It’s almost one year since the war in Georgia. Libération publishes a series of photos that encapsulate what the war represented for the inhabitants of South Ossetia. One photo shows South Ossetians seeking refuge in a bunker in Igoeti some 40 km outside of Tbilisi. Another shows a bombed out building on the outskirts of Tskhinvali. There’s also a photo Russian soldiers in Gori, one of the Georgian towns seized during the war and later returned to Georgia.I
Three years later calm has come back to Lebanon but the tension is still there on the Israeli border. Le Monde looks back over the conflict, noting that the NGO, Policy Watch, released a report at the end of 2008 saying a new conflict between Hezbollah and Israel was ‘inevitable’. There is a tense stand off along the Lebanon’s southern border between the UNIFIL forces (the UN Interim Force in Lebanon) and Israeli troops who are constantly seeking to conduct searches on Hezbollah.
Libération leads again today with the BNP bonus revelations. The French bank is preparing to hand out around 1 billion euros in bonuses to its traders. Inside, there is an interview with Douglas Elliot an American consultant at the generally conservative think tank, the Brookings Institution, who defends bonuses. “You have to differentiate between good and bad bankers,” he says. Those being paid bonuses are simply being recognised for having earned a lot of money for their company. If the efforts of these bankers and traders aren’t recompensed, they will just move to another bank or hedge fund, he tells the paper.
On the same subject, the online news website Mediapart focuses on the hypocrisy of bank bosses who claimed last August that things would change in the industry. The article quotes New York prosecutor Andrew Cuomo’s criticism of Wall Street which could just as well apply to French banks, “When they’re doing well, employees are very well paid. When things are mediocre, employees are very well paid. When they’re on the brink of bankruptcy and being bailed out by taxpayers, employees are very well paid.”
Yesterday at Paris Orly Airport, the engine of a Spanish lowcost airline Vueling caught fire, adding to already growing fears about the safety of air travel. The headline of regional paper La Dépêche du Midi reads, “Should we be afraid of planes?” Le Parisien interviews several passengers on the affected flight. There was a total panic as the 169 passengers tried to get off the plane. Seven passengers wre so upset that they decided not to take the later flight that was arranged for them.