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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 : 2010-05-17

Did Paris make a deal to get Clotilde back home?

In today's French papers: Clotilde Reiss is finally free, but did the Elysee make a deal with Tehran? And France Soir looks at French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde from a who new angle.

Good news for Clotilde Reiss. She’s finally back in France. It’s all over the front pages here in France…like here on the FIGARO. She has been held in Iran, first in prison, then under house arrest at the French embassy since July.

There are a lot of rumours as to how her freedom was negotiated and some suggest that Paris and Tehran made a deal, and swapped prisoners.

Not true says the French press…but they see how people can think that. The Article is called: “The Iranian trap.”

In the end, Clotilde didn’t really do anything so why arrest her? The article suggests that suggesting such a deal was exactly what Iran was going for.

LIBERATION is also headlining on the young French academic. And they give us a little background on these possible swaps. There is Majid KAKAVAND, held in France for 13 months but allowed to go back to Iran in May (he had been accused by the USA, but France did not want to extradite him). And then there’s Ali VAKILI RAD, who killed a former Iranian PM living in France. And suspense: Paris will decide tomorrow whether or not to let him out on parole.

But the Liberation agrees with the Figaro: there was no deal! Saying, if there were, France cultural minister wouldn’t have greeted an Iranian filmmaker (under surveillance by his government) at Cannes.

The only paper that is more critical is LA REPUBLIQUE DU CENTRE. They are saying Paris had to give something in exchange…

They even refuse to say that Clotilde was “freed,” because you can’t talk about freeing someone if you give something in return, that’s called bargaining.

 

Elections here in France are not far away…just two years which is nothing in political speak.

So the parties are already trying to get the upper hand. If you remember, President Sarkozy’s UMP party took a beating in the local elections, loosing big time to the socialists. So that doesn’t happen the party is now after the middle class. Not an easy task, Sarkozy is not a very popular guy with the middle class. While at the last election in 2007, 49 percent actually supported him. A percentage he wants back. And the FIGARO says, its the middle class that's going to make or break this elelction.

In AUJOURD’HUI EN FRANCE, or LE PARISIEN as it is known here in the capital: Laurent Blanc: it was written. He will replace Raymond Domenech as coach of the national football team. Something the paper speculated on a while back and that has now been confirmed. Blanc will be coach till at least the Euro in 2012.

If you want a bit of background on the man, take a look at page 17 in the LIBERATION. Laurent Blanc is 44 and has been a coach since 2007. before that, he played himself. And he has a lot of trophies to show for: world champion; captain of the national team, the list goes on.

 

Something totally different now, FRANCE SOIR dedicated its front page to French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde. It says here: She says it all! In the article she talks about the Euro, the GDP, unemployment and taxes. Nothing groundbreaking except for their photo edits. Here you see Lagarde taking a dive, and a photo with her husband, a man that normally stays in the shadows. So much in fact, I am willing to bet many didn’t even know she was married.

 

By Carla WESTERHEIDE

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