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€100,000 for a bottle of 19th century bubbly!

FRENCH PAPERS, Tuesday, 14th December 2010: Anyone fancy some 19th century champagne at €100,000 per bottle? A case of centuries old champagne was found at the bottom of the Baltic Sea this summer and now some of those bottles are set to be sold for record amounts. Also, Brice Hortefeux is called into line by François Fillon and front page photos of a hostage-taking in a French nursey school that ended without any injuries.

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France Soir leads this morning with the dramatic events at a nursery school in Besançon in the east of France yesterday. A troubled teenager entered the school, taking those inside hostage. The incident was resolved by a special unit of the national police.
 
Le Figaro reports on fining of a woman in April of this year for driving her while wearing the niqab. A court in the western French city of Nantes has now overturned this decision. The court determined that the veil does not impede the vision of the driver – the initial reason for the fine being handed out – seeing as “ones head turns along with the niqab”!
 
Le Figaro covers another story on the Islamic veil this morning –a woman who wore the Islamic veil was fired from a crèche in the Paris suburbs. The woman in question challenged the decision in the courts however the crèche’s decision to let the woman go was upheld. The court said the crèche had a legitimate choice to impose secular dress on its employees.
 
Libération leads with the intervention of Prime Minister François Fillon in the so-called “Bobigny police affair”.  “Hortefeux’s blunder,” reads the front page headline. The Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux had spoken out in favour of seven police officers who had been convicted by a court in the Paris suburbs for falsifying evidence in the case of car crash involving a policeman. The evidence was falsified so as to clear the policeman of any responsibility for the crash.
 
In the presence of Brice Hortefeux who stood silently by his side, Fillon told the media, “Seven police officers were convicted for unjustifiable facts. The honour of the police requires exemplary behaviour.”
 
Libération’s editorial supports François Fillon’s admonishment of his Interior Minister, saying, “If an error of this nature (falsification of police reports) is not severely punished, mistrust of the police force becomes a general problem.”
 
Wikleaks revelations continue to dominate Le Monde’s news output. The French paper of record is one of five media outfits internationally that has been given privileged access to US diplomatic cables. Today, Egypt is the focus of scrutiny. Diplomatic cables show that the Egyptian Army is very much opposed to any form of “dynasty” emerging in the country.
 
Also in Le Monde, political scientist Aurélien Colson writes a feature on “diplomatic secrecy” and how Wikileaks is rewriting the rules of the game.  We look at this in more detail in today’s international press review.
 
We finish with an article in Le Parisien on the sale of dozens of bottles of Champagne dating back to the early part of the 19th century. The champagne was found by divers at the bottom of the Baltic Sea earlier this year.
 
Miraculously, much of the champagne has been perfectly preserved. Today one of the bottles is to be opened and tasted in great pomp in the city of Reims. The wine taster selected feels all his Christmases have come at once.
 
The paper also spoke to a champagne historian by the name of Fabienne who sneakily got to taste several of the bottles of vintage bubbly when they were being recorked recently. “Many of them were of an exceptional quality,” she commented. “I never experienced such a fireworks of aromas: flowers, lemons, sometimes mandarins…And most of all a lingering taste in your mouth that was just incredible.”
 
Some of the bottles will sell for up to €100,000 with the Finnish islands off which they were found reaping the benefits.

 

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