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French weekly magazines review

Dominique Strauss-Kahn again makes the headlines in the weeklies, amid continuing speculation about the collapse of his rape case. 


DSK is “on the road to redemption” states Le Nouvel Observateur. The journal explains that Strauss-Kahn has started planning his return to public life, despite the extension of investigations in New York and the opening of a probe in Paris into another case of sexual assault filed against him by French writer, Tristane Banon.

L’Express holds that the prosecutor who appeared set to acquit Strauss-Kahn, after the plaintiff Nafissatou Diallo lied under oath, is now wavering. Left-leaning Marianne reports that the affair has been politicized, as black community groups and lobbyists clamoured for Nafissatou’s right to a fair hearing.

L’Express doubts the argument will suffice to get a trial. The newspaper dispatched reporters to Guinea to interview Nafissatou’s brother. He defended his sister and spoke about their humble origins, but also about how they have become the subject of public ridicule, since the rape allegations reached their hometown. According to L’Express, the affair has sparked ethnic tensions and a passionate debate in Guinea about the status of women in Africa.

Le Point examines the courageous battle being waged by Strauss-Kahn’s wife to rescue her husband. The magazine runs an emotional account of Anne Sinclair’s attempts to reach her husband after his arrest until his dramatic appearance in handcuffs, before the Manhattan court, four days later.

Sinclair’s friends who flew to New York to meet her say she is a “warrior in love”, and determined to clear her husband’s name. Anne Sinclair told one of her friends, she’s still has some 20 years to spend with her husband and is determined to make her marriage a story of happiness.

Dossier: The Strauss-Kahn affair rocks France, IMF

Le Point has also been following the woman who could ruin Strauss-Kahn’s aspiration to a quick return to normal life. Tristane Banon, who has filed sexual assault charges against DSK, says she is neither fragile nor a lunatic. The young woman says the reparations she is seeking in court will never make her rich, stating that even if she gets a cent from the trial, she doesn’t need Strauss-Kahn’s cash.

Le Nouvel Observateur has a portrait of David Koubbi, the lawyer who filed the charges. According to journal, he is the perfect troublemaker, a key actor whose role completes the casting of the Strauss-Kahn drama.

Marianne’s cover story is all about a summer of “stink bombs” The newspaper cites the DSK affair, the smear rumours circulating on the internet about Martine Aubry and attempts by spin doctors to discredit Jean Louis Borloo .

The centrist politician defected from the ruling UMP party and plans to stand in the 2012 presidential elections. Marianne says it expected a passionate citizen’s debate on Sarkozy’s catastrophic record and on the unprecedented financial crisis threatening France and Europe regretting that all it sees is smear politics

There is an interesting article in Le Nouvel Observateur about how Nicolas Sarkozy is re-jigging his image to become a ‘normal’ president. The weekly says he’s apparently understood at last, that the French people and even ruling party notables are fed up with his “omni-presidency”.

Sarkozy has since moved to shield his private life from paparazzi , especially as he and his wife await a happy event, according to the journal . Le Nouvel Observateur claims the president’s new posture has boosted his standing in the polls, restored the prime minister in his constitutional duties and rehabilitated cabinet ministers whose jobs were hijacked by advisers at the Elysée.

Marianne examines the recently published report by the Audits court criticizing Sarkozy’s record on security. The magazine points out that the report documented a three per cent reduction of security staff between 2003 and 2009, a situation worsened by budget cuts, systemic failures, poor organization, truncated statistics and a haste to introduce reforms that were never implemented. That was the period when Sarkozy was in charge of the interior ministry and Marianne concludes it is clear proof that his security policies failed woefully.

Le Point
claims that the huge French budget deficit is “scaring” the president .The right-wing weekly reports that the external trade deficit has reached 33 billion euros and is expected to exceed 65 billion by the end of the year, 15 billion above 2010 figures. Germany it explains, posted a positive balance of trade of 150 billion euros in 2011.

Le Point rebukes president Sarkozy for promising too much and delivering very little. The newspaper points to the spectacular announcement he made about a giant 20 billion-euro deal on the Rafale fighter jet,with Brazil that never came through and fantastic contracts with China that never were.

Le Point says the setbacks reflect the loss of competitiveness by the French industrial sector. The newspaper agrees with industries minister Pierre Lellouche, when he recently suggested, that the Chinese, the Koreans, the Russians and even the Brazilians have all become “Gaullists”, except the French.


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