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Iraq: Kurdish forces carry out risky demining operations in Mosul

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An overview of the stories making the French and international newspaper headlines. From Monday to Friday live at 7.20 am and 9.20 am Paris time.



Latest update : 2009-11-24

Doubts in British press over Iraq inquiry

A public inquiry into the Iraq war opens today in the UK. Several British papers express concern over the choice of the chairman, Sir John Chilcot. Is he a ‘light touch’? Doubts also hang over the scope of the inquiry, seen by many as too broad.

This morning’s The Guardian asks five key questions as the Iraq inquiry opens. Most notable amongst them is whether the Blair Government conjured up reasons to invade Iraq such as Saddam Hussein having refused to give up weapons of mass destruction.

The paper’s legal affairs correspondent, Afua Hirsch, says the chairman of the committee, Sir John Chilcot has been criticized for being a ‘light touch’ in previous public investigations such as the Hutton Inquiry. His close relationship with many military and government figures is a cause for concern, some say. Another weakness of the investigating committee is that none of its five members is a senior legal or judicial figure. Furthermore, the scope of the inquiry is perceived as too broad by detractors. Will the most important questions - such as whether it was legal to go to war - be properly addressed?

The Independent leads with a shocking photograph given to the paper. It depicts four Iraqi civilians captured in southern Iraq being mistreated by British soldiers “in breach of international law and the Geneva Conventions”.

It is alleged that hours after the picture was taken, the four men were transferred to a UK run detention camp where they were badly beaten and where 20 other civilians were murdered by British solders. The incident is to be investigated at a public inquiry to be announced tomorrow.

Other stories covered in today’s international papers:

Il Giornale

This Berlusconi-run paper leads with a close-up the Italian edition of Rolling Stone. The magazine has named Berlusconi its rock star of the year because of his alleged involvement in a series of sex scandals.


The left-leaning Italian daily interviews political scientist and Italy observer, Yascha Mounk who says the Italian government could be accurately described as a “pimpocracy”.

“Paolo Guzzanti (a Senator, formerly of Berlusconi's party) recently labelled Italy as a 'slutocracy' by invoking the beautiful former TV starlets who have now become ministers. In my opinion, it would be better to speak of a "pimpocracy." A pimp is somebody who is interested only in themselves and who uses his power for his own purposes. It is clear that if in a team everybody is just looking out for themselves, it is difficult to co-operate. This is the situation of the government.”

The Daily Telegraph

Berlusconi is struggling to contain open warfare in his coalition, says The Daily Telegraph.

Tension has been rising for months between Gianfranco Fini – the leader of the conservative faction in Berlusconi’s government - and the anti-immigration Northern League.

Fini has caused tension by accusing Berlusconi of behaving like “an absolute monarch”. Analysts told the paper he’s unlikely to mount a challenge in the short term but probably harbours ambitions to succeed Il Cavaliere.

The Independent

Doctors have found that getting angry with your boss may be good for your heart. Studies conducted at the University of Stolkholm reveal that those who are treated unfairly at work and suffer in silence are twice as likely to have a heart attack.





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