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IN THE PRESS

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 : 2011-01-06

Are gyms a "bigger capitalist con than casinos"?

INTERNATIONAL PAPERS: Riots in Tunisia and Algeria are still making headlines in North Africa; dead birds continue to drop from the sky in the US and now also in Sweden; gyms come under fire for being "a bigger capitalist con than casinos" in today's The Guardian and we finish with coverage in The Independent of the decision to take the "n-word" out of Huckleberry Finn.

 

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Reporters Without Borders have said that there’s a near total blockade on the region surrounding Sidi Bouzid preventing local and foreign journalists reporting on the funeral of protester Mohammed Bouazizi who died Tuesday. Bouazizi set himself alight on the 17th December in protest against the rising cost of living in the country. Since mid-December, there have been demonstrations and riots in towns across Tunisia about unemployment and the cost of living and yesterday’s funeral saw some 50,000 people join the cortege, reports Algerian paper El Watan. Some shouted, “His blood will not have been spilt for nothing.”
 
We also looked coverage in Le Parisien with a shocking photo of Bouazizi’s bandaged body taken on the 28th December when President Ben Ali visited him in hospital. Indeed much of the unrest is directed against Ben Ali’s closed political regime.
 
Meanwhile, there is also unrest in Algeria, as reported by Le Soir d’Algérie. The reasons for the unrest in the North Western town of Oran are similar: chiefly the increasing cost of living and corruption in the allocation of public housing.
 
The New York Daily News and Swedish paper Göteborgs-Posten report on the continuing deaths of birds and fish over the past number of days. After the mass death of birds and fish in several American states, another incident occurred yesterday in Kentucky where hundreds of dead birds were found on the streets of Murray. In Sweden meanwhile, some 60 dead birds were found with the national veterinary services saying it was not down to disease but to “external trauma”. The mystery continues although no link has been established to the mass fish and bird deaths in the UK, Sweden and the US.
 
The Guardian’s Zoe Williams meanwhile is convinced that gyms are “more of a capitalist con than casinos”, especially in January during which expensive gym memberships skyrocket. In the UK, a stunning 5.2 million people are members of a gym. We take a look at her arguments.
 
Finally, The Independent reports on the Mark Twain classic Huckleberry Finn. The “n-word” appears in the book 219 times but the latest edition is to replace the controversial word with “slave”. Critics say changing the original text is unnecessary especially seeing as the book is a progressive one with the hero befriending a black slave who he helps in his bid to win freedom. Mark Twain himself campaigned against racism during his lifetime. Publishers insist it is in a bid to have the book read more widely, in particular by school children. Huckleberry Finn remains the fourth most banned book in the US.

 

By James CREEDON

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