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In the press

America's guns again

INTERNATIONAL PAPERS, Monday, 10th January 2011: The world’s press leads on events in Arizona in which a lone gunman targeted a meeting by Representative Gabrielle Giffords killing six people and seriously wounding the Democratic Congresswoman. Events in Niger, Tunisia and Algeria are also covered. As is the impending arrival of a baby Beckham.

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The International Herald Tribune headlines: “After rampage, a nation looks inward again”. One of the front page stories begins: “Violence is not endemic to America, gun violence is”. A story inside the paper - “Suspect followed an unusual trail” - profiles 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner who carried out the gun spree. It says he had become obsessed with the prophecy that the world will end in 2012 and believed he had powers of mind control.

The Arizona Daily Star quotes Country Sherriff Clarence Dupnik saying: “We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry”. Another local paper, The Arizona Republic, has a column by one of its writers Laurie Roberts who asks: «Was Saturday’s rampage really unimaginable?» Roberts points out that Arizona is only one of three states in the US that allows people who are 21 and older to carry a concealed weapon “without any training or a background check”.

The press is also looking at the kidnapping and execution of two French nationals in Niger. Suspicion centres on AQIM, Al Qaida in the Islamic Mahgreb. Mali’s “Le Republicain” newspaper, in an editorial by Adam Thiam, says that the two men killed - Antoine de Leocour and Vincent Delory - were the “Victimes de trop” (“Victims too many”). The paper says: “… humans are unpredictable … they can hit in a secure area of Niamey, the Niger capital, or in Arizona …” It says Antoine de Léocour had come to Niger for love, to marry his fiancée Rakia, but had been killed in hate.

There has been a wave of riots and demonstrations in several Tunisian cities over high unemployment. There is a lack of coverage about those events within the country. The Nawaat website is being used by expats here in France to try and follow the situation and it has a press release from the General Tunisian Workers Union saying that President Ben Ali’s government should address society’s real problems rather than seeing the riots solely as a security issue. The union calls on the government to allow freedom of expression.

There have also been demonstrations in Algeria against the government’s handling of the economy there. Le Soir d’Algérie headlines: « Bouteflika devrait garder le silence ». It says President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is likely to remain silent about Algeria’s wave of violence stating “that could not be possible in any other country”. The paper says that silence is fuelling rumours – “is he in Switzerland, is he ill?” The paper quotes government sources as saying the Algerian President is, however, following the situation from hour to hour.

To lighter matters, “Bend it like Beckham” they say. Is the former England captain David Beckham planning a football team of his own? The Daily Mail in the UK reports that he will be a father again. His wife Victoria is expecting. The headline reads: “Will Posh get a girl at last?” The couple already have three boys - Brooklyn, Cruz and Romeo.

And a tennis shocker - Roland Garros at Versailles? Could the French Open be held in the grounds of the Chateau of Versailles outside Paris instead of at the Stade Roland Garros in the nearby Paris suburbs. The French paper Le Figaro reports that the French Football Federation wants better facilities and Versailles – known for Louis the 14th’s château – has put in a bid. It’s proposing a site covering 35 hectares which would make it the biggest for any grand slam tournament. The French Tennis Federation will decide between four projects in the coming weeks. One of the projects includes improving the existing site.

CORRECTION: please note that the French Open venue is being decided next month for the 2016 tournament not, as stated in the video, for this year.

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