FRENCH PAPERS, Friday, 13/5/2011: Papers are concentrating on the plight of French journalists Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier who have now been held in captivity in Afghanistan for 500 days. One paper argues that Bin Laden’s death might be good news for them.
Aujourd’hui-en-France, like much of the French press, has put the photos the two French TV journalists on the front page. The headline is "Otages depuis 500 jours". They have been held captive by the Taliban in the Kapisa region of Afghanistan since late December 2009. There will be demonstrations of support for the two men today across France. The last proof they are alive dates back to last November in a video shown only to their families.
Libération argues the release of the two men could be more likely now that Osama Bin Laden is dead. It quotes French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet saying the al Qaeda leader’s demise could make Afghan militants more receptive in negotiations with authorities in Kabul. The two journalists' 500 days in captivity is the longest period of detention for journalists since the beginning of the last decade.
Are other quakes threatened? asks Aujourd’hui-en-France in its coverage of the tremor in southern Spain. It has a map of earthquake zones in the Mediterranean indicating they are not as rare as all that. It says there are 20 quakes a day in Europe above magnitude three.
One of the top stories for Le Monde is the ongoing Mediator drug scandal. The medication was manufactured to tackle diabetes. Le Monde says the company that made it, Servier, knew of its potential dangers as far back as 1995. Le Figaro also covers that story giving a link to a British subsidiary’s study on the Servier drug in the 1990s.
Back to Aujourd’hui-en-France, which reports John Galliano will be in court here in Paris on the 22nd of June on charges of making anti-semitic insults. It says that the former star designer had already been given a warning by Dior prior to the incident last December. A memo that month said the company was aware of “repeated incidents linked to Galliano’s alcoholism”.
And the latest masterpiece by Anish Kapoor. A giant red PVC monument will be on show in the Grand Palais till the 23rd of June. Fifteen tonnes of PVC have been blown up with helium for a “Wow” experience similar to his recent installation piece of cannon firing balls of red wax onto an art gallery wall.