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Concept: France


Concentrations of floating plastic were measured throughout the Mediterranean Sea to assess whether this basin can be regarded as a great accumulation region of plastic debris. We found that the average density of plastic (1 item per 4 m2), as well as its frequency of occurrence (100% of the sites sampled), are comparable to the accumulation zones described for the five subtropical ocean gyres. Plastic debris in the Mediterranean surface waters was dominated by millimeter-sized fragments, but showed a higher proportion of large plastic objects than that present in oceanic gyres, reflecting the closer connection with pollution sources. The accumulation of floating plastic in the Mediterranean Sea (between 1,000 and 3,000 tons) is likely related to the high human pressure together with the hydrodynamics of this semi-enclosed basin, with outflow mainly occurring through a deep water layer. Given the biological richness and concentration of economic activities in the Mediterranean Sea, the affects of plastic pollution on marine and human life are expected to be particularly frequent in this plastic accumulation region.

Concepts: Water, Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Spain, Sea, France, Ocean, Marine debris


Does naturalization cause better political integration of immigrants into the host society? Despite heated debates about citizenship policy, there exists almost no evidence that isolates the independent effect of naturalization from the nonrandom selection into naturalization. We provide new evidence from a natural experiment in Switzerland, where some municipalities used referendums as the mechanism to decide naturalization requests. Balance checks suggest that for close naturalization referendums, which are decided by just a few votes, the naturalization decision is as good as random, so that narrowly rejected and narrowly approved immigrant applicants are similar on all confounding characteristics. This allows us to remove selection effects and obtain unbiased estimates of the long-term impacts of citizenship. Our study shows that for the immigrants who faced close referendums, naturalization considerably improved their political integration, including increases in formal political participation, political knowledge, and political efficacy.

Concepts: Causality, Effectiveness, Law, Experiment, Metaphysics, France, Refugee, Political science


In 2008 a fatal case of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, due to the amoeboflagellate Naegleria fowleri, occurred in Guadeloupe, French West Indies, after a child swam in a bath fed with geothermal water. In order to improve the knowledge on free-living amoebae in this tropical part of France, we investigated on a monthly basis, the presence of Naegleria spp. in the recreational baths, and stream waters which feed them. A total of 73 water samples, 48 sediments and 54 swabs samples were collected from 6 sampling points between June 2011 and July 2012. The water samples were filtered and the filters transferred to non-nutrient agar plates seeded with a heat-killed suspension of Escherichia coli while sediment and swab samples were placed directly on these plates. The plates were incubated at 44°C for the selective isolation of thermophilic Naegleria. To identify the Naegleria isolates the internal transcribed spacers, including the 5.8S rDNA, were amplified by polymerase chain reaction and the sequence of the PCR products was determined. Thermophilic amoebae were present at nearly all collection sites. The pathogenic N. fowleri was the most frequently encountered thermophilic species followed by N. lovaniensis. The concentration of N. fowleri was rather low in most water samples, ranging from 0 to 22 per liter. Sequencing revealed that all N. fowleri isolates belonged to a common Euro-American genotype, the same as detected in the human case in Guadeloupe. These investigations need to be continued in order to counsel the health authorities about prevention measures, because these recreational thermal baths are used daily by local people and tourists.

Concepts: DNA, Polymerase chain reaction, Escherichia coli, France, Caribbean, Naegleria fowleri, Primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, Naegleria


To ascertain patterns of parental smoking in the vicinity of children in Eastern and Western Europe and their relation to Tobacco Control Scale (TCS) scores.

Concepts: European Union, Europe, Eastern Europe, France, Western Europe, Finland, Greece, Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics


The human settlement of Europe during Pleistocene times was sporadic and several stages have been recognized, both from paleaoanthropological and archaeological records. If the first phase of hominin occupation (as early as 1.4 Ma) seems mainly restricted to the southern part of the continent, the second phase, characterized by specific lithic tools (handaxes), is linked to Acheulean settlements and to the emergence of Homo heidelbergensis, the ancestor of Neanderthals. This phase reached northwestern Europe and is documented in numerous sites in Germany, Great Britain and northern France, generally after 600 ka. At la Noira (Brinay, Central France), the Middle Pleistocene alluvial formation of the Cher River covers an archaeological level associated with a slope deposit (diamicton). The lithic assemblage from this level includes Large Cutting Tools (LCTs), flakes and cores, associated with numerous millstone slabs. The lithic series is classified as Acheulean on the basis of both technological and typological analyses. Cryoturbation features indicate that the slope deposits and associated archaeological level were strongly frozen and disturbed after hominin occupation and before fluvial deposition. Eight sediment samples were dated by the electron spin resonance (ESR) method and the weighted average age obtained for the fluvial sands overlying the slope deposits is 665±55 ka. This age is older than previous chronological data placing the first European Acheulean assemblages north of 45(th) parallel north at around 500 ka and modifies our current vision of the initial peopling of northern Europe. Acheulean settlements are older than previously assumed and the oldest evidences are not only located in southern Europe. La Noira is the oldest evidence of Acheulean presence in north-western Europe and attests to the possibility of pioneering phases of Acheulean settlement which would have taken place on a Mode 1-type substratum as early as 700 ka. The lithic assemblage from la Noira thus provides behavioral and technological data on early Acheulean occupation in Europe and contributes to our understanding of the diffusion of this tradition.

