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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 : 2011-09-16

Python-esque?

Money dominates - from the lavish lifestyle of Muammar Gaddafi's fourth son, Hannibal, to a new rogue trader scandal and the financial woes of beautiful young things on the New York catwalk. That's the focus of this world press review, Friday 16th September 2011.

The Independent leads: “Conquering heroes hail new dawn for Libya – but have they jumped the gun?” The paper reports on the visit by British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy to Libya on Thursday. It says the leaders were “careful to avoid anything evoking comparison with President Bush’s Mission Accomplished rhetoric after the occupation of Iraq”. The British paper has been at the forefront of unearthing documents in Libya and has found some in Hannibal Gaddafi’s laptop. The headline there is: “Pythons, parties and offshore accounts”. The paper reports Muammar Gaddafi’s fourth son had a lavish lifestyle and points to one bank transfer a couple of years ago of $14 million while he was working for Libya’s national shipping company. In a degree of eccentricity akin to his father’s, Hannibal borrowed a python from a zoo for a while for photo sessions with himself and his wife. The excess may seem “python-esque” but it is wise not to forget that the couple, now in Algeria, were repeatedly accused in the past of abusing people in their employment.

Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell, meanwhile, depicts the triumphant Cameron-Sarkozy tandem dressed as Nelson and Napoleon waving the new Libyan flag, and with Cameron kicking the Palestinian flag to one side.

The other main world news is the move by central banks to prop up inter-bank lending by flooding the financial system with dollars. The Wall Street Journal Europe says they have ridden in on their Brinks trucks. It headlines: “Dollars to the European rescue”. The move comes after the ratings agency Moody’s downgraded two of the three biggest French banks on Wednesday. The paper says Europe’s banks have not done enough to clean up their act and until they do “the world’s lenders will treat them with well-deserved wariness”.

Still concerning vast amounts of money, Britain’s Daily Telegraph is leading: “I need a miracle: rogue trader Kweku Adoboli who lost UBS £1.3 billion”. It says the 31-year-old Ghanaian-born banker was described by friends as relaxed and happy. That all went wrong. He was arrested at his desk after posting an internet message saying 'I need a miracle'. Daily Telegraph cartoonist MATT chimes in with an image of a boss saying: “I have half a mind not to give that rogue trader a bonus”.

The Atlantic says an arrest has been made but the damage has been done. It  wonders how banks get into this position to begin with. And if UBS lacks the sophistication to stop a rogue trader, can it really expect its trading business to flourish?

And New York fashion week is winding up. Former model Ashley Mears writes in the International Herald Tribune that the young people gracing the catwalk are not flush with cash, far from it. The piece is headlined: “Poor models. Seriously”. Mears says many models don’t get employment benefit and have little control over work conditions in a winner-take-all business. When she was a model she was offered dresses in payment. Her dad told her: “That and a buck will get you a cup of coffee”.

By Nicholas RUSHWORTH

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