French press review 6 November 2012
The French press takes some interesting turns today, with mansions, heart attacks and gay marriage topping the headlines.
“Thirty-nine million euros of bad luck.” On its back pages, Aujourd’hui en France features an incredible legal battle. In 2008, a Russian billionaire – if you remember the tall owner of an American basketball team and a Russian presidential candidate – made a down payment of 39 million euros on a gorgeous mansion in the south of France. It represented 10 percent of its value of 370 million euros.
The 2,700 square metre mansion was built in 1902 by Belgium’s King Leopold II. One of the previous owners of the house was Giovanni Agnelli.
But the acquisition did not go through: Mr Prokhorov backtracked on the deal. In the meantime the seller, a widow of a rich Lebanese businessman, donated the down payment to a range of charities.
After a lengthy legal battle, the French appeals court confirmed to the oligarch that he will not be able to get his down payment back.
Now, good news to some, bad news to others. In its health section, Le Figaro looks at the national statistics on heart attacks. It turns out that heart attacks and mortality rates among 35-54 year old women have gone up in the recent years.
The reasons for that, cited by the paper, are smoking, diabetes and obesity. But surprisingly the statistics are just the opposite for men. The number of heart attacks from smoking has diminished from 65 percent in 19 to 65 year-olds to 30 percent today.
“Marriage for all: why the church says no.” The day before the parliamentary debate on gay marriage and adoption, the French Catholic church is not laying down its arms.
The church claims that it is fighting the bill – a campaign promise of Hollande during the last elections – in the name of the “common good.”
In its editorial, however, the paper does admit that church members must reckon with the generational gap when it comes to public opinion. It says that young people and women are those in favour of gay marriage.