) (© Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana)

Leonardo da Vinci: from "L'Homme de Vitruvius" to "La Scapigliata", five masterpieces from the Louvre exhibition. From "The Vitruvian Man" to "Musician", discover some of the exceptional works lent by the Italian museums for the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at the Louvre!

A few days before the opening of the great retrospective dedicated by the Louvre to the painting of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), here are some exceptional works lent by the Italian museums, including the famous Vitruvian Man, who almost did not to come to Paris. However, there is still no news of Salvator Mundi, which has disappeared since its auction two years ago.

"The Vitruvian Man"
"The Vitruvian Man"

\ "The Vitruvian Man \" by Leonardo da Vinci, 1490, Gallery dell \ 'Accademia, Venice"The Man of Vitruvian" by Leonardo da Vinci, 1490, Galleria dell'Accademia, Venice (© Luisa Ricciarini / Leemage / AFP)

After many adventures, Italian justice rejected the appeal of an association that wanted to prohibit the loan of several works by Leonardo da Vinci to the Louvre for its great exhibition.

The famous Vitruvian Man will come to Paris. This 34-by-24-centimeter drawing, preserved in the Academy Gallery of Venice, worth a billion euros, is one of Leonardo's most famous works with the Mona Lisa. It was probably made in Milan around 1490. It represents a study of the ideal proportions of the human body in two distinct positions, legs joined and legs apart. The body is inscribed in a circle and a square.

It is inspired by the theories of the Roman architect Vitruvius for whom a beautiful building was to be a transposition of the symmetry "found in nature".  The drawing is accompanied by a text in specular writing (to be read with a mirror) which takes up this idea.

Bringing together drawing, anatomy, mathematics, architecture, philosophy, The Man of Vitruvius illustrates the universal genius of Leonardo da Vinci. It can also symbolize the humanism of the Renaissance.

Of great fragility, difficult to transport, this drawing with pen, ink and watercolor keys on white paper is kept in a special room, protected from light and controlled climatic values. It should only stay a few weeks at the Louvre while the exposure should last four months.

"St. Jerome penitent"
"St. Jerome penitent" 
Leonardo da Vinci, "St. Jerome penitent" & nbsp;Leonardo da Vinci, "St. Jerome penitent" (Photo © Governatorate of the Vatican City State - Vatican Museums.

This unfinished oil on wood was made around 1482. She had a chaotic history: she belonged to the Swiss painter Angelika Kauffmann, then she lost herself. Joseph Fesch, Napoleon's uncle and collector, would have acquired it then. It was cut into five pieces and then reconstituted. Finally bought in the mid-nineteenth century by Pope Pius IX, it is kept in the Vatican Pinacoteca, in a special room because of its fragility. It is the only work of Leonardo da Vinci in Rome. Its attribution is not in doubt.

Saint Jerome, one of the fathers of the church, is represented during his retreat in the desert. The legendary lion, to whom he has removed a thorn, is lying, harmless, at his feet. The muscles of the saint, emaciated by privations and whose torso is discovered, show Leonardo's interest in anatomy.

Study for the Angel of the Virgin with the Rocks
Study for the Angel of the Virgin with the Rocks
Leonardo da Vinci, "Study of figure for the angel of the Virgin with the rocks"Leonardo da Vinci, "Study of figure for the angel of the Virgin with the rocks" (© Licensed by the Minister for the blessing of cultural activity - Musei Reali - Biblioteca Reale di Torino)

This portrait of a girl with a silver point on paper, dated 1483-1485, kept at the Biblioteca reale in Turin, is a preparatory drawing for the angel of The Virgin of the Rocks , the first version of which is kept in the Louvre. (the second is at the National Gallery in London). It would be Cecilia Gallerani, the mistress of Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, represented in The Lady with the Ermine of Cracow.

For the American art historian Bernard Berenson (1865-1959), a specialist in the Renaissance, it was one of the most beautiful drawings in the world. The features of the face are clearly drawn, displaying an intense expression, while the shoulders and the hair are only sketched. It is kept at the Biblioteca reale of Turin.

"Portrait of young man holding a score", says "The Musician"
"Portrait of young man holding a score", says "The Musician"
Leonardo da Vinci, \ "Portrait of young man holding a partition \", says \ "The Musician \"Leonardo da Vinci, "Portrait of a young man holding a score", says "The Musician" (© Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana)

Painted around 1485, this oil on wood is the only one that remained in Milan (at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana), where Leonardo da Vinci lived 25 years. It was long thought that it was a portrait of the Duke of Milan until the score at the bottom of the small painting (32 centimeters by 45 cm) reappeared under layers of repainting, when it was restored in 1905. The character was identified as Franchino Gaffurio, the Duomo Master of Milan, or Franco-Flemish composer Josquin des Prés. The two musicians were at the court of Ludovico Sforza at that time.

