National civic service - Nearly two decades after France phased out conscription for men, some 2,000 teenagers on Sunday began a pilot programme for a new national civic service, a project of French President Emmanuel Macron. For a fortnight, the 15- and 16-year-olds will leave home for training in first aid and other basic skills, followed later by another two weeks of volunteering. Macron caused surprise on the campaign trail in 2017 by promising to introduce a month-long compulsory national service, saying he wanted to give girls and boys "a direct experience of military life".
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