Second French presidential TV debate; Brussels Syria conference begins; China announces a new city

These three things will change the world today.

1. French presidential election heats up with second TV debate

The French presidential election candidates will go head to head in the second televised debate tonight.

Prior to this year, no TV debates had been held before the first round of voting in the election.

All 11 candidates, not just the five front runners, will take part in tonight’s debate giving France’s electorate a chance to see the candidates’ policies debated in full.

Currently, National Front leader Marine Le Pen is still leading in the first round with 25 percent, though centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron is close behind with 24 percent, and ex-prime minister Francis Fillion is trailing with 19 percent.

Macron is expected to win in the second round against the far right Le Pen in May, though the world is closely watching whether the populist uprising — that began with the UK’s vote to quit the European Union and led to Donald Trump’s election as US president — will continue.

2. International donors gear up for fundraising pledge for Syrian refugees

The Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region begins today which should see international donors pledging billions of dollars to help Syrian refugees and bring an end to the conflict.

The United Nations (UN) has appealed for $8bn to deal with what is considered one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Now in the seventh year of conflict, more than 5m Syrians have been forced to flee their homeland and funding is needed to help the refugees displaced by the fighting.

Qatar, Kuwait, and Norway have joined forced with the European Union and the UN to help raise the funds.

As well as raising the necessary funds, the EU hopes that the conference in Brussels will see countries support the UN-backed peace process which aims to bring an end to the civil war.

3. China sets out its plans for a new city near Beijing, three times the size of New York

China has announced plans to build a city near Beijing in an attempt to slash pollution and congestion in the capital.

A new special economic zone has been set up by authorities, called the Xiongan New Area, which will eventually cover an area nearly three times that of New York.

President Xi Jinping said the city would be “a demonstration area for innovative development … [which] should prioritise ecological protection [and] improve people’s well-being”.

Roads were clogged in the days after the announcement on Saturday after property hunters headed for the new region to buy up homes they can later resell for huge profits.

Local media reports claimed property prices nearly doubled as a result.