It could also be Atalante Migliorotti, a Tuscan musician, singer and lyre player, friend of Leonard.

"Woman's head", called "The Scapigliata" (The ruffled)
"Woman's head", called "The Scapigliata" (The ruffled)
Leonardo da Vinci, \ "Head of a woman \" called \ "The Scapigliata \"Leonardo da Vinci, "Woman's head" called "The Scapigliata" (© Licensed by Ministerio dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali - Complesso Monumentale della Pilotta-Galleria Nazionale)

This unfinished painting kept at the Parma Galleria Nazionale is a work of maturity, like the Saint Anne and the last version of the Virgin with the Rocks. It was realized around 1508. The work, made in terra ombra (sort of ocher) and whitewash on wood, is unfinished.

The ruffled hair and the bust are barely sketched while the relief of the features of the face, a great softness, is well underlined. The young woman, with lowered eyelids, seems in full meditation. The Scapigliata had already been exhibited in Paris at the Italian Embassy in 2016.

And still no news of Salvator Mundi. Sold for more than $ 450 million at Christie's in New York in November 2017, the painting had shattered the record for the biggest art auction. Since then, everyone has wondered where he has gone.

The painting of 65 x 45 cm where Christ emerges from the darkness, in a gesture of blessing, which for some is not in the hand of the master, would have been acquired to complete the collection of Louvre Abu Dhabi. Some say it was bought on behalf of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but nothing has been confirmed.
On the margins of Europe
Francois Hollande, Angela Merkel and Matteo Renzi in a press conference on referendum of Brexit. JOHN MACDOUGALL AFP
Spain can not be left out of discussions on the reconfiguration of the EU after the Brexit. Successive political meetings at the highest level that are happening in Europe since Thursday's victory supporters that Britain leave the EU have had, so far, a common feature was known: the absence of Spain.

Such absence, although it comes from afar and has to do with the low international profile of Mariano Rajoy, is another consequence of the period of uncertainty due to the repetition of elections. As if missing reasons for a rapid formation of government, here is a more powerful and well. In a crucial moment for redefining the very idea of ​​the European project, it is imperative that the voice of Spain is heard. For economy-fourth of the euro area, population, history and international influence, especially in Latin America, must be present at the forums where these issues are discussed. At this point the six founding members deemed entitled to meet on their own and not invite a country like Spain says little about the ability of diplomacy to be enforced.

Clearly, Mariano Rajoy, with his usual vagueness, it has not difficult. In mid-month it predicted that the Brexit would be "a catastrophe". Last week, after the result, he called for "serenity and tranquility." And until yesterday he was silent. Meanwhile, the Italian Matteo Renzi has created a very active axis Rome-Paris-Berlin is shaping up as the lead manager of the crisis.

For its European vocation and the very important ties that bind our economy with the British, the Brexit is a matter of highest priority. Urges, therefore, to know how the Government will defend the interests of Spain, and how it will contribute to strengthening the European Union at a critical moment. But for that we must be present, not absent.
Insecurity of insurers
The relationships with customers are not exactly the strong point of insurers. The insurance market has walked a tightrope for years, beset on some occasions by a triggered accidents, in others by competition arising from business smallholdings, sometimes by outdated legislation and, finally, perhaps for financial or work settings companies of any market in times of crisis require that, for various reasons will not deferring to thin the corporate atmosphere. The general descriptions run and is intended to describe a specific market (financial strangulation, technological advances, changes significant in customer behavior and etc.) forget that companies in almost every sector often face similar difficulties; and that corporate management is (or should be to) precisely understand that times are changing every day and every hour, and the commonplaces of the crisis or the challenges just clarify the present or the past or, at least, the future.

The insurance market now undergoing one of the multiple and continuous phases of adjustment characteristic of mature businesses, where profitability is vented into the details. In theory, they should learn from the banks, which begins convinced that survival requires getting used to narrow margins and wait for a next cycle of higher rates. The low interest rates also hurt insurers, but they have more room to raise rates. This is not the ultimate solution, it seems clear; but business development consists of interim patches applied pending cycle changes. The first business, however, task is to examine what is the margin for improving the service; margin in each company will be different, but in any case there. Does the insurer commitments and customer expectations? Do you respond with diligence to notices of accidents, starting with the telephone access service, which is usually deplorable? Do you have precise relationships, with automatic effects, to reward the loyalty? Because in many cases if there is no claim occur.

