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French press review 12 July 2011

You can have your bad news in two basic flavours this morning . . . either doom and gloom on the financial horizon, as Eurozone ministers, once again, fail to figure out a way of saving Greece and the euro from bankruptcy. Or you can choose the war in Libya, no closer to a resolution, despite four months of western military intervention.

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Catholic La Croix gives pride of place to problems among French prison warders, increasingly depressed, frustrated and suicidal.

And the African drought makes the front page of Le Monde . . . the worst rainfall deficit for sixty years, ten million people affected.

There are drought refugees fleeing to Somalia (not the most stable of places at the best of times), or to Kenya where the local pastoralists are already having trouble feeding their own herds.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

The only glimmer of good news is on the front page of popular Le Parisien, where the honours go to the boy magician, Harry Potter, no longer a boy, but a very wealthy young adult thanks to the eight films in the series, the last of which opens here in France this very evening.

The statistics would make you believe in magic: 450 million books sold, one million dollars every year in product sales, nearly five billion euros taken at the box office worldwide for the first seven films.

Maybe the Harry Potter marketing people should be asked to take charge of the European economy. The old euro certainly needs a touch of magic.

Le Figaro's main headline says "Debt crisis causes market panic", a reference to yesterday's big losses on European stock exchanges.

THE BATTLE FOR LIBYA

The latest financial health warnings are coming from Italy, Europe's third-largest economy, where bank shares have been badly hit in the wake of a financial scandal involving the Finance Ministry . . . Italian shares lost four per cent yesterday in Milan.

This morning the financial wire services are sizzling with bad news . . . from Madrid (down two per cent in the few minutes after opening), Frankfort (two of the biggest banks have lost four and five per cent respectively this morning) to Paris where the banks are leaking like old boats in a typhoon.

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