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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 : 2010-11-26

British cheese leaves the French feeling blue

In today's international papers- Brazil asks itself how to deal with drug traffickers and gang violence, Haiti gets ready to go to the polls, and a British cheese leaves the French feeling blue.

Starting in Brazil- where as you were saying in the bulletin local authorities in Rio have sent hundreds of heavily armed police into the city’s favelas to confront the drug trafficking gangs who have made those areas their stronghold.


Brazilian newspaper O Globo compares Rio to two of the world’s other most violent cities- Medellin in Colombia and Ciudad Juarez on the US Mexico border.


The article points out they have a lot in common- high murder rates, soaring poverty, corruption, and all powerful drug trafficking gangs who recruit the young and turn swathes of the city into no go areas for the police.


The paper asks what Rio can learn from these examples- saying that Colombia has managed to reduce its drug trafficking problem quite significantly since the 1980s through tougher penalties for trafficking and an extradition deal with the US which means that at last 1500 Colombian drug offenders are now serving their sentences in the States.


Of course those aren’t the only reasons things changed on the ground in Colombia- but the paper says it’s a good lesson for Rio.


On the other hand they look to Mexico as an example of what not to do- as you know the government there has sent thousands of troops to the border city of Ciudad Juarez over the last four years to try and smash the drug trade- but the paper says all that’s done is turn a crime problem into an all out civil war- so Brazil should be careful before it sends more armed police into the favelas- as we’ve already seen there over the last few days it’s a high risk strategy.


Now the Guardian – reporting from Haiti- just two days before the stricken island goes to the polls on Sunday- the paper’s correspondent there says apathy is likely to be the real problem there with turnout likely to fall below 40%- meaning any new government would enter office with a credibility problem and very little mandate to rule.


Why- well the paper says many lost their identity documents in the earthquake and can’t prove who they are- so they can’t vote- others are afraid polling stations could spread cholera- and still others say the process is undemocratic because the party of popular ex president Jean Bertrand Aristide has been banned from standing.


Of course the new president will also be beholden to foreign donors for about 70% of their budget- leaving many in Haiti to ask if decision will really be made in Port-au-Prince, or if they’ll be made in Washignton.

Staying in the Guardian- British politics now- the paper’s front page says ‘ pressure to sack peer who thinks cuts will encourage poor to breed’- this story is creating quite a stir in all the English papers today- this is Howard Flight- a former Tory MP who was recently named a peer by prime minister David Cameron.


He’s caused a fuss after saying- I quote-  “the British government’s budget cuts discourage middle class people from breeding because it’s jolly expensive but for those on benefits there is every incentive.”


For the Guardian- and for thousands of other people across Britain- this is a classic throwback to the worst Tory excesses of the 1980s, the aristocratic millionaire who’s totally out of touch- the paper says Cameron must show his party has changed and for that reason Flight has got to go.


Staying in Britain with the Independent- conventional wisdom would have it that here in France we’re in the cheese capital of the world- but not according to judges at this year’s World Cheese Awards.


The British cheese that left the French feeling blue, says the headline- yes you heard that right, a blue cheese made in Cornwall has beaten Roquefort to win the coveted tag of Best Cheese in the World.


Not sure how French cheesemakers feel about that- but to add insult to injury the cheese judges say Britain now has 700 varieties of quality cheese to choose from –when the French only have 600.

By Elena CASAS



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