And so could expose several examples. Relationships with customers are not exactly the strong point of insurers. It is a problem common to large companies too; once a relatively high and stable customer volume is reached, managers tend to relegate relations with users to the category of minor matter. There are few companies that reduce or abolish offices customer relationship because, while reducing cost. One decision that seems required in setting times, when profit and the dividend may not always be maintained or increased by growth the business rid the company of complaints or suggestions you have no time or patience to filter. If however, one of the few guarantees of stability for insurers is to maintain a loyal clientele, the traditional way, which is not easily fold to claim competition to lower premiums.

That said and recalling further that the insurance market adjustments ahead and important legal changes in the short term, we must admit that yes, that financial conditions are harsh and that low interest rates strangling some growth assumptions. They are cyclical conditions, however; it is not foreseeable that the euro area keep the cost of the next money to zero beyond mid-2018 (to quote a difficult horizon to calculate) and, of course, is also true that the ECB buy debt of insurers (and other markets) as collateral and that decision is a relief of liquidity.
The zika jumps to the Games

The mosquito lives in 61 countries and territories and eradicate the planet is an impossible task. Pau Gasol statements about the dangers posed to participants and attendees celebration in Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games have caused surprise both in sports and health. The basketball player has drawn attention to the impact of the Zika virus, which affects a very special way to Brazil, where they have detected in recent months 90,000 probable cases. Concern has acquired such a level that Gasol admits he is considering the possibility of not going to the Olympics next August.

Arguments in favor of postponing or relocating the competition have been put forward by a group of over 150 scientists from prestigious international universities, according to which the strain zika has implications for more serious than previously thought health. The virus, transmitted by the bite of a mosquito, usually causes mild symptoms, while it may cause serious neurological disorders and in cases of infected mothers has been directly linked to the birth of babies with microcephaly. Although the zika remains in the spotlight, the World Health Organization says that contracting dengue is more dangerous to humans.

Several million people will travel to Brazil, and ensure public health is the main objective. WHO has already declared in February the global health alert and issued a list of recommendations to avoid contingencies, but for now, is not in favor of canceling the Games or change the venue because such measures did not significantly alter the spread of zika beyond Brazil's borders. It should be noted that the mosquito that transmits the disease live in 61 countries and territories and eradicate the planet is an impossible task.
Coca-Cola paralyzes production in Venezuela.  Cans of Coca-Cola. BLOOMBERG | REUTERS-QUALITY 
The measure was announced after the state company that processes sugar cease activity. The bottler of Atlanta-based company said that production will be affected in the "coming days" and does not clarify at what point can resume normal production of Coca-Cola Classic in Venezuela. The situation in the country does nothing but get worse and economic hardship also affects imports of commodities for the production of beverages and food. Last week, the Venezuelan state company in charge of processing the sugar temporarily cut production. "We are advancing specific actions that allow us to face this situation with suppliers, authorities and our workers," said the firm in a statement over the weekend.

Coca-Cola Femsa which operates four bottling plants and employs about 7,300 workers in Venezuela, said that factories are consuming the remaining sugar inventory. "If not recover this inventory as soon as possible, temporary interruptions in the production of sugar beverage portfolio will be generated." In late April Empresas Polar had to stop production of beer because the government does not give the dollars needed to purchase raw materials.

Coca-Cola Femsa is the largest bottling company in the world, with plants also operate in countries like Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina. The partner of the US corporation explains that "90% of production" of its popular soft drink needs sugar, so it has no choice but to temporarily suspend its operations for that product. Also they make clear to the company that they will not leave the country. Now Coca-Cola Femsa are looking for other alternatives to gain refined sugar it needs for refreshments. The temporary cessation does not affect sugar - free drinks, where operations continue normally and its headquarters will remain open. Multinationals also face problems for the continued depreciation of the Venezuelan currency, as reflected in the results of PepsiCo, General Motors and Ford Motor.

In the Chavista was the popular drink bottler has faced numerous trade disputes. In May 2013 was the last major. Valencia plant in the center of the country, spent at least a week without producing bottled water and juice-based drinks and tea, part of the products they offer. All past conflicts have originated in the differences between the aspirations of the accused and supply of Coca-Cola. But the lack of raw material and deepening scarcity inaugurate an era whose consequences are still to be seen.
Sustainable fisheries in the Mediterranean
European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella. EFE / File
The facts are indisputable: the Mediterranean fish stocks are declining. Some of them are even on the verge of exhaustion. Overall, 93% of fish stocks that have been assessed are overexploited. The European Commission, which reaffirms its commitment to the growth and jobs agenda, is very concerned about what this may mean for the thousands of fishermen fishing in the Mediterranean. Therefore, it has launched a Mediterranean Strategy to improve the situation of fish stocks. On 27 April a ministerial conference was held after a major forum held under the main meeting of European industry: Fair seafood (Seafood Expo Global).