Concepts: United Kingdom, Europe, Great Britain, France, Western Europe, Archaeology, Northern Europe, Acheulean


European governments are struggling with the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, but there exists little evidence regarding how the management of the asylum process affects the subsequent integration of refugees in the host country. We provide new causal evidence about how one central policy parameter, the length of time that refugees wait in limbo for a decision on their asylum claim, affects their subsequent economic integration. Exploiting exogenous variation in wait times and registry panel data covering refugees who applied in Switzerland between 1994 and 2004, we find that one additional year of waiting reduces the subsequent employment rate by 4 to 5 percentage points, a 16 to 23% drop compared to the average rate. This deleterious effect is remarkably stable across different subgroups of refugees stratified by gender, origin, age at arrival, and assigned language region, a pattern consistent with the idea that waiting in limbo dampens refugee employment through psychological discouragement, rather than a skill atrophy mechanism. Overall, our results suggest that marginally reducing the asylum waiting period can help reduce public expenditures and unlock the economic potential of refugees by increasing employment among this vulnerable population.

Concepts: Time, Population, Europe, Australia, France, World War II, League of Nations, Right of asylum


Developed democracies are settling an increased number of refugees, many of whom face challenges integrating into host societies. We developed a flexible data-driven algorithm that assigns refugees across resettlement locations to improve integration outcomes. The algorithm uses a combination of supervised machine learning and optimal matching to discover and leverage synergies between refugee characteristics and resettlement sites. The algorithm was tested on historical registry data from two countries with different assignment regimes and refugee populations, the United States and Switzerland. Our approach led to gains of roughly 40 to 70%, on average, in refugees' employment outcomes relative to current assignment practices. This approach can provide governments with a practical and cost-efficient policy tool that can be immediately implemented within existing institutional structures.

Concepts: Algorithm, Population, United States, Developed country, Immigration, Canada, France, Supervised learning


Access to health care for asylum-seekers and refugees (AS&R) in Germany is initially restricted before regular access is granted, allegedly leading to delayed care and increasing costs of care. We analyse the effects of (a) restricted access; and (b) two major policy reforms (1997, 2007) on incident health expenditures for AS&R in 1994-2013.

Concepts: Health care, Clinical trial, Europe, Canada, France, Chord, Massachusetts, Semitone


We here present a comparative study of the Montmaurin-LN Middle Pleistocene mandible (Haute-Garonne, France). This mandible, of which its right and left molar series are preserved in situ, was found in La Niche cave (Montmaurin’s karst system) in 1949, and was first attributed to the ‘Mindel-Riss’ interglacial (= MIS 9 to 11) based on its geological context. Later studies based on geological and faunal evidence have attributed the Montmaurin-LN mandible to MIS 7. Following a detailed morphological and metric comparative study of the mandible in the 1970s, it was interpreted in the light of a still limited fossil record and the prevailing paradigm back then. Waiting for geochronological studies in the forthcoming years, here we review the main morphological and metrical features of this mandible and its molars, which have been reassessed in the framework of a remarkably enlarged Pleistocene fossil record since the mandible was first described, and our current, more in-depth understanding of human evolution in Europe. Using a selection of mandibular features with potential taxonomic signal we have found that the Montmaurin-LN mandible shares only a few derived traits with Neandertals. Our analyses reveal that this mandible is more closely related to the ancient specimens from the African and Eurasian Early and Middle Pleistocene, particularly due to the presence of primitive features of the Homo clade. In contrast, the external morphology of the molars is clearly similar to that of Neandertals. The results are assessed in the light of the present competing hypotheses used to explain the European hominin fossil record.

Concepts: Human, Evolution, France, Paleontology, Human evolution, Charles Darwin, Geologic time scale, Haute-Garonne


Since the major outbreak in 2007 in the Yap Island, Zika virus (ZIKV) causing dengue-like syndromes has affected multiple islands of the South Pacific region. In May 2015, the virus was detected in Brazil and then spread through South and Central America. In December 2015, ZIKV was detected in French Guiana and Martinique. The aim of the study was to evaluate the vector competence of the mosquito spp. Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus from the Caribbean (Martinique, Guadeloupe), North America (southern United States), South America (Brazil, French Guiana) for the currently circulating Asian genotype of ZIKV isolated from a patient in April 2014 in New Caledonia.

Concepts: United States, North America, South America, France, Americas, Latin America, Caribbean, Indigenous peoples of the Americas