French Press Review 31 August 2010
A day before the month of September properly begins....the papers are easing back into their hard news ways with part phony part depressing stories.
The front pages look particularly glum with Communist L'Humanité’s headline on the historic job cuts in the public service, Economic paper Les Echoes is concerned about the government's increasing taxes on life insurance. Apparently they’re being hiked up so as to reduce social debt. The government hopes this will generate 3.2 billion euros per year.
Leftist paper Libération is still on the case of the French government and the mass deportation of Romani people which has been condemned by Human Rights associations, the UN and the Pope. Some normally vocal political personalities have remained rather quiet over the matter and Libé is out to find out why…
Foreign Affairs minister, Bernard Kouchner, who one would imagine to be quite outspoken on the matter is apparently thinking of quitting the Quai d'Orsay, the French foreign office, although not the government.
Another ‘named and shamed’ is Eric Besson, the minister of Immigration and the man behind France's non-debate on national identity. According to a close source, he's simply not been putting on a show for the media. Besson is also rumoured to be tired and looking for a way out of the government and his future wife is said to be eager he quit politics.
There's also Fadela Amara, the former president of the association “Ni Pute, Ni Soumise”, “Neither slut not submissive" a vocal woman's rights organisation. Libé says she's not even considered resigning...and that although she was touched by the accounts of Romani women and children, she believes the solution must be found on a European level.
"The place" to be if you are a gangster from the former USSR is the French Côte d'Azur, that's according to government friendly Le Figaro. Last week two Georgian's were arrested in Nice. They were wanted in Spain for having laundered money and for having planned the assassination of a Georgian thug. The number of mafia groups originating from Caucasia in the area is said to be on the rise. A police officer is even reported to have been randomly beaten up last week. Something rather ‘un’usual for the normally discreet groups who dress well and take public transport so as to avoid identity checks Le Figaro deplores the fact they are dangerous both through their violence and their economic power.
Staying in the criminal world, Italian gangster Antonio Ferrera who famously managed to escape Paris’s Fresnes Prison in 2003 is now back on trial. The trial will last until 29 October and he’ll be trying to get some of the charges dropped. Libération and the capital’s daily Le Parisien look back on the Prison escape and the short man nicknamed, le “Petit” or “La pioche” or “Pickaxe”.
Meanwhile in Libé, things are still a little bit potty... Yesterday it looked into high tech Japanese toilets or "Water Clevers" that can analyse your “leftovers" thus enabling a full health check.... Today it's the auction of deceased Beatles star, John Lennon's toilet seat which was sold in Liverpool for under 1200 Euros. The porcelain ball was finely decorated with willow pattern and Lennon used it between 1969 and 1972.
Bring on September!