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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 : 2011-01-03

Midnight massacre

Two editorial writers in the Arab press are critical of Egypt’s government following the New Year’s Day attack on Coptic Christians in Alexandria in Egypt in which 21 people were killed. That's the focus of the International Press Review for Monday, 3rd January 2011:

Several of the world’s papers, including The Guardian in the UK, lead on the New Year’s Day bomb explosion outside a Coptic Christian church in Alexandria in northern Egypt. The paper calls it the “midnight massacre” and shows a picture of a blood-stained image of Christ at the al-Qiddissine Church.

Tariq Alhomayed, editor-in-chief of the Saudi paper Asharq Al-Awsat, says in an editorial that “it is not enough for Egyptian government officials to say the attack was a foreign assault”. He says “Egyptians need to look at reality in the face and see they have made a fatal mistake in allowing extremism to infiltrate Egyptian society”. He argues that a number of Egyptian terrorists are living in various countries worldwide and experience shows that terrorists “always return to their country”.

Arab Nationalist militant Abdel al-Bari Atwan, editor in chief of Al-Quds Al-Arabi, says that Egypt’s leadership “is forgetting a little quickly that Islamic extremism existed in Egypt long before the emergence of al-Qaida". The editorial writer points out that it grew into an international organisation thanks to certain Egyptian militants such as Ayman al-Zawahri, Abu Fahs al Masri and others.

To Spain, where new anti-smoking rules came into force on Sunday. Restaurants, nightclubs, casinos, airports and even some outdoor spaces are now smoke free. The Spanish Paper El Mundo says Spain’s smokers are resigned to the changes. One says: “Now I have to drink the coffee faster and go outside to smoke.” The paper quotes the head of the Cantabria region, Miguel Angel Revilla, known for his love of cigars, as saying: “I say it is worse to steal. Smokers are regarded almost as if they are criminals”. It quotes him saying he’s not going to quit.

El Pais has a piece by smoker Javier Sampedro called: “Un cambio para siempre” (“A change forever”). He says the main change for him so far is in the tapas bar where cigarette butts are no longer being thrown to the floor with the shrimp heads, mussel shells, chicken bones and used napkins.

Lots of the papers are looking at the upcoming new year and also the last. The International Herald Tribune has a piece by Ben Zimmer called the “Word of the Year?” He is off to the annual meeting of the American Dialect Society which will choose the Word for 2010. His choice is “junk”. From Greece’s junk status to BP’s underwater junk shot using rope and golf balls to try and stop the Gulf of Mexico oil leak, as well as junk food and junk DNA.

And to end, more junk. The UK’s Daily Mail reports on the piles of rubbish in streets after the Christmas-New Year festivities. Christmas may have been and gone but have the bin men have skipped homes in certain parts of the country. The paper shows street scenes in Birmingham and Exeter. The paper says hundreds of thousands of people are affected by the rubbish pile-up across the UK.
 

By Nicholas RUSHWORTH

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