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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 : 2011-07-29

Too soft on the Americans?

The US debt crisis deadline looms. One paper advises a Ronald Reagan-style approach to hammering out a compromise, while another wonders whether the credit ratings agencies are too soft on the Americans. That's the focus for this international press review, Friday 29th July 2011.

The US debt crisis is heading ever closer to an August 2nd deadline and the world is transfixed, including The China Daily. It has a cartoon showing snowballing American debt about to crush the planet. The USA Today’s International edition, meanwhile, has an editorial harking back to Ronald Reagan. It argues that if he was in charge, he would agree to tax increases and compromise with the Democrats. The paper argues present-day Republicans have strayed from what it says is the Reagan model of giving a little to gain a lot. The Wall Street Journal says: “Congress has made so many promises to so many Americans that there is no conceivable way those promises can be kept”. It believes a downgrade is looking increasingly possible, with a double AA being the “first step on the march to Greece”. And French paper Les Echos is asking whether the three credit ratings agencies are kinder to the Americans than to the Europeans. The paper says several European officials suspect Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch of being “very sensitive to criticism targeting them in the US and of turning a blind eye to such criticism here in Europe”.

The Norwegian author of “Sophie’s World” - Jostein Gaarder - has a piece in The International Herald Tribune, co-authored with a professor at Oslo University, entitled: “Europe’s Simmering Extremists”. The two writers say that it is tempting to view Anders Behring Breivik as “a case of pure evil”. However, they suggest, the massacre should be seen instead as part of the rise of racism and bigotry on the web. They say Breivik believed he was acting on behalf of a new far-right community in Europe, which has replaced anti-semitism with Islamophobia.

Britain’s Daily Express headlines on “African dictators we fund buying up Paris”. The paper says a report handed to Paris prosecutors by anti-corruption groups Transparency International and Sherpa details 39 properties owned by Gabon's President Ali Bongo, and 16 owned by Republic of Congo's President Denis Sassou-Nguesso. The paper’s editorial says African dictators are spending UK aid (“millions have gone to Gabon over the years”), and is critical of a British government decision to raise British aid contributions.

Finally, the Shanghai Daily has a photo of young women in bikinis on the Bund. A newly-completed pool is attracting swimmers and sunbathers for the summer. A way of forgetting any impending financial dip and taking one in the pool instead.

By Nicholas RUSHWORTH

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