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French weekly magazines review

Are France's right-wing opposition cheap? Will a novelist tell all about François Hollande's election campaign? Is lying a good weapon of war? What don't we know about the universe? And what do we know about keeping our love alive?


We take our lead story from Le Canard Enchaîné’s coverage of President Hollande’s vacation. The satirical paper accuses the opposition and ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy of spoiling the “Rain Man’s attempt to dry his clothes” after his drenched first 100 days in office.

Le Canard says the “cheap pretext”, which fell flat, was Hollande’s alleged inaction on the Syrian crisis. UMP chief Jean Francois Copé harassed Hollande to fold up his beach umbrella and return to Paris, while ex-prime minister François Fillon said he would go to Berlin to pick up Chancellor Angela Merkel and fly to Moscow to get Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop backing of Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Sarkozy’s decision to speak on the phone to a Syrian opposition leader is a clear sign that “two months of political retirement is already proving to be an unbearable ordeal for him”, according to the weekly.

L’Express brands France a republic of ghosts, arguing in an editorial that past presidents have always returned to haunt the mandate of their successors.

Le Nouvel Observateur publishes a special issue to mark Hollande’s 100 days in office. It contains excerpts of a new book on Hollande titled Nothing Happens as Planned. The author, French novelist Laurent Binet, offers a “behind-the-scenes” account of “scrupulous Hollande” on his march to the Elysée starting from the launch of his campaign in the summer of 2011.

Le Canard Enchaîné marvels at the ”inventive genius of Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s cabinet”, which embarked on a seemingly endless process of setting up committeees to propose action on issues such as fuel prices, the holding of several elected offices simuntaneously and moralits in public life.

L’Express examines the worsening Syrian conflict and Russia’s contributions to the overwhelming fire power unleashed by government forces against the poorly armed rebels.

Le Canard Enchaîné says Putin remains unintimidated in the face of international indignation about his pro-Assad policy. It says his only weak point is that “he is allergic to cats”. This is after he decided to send the three Russian women composing the rock band Pussy Riot to the gulag for two years simply because they ridiculed him in a song.

Le Point’s cover story is about the “mystifications of history”, how World War II allies duped the Germans during the Normandy landings and how dictators such as Hitler, Stalin and Mao manipulated their people.

Le Point recalls Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars “bluff” and George Bush’s “spin” about Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons before the 2003 Iraq war. These, according to the magazine, are proof that “psychological intelligence” such as the use of ruse, tricks and brainwashing are just as “terrifyingly efficient as weapons of mass destruction”.

Like secrets? Find out about the Hidden Paris

Marianne zooms in on the unexplored mysteries of the universe. Some 40 leading researchers told the left-leaning magazine that unresolved questions in domains such as medicine, history and the human sub-conscience have become “the motor of science and creativity”.

L’Express is looking for a recipe for lasting love as couples are opting for longer lives together. The magazine spoke to several long-term couples and experts and found out that “routine kills desire” especially at this age when “ego is king”.

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