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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 : 2011-09-02

The spoils of war

The world’s press looks at the diplomatic jostling going on concerning Libya now that Gaddafi is no longer in charge. This goes from vying for contracts to taking the higher ground about ridding the planet of a tyrant. The Paris conference on Libya is the focus for the world press review this Friday, 2nd September 2011.

The Independent in the UK asks its readers to “Spot the Difference”. It places a photo of President Nicolas Sarkozy greeting Muammar Gaddafi at the Elysee Palace in 2007 alongside another one of him greeting the two leaders of Libya’s National Transitional Council on Thursday.

The Guardian’s Paris correspondent Angelique Chrisafis has a piece entitled  “Sarkozy the Libyan seizes the day”. Chrisafis argues Libya is President Nicolas Sarkozy’s date with history. She says: “By taking a leading role, the deeply unpopular leader hopes with one swoop to save the badly tarnished image of French policy in the Arab world, prove that France matters on the global stage and save his re-election battle for 2012”.

The China Daily has an editorial headlined “Libyan people first”. It says: “even while the dust has yet to settle, the haste with which NATO countries are scrambling to grab a share of the dividends of war has caused many to question the true intentions of military intervention”. The paper’s editorial argues Libyans need stability, “not foreign companies fighting over lucrative contracts”. This editorial has to be read in light of China’s own interests - Libya provided 3% of China’s oil last year. Gaddafi’s demise threatens Chinese investments in the country.

And Muammar Gaddafi features in a cartoon in The Australian (by Peter Brookes of The Times) which shows Gaddafi hiding under a cloak with Saif his son. They are disguised as a camel, and as they move along bank notes drop to the floor. Gaddafi tells Saif to “Shut up and keep walking”.

While the Paris meeting of representatives of 60 countries focused on Libya, there were also discussions on the sidelines on Syria. The International Herald Tribune has a cartoon of a statue of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad hanging precariously in mid-air. The pedestal is shown as a pile of rubble. Is he about to fall? The cartoon also includes the words: “In solidarity with Ali Farzat”. He is the Syrian cartoonist who was dragged from his car and beaten up last week. His hands are broken and he now cannot do his work.

The same paper, in its editorial, says the world is fed up with Assad but the Syrian leader still has “powerful enablers”. It condemns Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa for blocking a UN Security Council resolution that could impose broad international sanctions on Damascus and concludes that the complicity of those countries is "shameful”.

A cartoon in USA Today echoes the concerns about Syria with a picture of Assad beating Ali Farzat’s hands into a pulp as the cartoonist lies on the ground. Assad turns and stares saying: “Stop drawing those editorial cartoons that make me look like a foolish brutal tyrant”.

Finally, one paper is looking at ageing. The Wall Street Journal Europe asks what it would be like to live to a century or more. Experiments on worms, flies and monkeys aim to slow ageing. The paper says scientists are on the brink of radically expanding the span of a healthy life but it has its doubts: “won’t a society of centenarians just be miserable, tired and cranky?”

By Nicholas RUSHWORTH

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