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French press review 28 January 2012

For about the first time this week, it is not Socialist Party candidate François Hollande who is dominating the front pages.

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Right wing paper Le Figaro is still denouncing Hollande’s presidential programme on its front page, but the focus of the press is shifting towards the televised speech current president Nicolas Sarkozy is to present tomorrow night.

Le Figaro
calls this the Grand Soir: Sarkozy’s big night, but warns that he may announce measures which will be difficult for the Right to accept, such as tax increases. However, Le Figaro still focuses on Sarkozy’s ability to hold the eurozone together.

Centrist Le Monde also pre-empts Sarko’s speech, wondering whether he will use the opportunity to "humanise" his image and drop what they call his ‘bling-bling’ image.

He has been referred to as the hyper-president in the past as he has been diplomatic globe-trotting and attempting to push through a raft of reforms.

Hollande is, of course, pitching himself as a ‘normal’ president to counter Sarkozy’s hyperactivity.

Le Monde speculates about whether he will apologise for the gaffs and miscalculations during his presidency, for example, appointing inexperienced ministers, his hardline stance on eviction of the Roma people from France, going on yachting holidays with billionaire friends at the height of economic crisis and insulting voters.

But we shall just have to wait and see!

Liberation also picks up on the story but focuses on the fact that the speech, to be broadcast at 8pm tomorrow, will be on six major French channels, and is expected to attract at least 5.4 million viewers.

They quote a Socialist Party MP who says that this is near domination of the French airwaves.

On a lighter note but still regarding the elections, Aujourd'hui en France brings us the news that "The Obama boys are at Hollande's headquarters".

This is the story that some of Obama's techies arrived yesterday to help Hollande's electoral team to inspire his online campaign.

It is a private company which helped Obama's team and is being deployed to draw attention to Hollande's campaign on social network sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. So the election is gearing up on all fronts.

Liberation instead focuses on the breast implant story, carrying a typically Libé risqué front cover.

They question why, despite the scandal of the PIP implants,is there still a great demand from French women to undergo the surgery.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

They interview an anthropologist who explains why this came into fashion, exactly what the surgery entails in all its grisly detail and interviews with women who have had the surgery who descrribe it as ‘a second birth’.

On the other hand, they go into less detail about whether we have collectively developed a sense of paranoia about body image.

Just a quick economic's story, which I found amusing, unusually for business news.

Claire Gatinois, business journalist at Le Monde headlines her column "Standard and Poor's have killed Merkozy" - a combination of the surnames of Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel - who have been struggling to get the eurozone crisis under control.

Gatinois questions the accountability of the ratings agency which downgraded France’s sovereign debt from triple A earlier this month, in what was an embarrassment for Sarko.

But she points out that S&P have made errors, at one point miscalculating American debt by 1,518 billion euros and should be renamed "Standard and bourdes", this translates as ‘standard and blunders’.

To go a little further afield, Liberation has a two page spread on the upcoming Senegalese elections.

Libé is worried about the decision yesterday evening by Senegal’s constitutional council to allow Abdoulaye Wade to run for a third term. They quote human rights groups who claim they have "set the country ablaze".

The decision to block singer Youssou N'dour’s candidacy obviously came as a suprise to Libé as they ran an interview with him only to find that he was no longer eligible.

However, the interview ends on an interesting note with claims that Sarkozy, Merkel and Obama can put pressure on Wade to make sure the elections are not manipulated.

In case you weren’t aware, today is 'European day of data protection' and Liberation carries an article about how much data the French state stores about its citizens.

Libé worries that the DNA of those suspected of crimes can be stored for up to 25 years, even if that person is exonerated from committing any crime. If a person refuses to submit to a DNA test, they face up to a year's imprisonment and a 15,000 euro fine.

They raise the alarm in an interview with a genetics specialist that in the future DNA will be able to reveal even more information about us. The specialist, and other human rights groups, are worried about this trend as it reduces freedom.

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