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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 : 2010-02-18

The French press review or the French food review?!

Food and wine receive extensive coverage in this morning’s French papers. How can small bistros be kept open? Should fast food chains sell halal burgers? How did French wine exporters get away with selling fake pinot noir to the American market? These and other stories in today’s French press review… THURSDAY, 18th FEBRUARY 2010

The fast food chain Quick has decided to open some restaurants only serving halal food in certain areas where many customers are practicing Muslims. Le Parisien reports on the opposition of the far-right Front National party to this move. They justify their criticism by saying halal food is certified by an Islamic organization which would receive more money if fast food restaurants serve halal food only.
 
This bizarre argument is picked up by the Nouvelle République. It’s editorial says political parties have jumped on this issue saying it shows a rising “communautarisme” in France. French republican values don’t accept outward displays of belonging to an ethnic group. “Communautarisme” could be seen as the opposite of integration. Apparently, halal fast food restaurants are a demonstration of minorities not integrating, according to the Front National. Only in France…
 
Elsewhere there is coverage of a case of “wine fraud” in l’Indépendent. A court in Carcasonne has handed down six-month suspended sentences and fines of up to €180,000 to French wine exporters who pretended that chiraz and merlot wines were actually pinot noir, thus making higher profits on wines that were of a lesser quality. The wines were sold to the US market between 2006 and 2008.
 
Le Parisien leads with a campaign to save France’s local bistros. 165,000 small bistros have closed down in the last 50 years with only 35,000 remaining around the country.
 
Other stories in today’s French papers:
 
Libération: ‘Charolet’ goat’s cheese is the 46th cheese in France to get the “Appellation d’origine contrôlée” label
 
Libération: French Overseas Territory Minister Marie-Luce Penchard in hot water over comments that suggest she favours Gaudelope over other territories
 
L”Union: Editorial on Marie-Luce Penchard’s gaffe

By James CREEDON

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