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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 : 2010-04-30

The race to avert catastrophe

It's the race to prevent an oil catastrophe in the US. An in the UK, it's the last leg of the race to becoming Prime Minister.

We start out with the INDEPENDENT. Making the front page here is the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The paper looks at whether this spill could be even worse than the EXXON leak in 1989…when 11 million gallons of oil leaked in to the sea.

 

So far, this on is already at 5000 barrels and could just catch up. Originally, authorities had estimated that about 42,000 gallons of oil were leaking into the Gulf of Mexico daily. But in fact, that number is closer to 210,000. 

At that rate, it would take 52 days to be the second worst ever oil spill, and the worst oil rig accident in US history.

 

There is also an editorial that says, this couldn’t have happened at a worse place or time. The oil spill hits the coast at the height of the breeding season and there are a lot of threatened species just off the Louisiana coast.

 

Staying with the spill, shrimp famers have begun filing lawsuits because they will loose a lot of money. And TampaBay.com reports that even hotel owners in Tampa, Florida are feeling the consequences.

 

But tourism operators in the area are blaming Europe more than the spill itself. They are saying that because European papers are “portraying it as an environmental story,” they will use clients. He says, tourists will just hear that “Florida beaches have been hit” and they won’t make the difference, because they don’t see how big Florida is.

 

So it’s all the Europeans’ fault, but either way so far Florida beaches remain safe. So go on holiday there, I don’t want any angry phone calls.

 

Staying with Florida and the oil spill, Democratic Senator Bill Nelson says he was introducing legislation from temporarily prohibiting the expansion of drilling along the coast.

 

The White House had planned to do exactly that on both coasts, East and West. But Nelson says, he would like to see a congressional inquiry to make sure government has taken all the necessary steps to make sure another disaster can be prevented.

 

Moving on, the front page of the GUARDIAN reads: “Brown fights for his life.” The current UK Prime Minister came in last in yesterday’s debate, all about the economy, which should have been his strong point.

 

But his recent gaffe of calling a voter a “bigot” after she asked him a question about immigration didn’t help his case.

 

So Labour is bringing its secret weapon: Tony Blair.

His itinerary was prepared before the incident but might now be looked over. Blair’s coat isn’t all white. His involvement in the Iraq war and huge personal earnings, have stirred up controversy. But he is supposed to appeal to voters concerned by tax and immigration issues.

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH looks at the same issue from a different angle: Conservative David Cameron, the winner of last night’s debate.

According to polls, 41 percent of people preferred him, compared to the 25 percent that supported Brown.

 

And the editorial here reads: “Tory leader saves his best for last.” It says that Cameron knew how to seize the opportunities and seemed confident. “For once,” the article says. So maybe that last debate can be considered Cameron’s secret weapon.

 

Belgium has banned the Burqa. Everyone in parliament voted in favor except for two representatives that decided not to vote at all. LE SOIR reports that Amnesty international calls the law “a dangerous precedent,” because it’s the first of its kind in Europe, but probably won’t be the last.

 

The WASHINGTON POST says, no issue has ever created as much political interest as “a woman wearing a veil.” According to the article here, Belgium is just the beginning. France is looking into voting a similar law before September.

And Human Rights Watch reports that Austria and Switzerland have said, such legislation would be also be a good idea for their countries.

 

Remember that in December, Swiss voters already outlawed the building of minarets. 

 

By Carla WESTERHEIDE

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