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French press review 22 November 2011

More financial turbulence, violence in Egypt, and government plans to cut social security expenses are this morning's main stories. If you feel like you've heard it all before, the chances are, you probably have. Only this time it's worse.


Yesterday was another Black Monday for the world's stock markets, with billions of euros going down the tubes globally. Paris's top stocks lost nearly 3.5 per cent of their value; Milan saw five per cent losses; London and New York each lost more than two per cent.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

The problem this time is not just Europe. In the United States, the cross-party committee supposed to be working out how to save 1,500 billion dollars over the next decade yesterday rolled over and stuck its legs up in the air.

The Moody's ratings agency is giving France a hard time, and that's giving investors the jitters.

And then there's those grimy Greeks, who are refusing to sign a commitment to honour their European debt obligations. So Europe is refusing to pay the next installment of eight billion euros to keep Athens afloat.

The Catholics at La Croix are determined to remain optimistic. Its front-page suggests that, with the recent changes of government in both Italy and Spain, Europe is now in a position to rebuild its economies and reestablish investor confidence.

That will require political stability, less public spending, more economic growth, a clear overall policy for the eurozone, and the continuing generosity of the German taxpayer. That's asking for rather a lot. But then, Catholics do believe in miracles.

They could probably do with a miracle in Egypt as well, with blood on the streets of Cairo less than a week before elections. The problem seems to be that, despite the eviction of Hosni Mubarak from the presidential palace last February, the levers of power remain in the hands of the military. And quite a few people are now convinced that the military are worse than Mubarak ever was.

According to Libération, the future of Egypt will be played out between the army, an angry population and various Muslim organisations. The outcome is anything but predictable.

Communist L'Humanité is angry at what it considers to be the government's determination to butcher the social security budget. The authorities are determined to save seven billion euros next year, by taxing private health insurance schemes, cutting back on health spending and changing the tax rules for the least well-off.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

Despite all the security surrounding Barack Obama's visit to Australia last week, a 125-page confidential file containing minute-by-minute details of the presidential programme, has been found in a gutter in Canberra. The government has promised to look into it.

Last week's murder of 13-year-old Agnès Marin in a forest near her school in central France is the main story for both popular tabloid, Aujourd'hui en France and right-wing posh paper, Le Figaro. The problem is that the 17-year-old suspected by police of this rape and murder was already awaiting trial in a separate rape case. Despite his worrying judicial background, there don't appear to have been any safeguards to protect or even warn his schoolmates that he was a potential danger.

As the mother of the dead girl poignantly pointed out, her daughter's death could have been avoided if people had been just a little more careful.

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