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French press review 7 April 2010

Idle gossip or something more sinister? Wednesday's French papers investigate the claim that a political rival is behind rumours suggesting trouble in paradise for France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and his model-slash-singer wife, Carla Bruni.



Left-wing Libération has two caricatures on its front page - of President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Minister for Justice Rachida Dati - with the headline "The Elysée stirs up the rumour mill". This is what was originally a non-story that is beginning to become a story.

Originally, Libération recounts, rumours of problems in the Sarkozy-Bruni household started as a joke with internet Twitter users. The foreign media got quite excited about the possibilities of affairs within the Elysée but the French media generally ignored the allegations - until the French paper Journal du Dimanche reported on them, and other French media started reporting that the Journal du Dimanche had reported on them.

But just as the whole thing seemed to be finished with, the lawyer at the Elysée said yesterday that the President and his wife were victims of "machinations" and the president's PR man has spoken of an "organised plot" to attack the Sarkozy couple.

But the origin of Libération's front page, the paper explains, is in the Canard Enchainé paper which has alleged that former minister for Justice Rachida Dati is somehow involved in the plot against those that the Canard calls "Carlita and Chouchou". And the Journal du Dimanche has joined in, saying that an investigation by French intelligence accuses Dati of involvement.

The paper also looks at online gambling, which was approved by parliament yesterday, and a big meeting today with Education Minister Luc Chatel all about safety in schools - this after a student was murdered in a French school in January.

Centrist daily Le Monde gives its editorial over to the plight of France's undocumented workers. Since October last year, a strike by undocumented workers has been going on - which concerns over 6,000 workers in over 2,000 companies. The paper's editorial says the majority of France's 400,000 undocumented workers have a job. It says the government's immigration policy is "sordid".  Workers are supposed to apply for papers on a "case by case" basis, but the paper says they're not applying because they're afraid of being thrown out of the country - and the companies are also afraid of giving their workers employment certificates because they're afraid of being prosecuted. The editorial says the government's policy is "incoherent" and that it needs to deal with this problem properly.

France's sports daily L'équipe leads with a look to tonight's Champions League game between Lyon and Bordeaux, and a reference to last night's defeat of Arsenal by Barcelona entitled "Messi, Messi, Messi, Messi".

The Paris tabloid Le Parisien gives its front page over to a strike at France's rail company while Catholic daily La Croix is concerned with new rules around judicial detention in France .

Business daily Les Echos declares that the Paris stock exchange is at its highest point since October 2008, and it tells us that France's fortune tax is "driving" people out of the country as 821 people left in 2008, which is an increase from 719 the previous year. The fortune tax applies to people making close to 800,000 euros but the paper also says that some of these very rich people are also coming back

Communist daily L'humanité leads with a 75-per-cent cut in funding for a children's bookfair in the Seine-Saint Denis outside of Paris .

And right-wing Le Figaro carries a story on disagreement within the ruling UMP party concerning the removal of advertising from French public television. Despite President Sarkozy's plan to remove all advertising after 2011, the UMP's Jean-François Copé is planning a bill in parliament that will keep advertising on French screens up to eight in the evening.


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