There are several reasons for the poor state of fish stocks. Pollution and climate change, no doubt, are partly to blame. However, it is clear that the massive overfishing is one of the root causes. It is true that, in the case of many populations (too many) still do not know enough. In the eastern Mediterranean, for example, there are significant gaps in time series that prevent us draw meaningful conclusions. In addition, half of all fish caught in the Mediterranean is not even registered. Therefore, we have only a partial view of this matter. But the evidence is equally devastating: fishermen report that caught fewer fish from year to year. In fact, their livelihoods, their own industry, are at risk.

The new Mediterranean Strategy of the European Commission is a commitment to the recovery of fish stocks, so that we can fulfill our commitment to the recovery of fishing. Our strategy is based on many years of work to inspire a sense of solidarity among fishermen. In 2003 the Mediterranean nations signed a declaration which laid the foundations for improving scientific research, protect vulnerable areas and limit fishing. The EU Member States reduced their fleets in an effort to ensure sustainable fisheries. Our legislative proposal provides management plans national and international fishing, catch limitations and environmental requirements. A strong multilateral cooperation encourages all countries bordering the Mediterranean to respect the same rules.

And experience shows that we can succeed if we tackle the challenges together. Take for example the extraordinary recovery of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean. We got together, we agreed, and thus achieve results. Fishermen who recently questioned the recovery plan today laud their results. But we must go further. Fortunately, there is now a genuine shared that we must act with all populations feeling. At a recent conference, held in February in the Italian city of Catania, I met with fishermen's associations, European scientists and NGOs. All were aligned with government representatives present. This political will is what is needed to achieve a comprehensive approach to all neighboring Mediterranean countries to join.

The EU took the initiative in the case of bluefin tuna and has been shown that it was the right decision. Now we extend this successful performance to other fish species, across national borders and fishing traditions.

Several ministers of EU fisheries and coastal Mediterranean countries outside the EU were in Brussels on the occasion of the fair Global Seafood Expo in late April. What I intend to build on the momentum that was generated in Catania. We have started monitoring a joint statement on sustainable fisheries in the Mediterranean, at this time next year, you should give new impetus and provide a new vision for conservation and sustainability in the Mediterranean.

For this I have also been in contact with some major EU partners in the Mediterranean. Only in the last month I was in Algeria and Turkey, and met with representatives of Tunisia. They all expressed their understanding for the urgency and willingness to act. This feeling of involvement of all stakeholders in the largest possible number of Mediterranean countries is what they need fishermen. Joint efforts and commitment to our long-term strategy offset, as they deserve, fishermen from all over this great sea.
Lessons from Netherlands

Holland, officially, the only country of the 28 that has not ratified the association agreement between the EU and Ukraine adopted by the Dutch Parliament. The objective of the agreement, signed in 2013, is to promote political dialogue and develop the economy of Ukraine. The referendum went ahead thanks to a Eurosceptic digital environment and the action of a group of same - significantly called Geenpeil profile, Clueless - which took the government has just lowered the necessary 300,000 signatures to call a referendum on any matter. The he did not win, but more than two - thirds of voters stayed home. Only 20% of the electorate supports the negative.

Above the difficulties of the Dutch government to manage the outcome and complications that can arise for Brussels, what happened interesting lessons for all extracted. It has become a commonplace to say that representative democracy is in crisis and you need to open new channels to give citizens a voice in public affairs. In the catalog of measures aimed at correcting this alleged deficit of representation are the use of referenda, advisory or binding; popular legislative initiatives, whose use is intended to stimulate; the recall commands that allow depose public office without calling elections; or electronic mechanisms of direct democracy, which in theory would allow parliaments without a large number of topics.

But as evidenced by the case of the Netherlands, however discredited that is representative democracy, direct democracy mechanisms that arise as an alternative are far from a panacea. On the contrary, as we see throughout Europe-from Greece to the UK via Hungary and the Netherlands, referenda are likely to become the favorite tool of populist to delegitimize democracies, put in crisis the European project and, to make matters worse in this case, make a huge gift to Putin, recipient of the consultation on Wednesday and allegedly ultimately responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight in July 2014 that killed nearly 300 people.

Again, as in most referendums on European issues during the last two decades, the electorate has not answered the question that has been asked, but which had wanted to be formulated; Also ignoring the consequences of their vote. However, the high abstention rate of nearly 70%, is the most relevant data. If direct democracy does not improve participation with respect to representative democracy and discredits over the political system, its usefulness is diluted completely.