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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 : 2011-01-13

Grow a beard for Belgium

FRENCH PAPERS, Thurs, 13/1/2011: At the end of today’s French press review, check out the appeal by actor Benoit Poelvoorde who wants his compatriots to grow a beard for Belgium…until the country resolves its political crisis! Also, criticism of France’s response to the unrest in Tunisia and the Mediator drug scandal…

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Grow a beard for Belgium! Towards the end of today’s press review we look at Benoît Poelvoorde’s novel idea for putting pressure on his country’s politicians to resolve the ongoing political. Most of the focus in today’s French papers is on Tunisia however and the spectrum of opinions is very broad.


Communist paper l’Humanité says President Ben Ali “is killing” and is extremely critical of the complicity of France and the EU.


Left-leaning Libération carries an opinion piece by the editor of Algerian paper Le Matin, Mohammed Ben Chicou. He points out a double standard in France’s call for Laurent Gbagbo to resign in Ivory Coast while Paris remains largely silent on the repression seen in Tunisia and Algeria.


Right-leaning Le Figaro is much more moderate in its criticism. Its editorial says Tunisia has succeeded where some of its neighbours have failed with regards to investment in education, freeing up the economy… But in the midst of the economic crisis, “the foundations of the regime’s stability are crumbling”. Le Figaro says that Tunisia is a “victim of its own success”.


The paper does point out that the frustration of the people can’t be expressed normally because of the closed nature of the political system, but this is as far as Le Figaro goes in its criticism. It even carries an opinion piece by the clearly biased Tunisian Ambassador to UNESCO. Should Tunisia apologise for having invested in education, he asks. The riots in Tunisia have been spear-headed by unemployed graduates since mid-December.


The most critical editorial is on left-leaning news website Rue89. France’s Foreign Minister made a speech in Parliament yesterday where she offered “reinforcements” to Tunisia in controlling the riots.


“What word is most appropriate? Stupidity? Incompetence? Ignorance? How could our Foreign minister propose security cooperation while dozens have been killed?”


“For two decades, Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and part of the Left in France has closed its eyes on certain issues in Tunisia. Economic success and secularism are celebrated. But we refuse to see the barely concealed control of a clan on the economy and mafia-like practices at the highest levels…”


“The silence of the French government was worrying. Now the way in which that silence was broken makes us long for the time when Paris was saying nothing….”


Other articles in today’s French press review:


Libération: The controversy continues for France’s second largest pharmaceutical company Servier.


Le Figaro: Grow a beard for Belgium, says actor Benoît Poelvaarde




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