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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 : 2010-12-21

A "Salty" Winter

FRENCH PAPERS: Monday, 20th December 2010. The snow grabs headlines, as does “DSK” - that’s IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn - who may, just may, run for President in 2012.

The main tabloid France Soir looks at the continued snowy weather affecting major parts of northern Europe. It’s headlining “a bitter winter” - “un hiver salé” - which also means “salty winter”. Almost one million tonnes of salt are used on French roads most years and that could rise this winter. A tonne costs eighty euros – so the bill is “salé”, the paper says. The French word "salé" also means “expensive”.

L’Humanité, the far-left paper, also takes an economic angle. It reckons France is on a slippery slope to privatization of road network maintenance. It accuses the government of expecting the road network to deliver more even though there have been budget cuts. It reckons that bosses in private companies are rubbing their hands as they eye road maintenance contracts.

Most papers cover the crisis in Ivory Coast in-depth. The left-wing paper Libération has an interview with Charles Blé Goudé, the leader of the pro-Gbagbo Young Patriots. The headline quotes him saying: « Sarkozy can’t give any orders to Ivory Coast ». Pro-Gbagbo supporters are angry at what they consider French interference in Ivory Coast’s domestic politics. The disputed presidential race in the country has resulted in two presidents - Laurent Gbagbo and Alaasane Ouattara - and there has been violence.

The right-wing paper Le Figaro, in its editorial, says that situation cannot last. Editorial writer Yves Thréard argues Ivory Coast will either have a civil war or the defeated president, meaning Gbagbo, will have to give way. Thréard says Laurent Gbagbo’s wife Simone is determined to hold on to power. He compares the Gbagbos to the Ceausescu couple - Nicolae and Elena - in Romania at the end of their rule.

La Croix, the Catholic Daily, is also looking at the Ivory Coast crisis with the headline “Abidjan, a capital in crisis”. The paper says Ivorians are gripped with fear.

Back to France Soir which has a report that Dominique Strauss Kahn, the Managing Director of the IMF, could be a candidate for the 2012 presidential race for the opposition Socialists. It asks whether he will quit his job in June to return to the centre stage of French politics. It quotes a source close to “DSK” saying that there is a 70 per cent chance he will declare his intention to run.

And the left-wing daily Libération is looking at social housing here in France. It’s reviewing ten years since a law obliged councils to have a certain amount of social housing (council housing in the UK)  in their areas.

The law requires a 20 per cent quota for such housing in districts with a population of more than 3,500 people (or 1,500 for districts in the Paris region). The paper says that quota is not being respected. Libération argues that’s scandalous in light of the current housing crisis. The paper says France needs hundreds of thousands of new homes.

By Nicholas RUSHWORTH

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