French press review 25 August 2012
There are three main issues attracting comments in Saturday’s national dailies: the Greek prime minister's visit to Berlin and Paris, the life ban slapped on American cycling icon Lance Armstrong for doping and the death of French television presenter Jean-Luc Delarue.
Le Figaro's headline reads “The Germans’ refusal to pay for the Greeks”, as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras embarked on a “please give us more time” shuttle across Europe. He is pleading for a two-year period of grace to implement the breathless austerity measures prescribed as the precondition of preventing their expulsion from the Europe.
According to Le Figaro, “while German Chancellor Angela Merkel is not against Athens staying in the eurozone, public opinion in her country objects to the granting of any new concessions”.
“Wealth tax, fiscal levies, income tax - what the government is preparing,” headlines Le Monde. The newspaper explains that Bercy, the finance ministry, is fine-tuning a package of fiscal reforms, the key measure being higher taxation of the highest incomes.
All the national dailies pay tribute to Jean-Luc Delarue, a popular television show presenter who died on Thursday at 48 after a long bout with cancer. Delarue described as the “enfant terrible of French television” by Le Figaro, hit prime-time screens in France at the tender age of 22, becoming a big star thanks to his popular show Ca se discute (That's debatable).
“Discussion over” headlines Libération, as it narrates "the fall from grace to grass” of the talented TV producer. He was “television’s true baby and a genius”, recalls Aujourd’hui en France/Le Parisien, adding that unfortunately he lived a life of excess, scandal and addiction that finally caused his tragic death.
There is a flurry of reactions in today’s French press following the life ban slapped on American cyclist Lance Armstrong by the US anti-doping agency after he gave up contesting accusations of using performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France, cycling's most prestigious race. The US anti-doping agency, Usada, claimed that the cancer survivor who became a hero to millions took part in a systematic doping conspiracy with his US Postal Service team.
“Lance Armstrong falls from grace, America turns its back on Comeback Kid,” comments Le Figaro, explaining that Armstrong’s decision not to appeal the verdict means he will be stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles.
“The lance is broken,” crows Libération arguing that “only disgrace was lacking" for the "dope cheat” who “thumbed his nose at anyone who dared stand in his way”. According to the paper, his fall from grace goes down in history as one of the greatest victories of public power over doping.
“End of an American dream,” comments Aujourd’hui en France/Le Parisien.
The national sports daily L’Equipe prints an enlarged photograph of the Texan hero on his bike looking behind, as if to say: “Let's see if you can catch me”. The caption: “Armstrong, the end.”