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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 : 2011-12-29

Syria: 'Bogus witnesses'?

Doubts are being raised about the credibility of the Arab League mission in Syria. We look at coverage of papers in the US, Lebanon and Syria itself. Also, is Iraq on the brink of civil war? And will the New Year - the Chinese one - be auspicious for all? That's the focus for this look at the world's press, Thursday 29th December, 2011.

The Washington Post headlines: “The Arab League needs to tell the truth about Syria”. It says the hopes of Syrians depend on the mission and that is “a very thin reed”.

The Lebanese paper L’Orient Le Jour is asking if the observers are “bogus witnesses”. It also has a photo from a video posted on You Tube reportedly showing defecting soldiers firing on Syrian troops near Deraa.

Al Thawra, a Syrian government newspaper, condemns the negative French and American reaction to the mission’s comment that the situation in Homs is "reassuring".

USA Today International has a cartoon on the political meltdown in Iraq. It shows an American motorist phoning “Uncle Sam’s Motors” where he’s just bought a car. He says: “That’s right … (it broke down) ... as soon as I left the showroom”. Meanwhile, the Khaleej Times in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates publishes a Newsweek piece headlined “Iraq brittle and on the brink”.

The Guardian in the UK wonders whether the funeral ceremony for late dictator Kim Jong-il was, in fact, broadcast live. It says the meticulous choreography was akin to Hollywood.

And The China Daily looks at the New Year, not January 1st but 23rd when the Year of the Rabbit ends and the Year of the Dragon begins. The paper says 2012 will be ‘auspicious’.

By Nicholas RUSHWORTH

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