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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 : 2011-08-19

Hazare hits "knock out" punch

Papers are focusing on falling global stock markets and a surging gold price. And also asking: what to do about Syria? The Indian press, meanwhile, covers Anna Hazare's anti-corruption campaign. One Indian paper argues he has delivered a "knock out" blow to the government. That's the menu for today's look at the international papers, Friday 19th August 2011.

Global stock markets are down in the dumps again. The Wall Street Journal Europe looks at a turbulent month saying: “investors are running for cover amid global gloom”. Its front page graphs shows the main world indices are down, except for gold. The price per troy ounce is surging. The Wall Street Journal, in its inside pages, reports on a return of 'gold fever' to the Californian ghost town of Bodie. One company, Cougar Gold, says  that there could still be several million ounces in what was a gold mining centre in the 1880s. The only hitch is that it is protected by the federal government. But  a bill pending in Congress calls for certain protected areas  to be opened up. This has sparked debate about the possible impact of a return of gold-diggers.

The Irish Times reports that the ailing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will nationalise Venezuela’s gold industry because of the rising gold price. It says that Venezuela’s gold stocks will be pulled out of western countries and reserves shifted to political allies, including China, Russia and Brazil.

Meanwhile, diplomatic pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has intensified. The United States and the European Union are united in their calls for him to step down. The Guardian’s editorial, “Assad at bay”, says that “the new American and European position may seem strong, but in fact the international community has precious few instruments at its disposal … there is no possibility of military intervention and Syria is comparatively immune to economic sanctions.”

The Gulf News in the United Arab Emirates contains a comment piece entitled: “Window to save Syria is closing”. It is written by Marwan Al Kabalan, a lecturer in international relations at Damascus University. He says that Assad’s heavy-handed security approach, disinformation and minor concessions amount to “a tragic response” to Syria’s protests. He calls for a new Constitution and process of national reconciliation but says that is not on the cards.

And in India, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare has left jail in New Delhi. The Times of India claims that the Indian government shot itself in the foot by arresting him in the first place. It publishes a cartoon showing Hazare gaining an advantage on them with his detention, and then scoring several points more by refusing to be released from jail and has now scored a knock out blow. There's a picture of top Indian government officials spread on a boxing ring floor.

By Nicholas RUSHWORTH

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