French press review 10 July 2012
Toulouse killer Mohamed Merah is back on the French front pages. It's a good new/bad news day for the economy. And can bosses, workers and government all be friends at the Paris "social summit"?
The young man who last March murdered three soldiers, and three children and an adult in Toulouse, before himself being shot dead by police, is again making headlines because recordings of his conversations with the security officers who surrounded his Toulouse appartment have now been made public.
A French TV station started the whole affair, by broadcasting extracts of the four hours of recordings last Sunday.
Since then, there has been outrage from the families of the victims, embarrassment for the police, a debate in journalistic circles about the wisdom of making this document public.
The French security services do come badly out of the whole thing, since it is clear from the conversations that Merah slipped through a net designed to catch would-be Islamic warriors on their return from the badlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
There's good news and bad news on the front page of business daily Les Echos. The good news is that the French government is currently borrowing short-term money at negative rates.
What that actually means is that those with too much cash on hand - investment groups, banks, insurance companies, hedge funds - are prepared to loan France their spare money for the next three or six months, even though they will actually lose a small amount in the process.
The losses are tiny, something like .005 per cent over three months, but the actual money handed over is regarded as being in safe hands. The fundamentals of the French economy are thus considered to be solid.
The bad news is that the rate of closure of small and medium French businesses has shot up sharply, with a further 72,500 jobs directly under threat.
The "social summit" continues here in Paris today, as unions, bosses and the government try to find common ground for a response to the crisis.
It does not appear to be going too well.
The government wants to see a fairer sharing of the available wealth; the bosses want to hold onto as much as possible so as to continue to attract the shareholders that keep them at the top of the pile; the workers want more buying power.
Bringing those conflicting interests into line may finally make the search for the Higgs Boson look like child's play.