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IN THE PAPERS

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 : 2010-03-12

Did the CIA poison a French village with LSD in 1951?

This morning’s papers have widespread coverage of the French regional elections which take place this weekend. We also take a a look at a bizarre claim in a new book – did the CIA conduct covertly test the effects of LSD on a southern French village in 1951? FRIDAY, 12th MARCH, 2010

Pont-Saint-Esprit is a village in the south of France best known for a bizarre case of poisoning that occurred in 1951. Le Parisien this morning speaks about a new theory that may explain what happened in Pont-Saint-Esprit.
 
Up to recently, it was understood that a strain of poisonous mushroom contaminated flour in the village and thus poisoned hundreds of people. Five died from the poisoning and scores experienced bizarre halluciations. Magazines and newspapers at the time spoke of “the cursed bread” that drove the village crazy.
 
However, a book that has just been published in the US puts forward a more sinister and intriguing theory. “A terrible mistake” by Hank Albarelli suggests that the CIA tested the use of LSD as war weapon on the population of Pont-Saint-Esprit. If true, this bizarre tale has just taken an even more ghastly turn.
 
Other articles in today’s French papers:
 
Le Figaro: Nicolas Sarkozy says his role is to appease in order to carry out reforms
 
France Soir: Sarkozy puts a pause on reforms
 
Libération: Sarkozy “calms down” 
 
Le Parisien: As many as 50% of people won’t vote, says poll
 
Le Monde: Editorial criticizes Gérard Longuet, leader of the UMP Party in the Senate, for recent “xenophobic” remarks
 

By James CREEDON

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