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French weekly magazines review

The weeklies are dominated by the controversial debate regarding the legalization of gay marriages in France; the rise of religious fanaticism; Tuesday’s U.S. Presidential elections; and a scandal involving complicity among the police, criminal networks and outlawed secessionists in Corsica.


Le Canard Enchaîné breaks news about a bombshell that is waiting for Manuel Valls in Corsica. The satirical weekly reports that a judge is investigating allegations about dangerous liaisons between the police, crooks and nationalists. The satirical paper  details a bank account containing 150,000 euros opened for a Corsican police chief by a real estate tycoon with close ties to the outlawed Corsican National Liberation Front.

Le Canard says secret service agents found out that the police chief called the real estate mogul intelligence 533 times between September 2010 and September 2011. That’s tantamount to a telephone call every single day says Le Canard and it notes that investigators describe the chats as very strange.

L’Express appears to be unhappy about some bright spots coming from President Hollande’s government followed by accusations of amateurism. Justice and security used to be the basis of the conservative doctrine but two ministers are depriving the UMP of their business bait as they prepare to elect a new leader on 17 November. The candidates are Manual Valls, the Interior Minister and Christiane Taubira who holds the Justice portfolio.

L’Express admits that Valls is tough, efficient and very popular. Whereas Taubira, who speaks of new values in administering justice, has become a difficult target for the opposition. The magazine explains that since their appointment, the pair has a surprising capacity to work together despite affirming their differences on how to tackle growing juvenile delinquency. Taubira favors the scrapping of special criminal court for teenagers set up by the Sarkozy administration; a point Valls remains silent on. L’Express claims that the constructive relationship and respect exhibited by the two ministers deprives the opposition of what they had expected to be their softest target.

Le Nouvel Observateur traces the long march to gay marriage and adoption in France. This comes as the Socialist government is preparing to approve a related draft law during its next cabinet meeting on 7 November with a presentation in parliament in January.

According to the left-leaning magazine, it’s the culmination of 15 years of endless debates and battles for the recognition of the fundamental right of equality for all, enshrined in the French constitution. However, the left-leaning weekly admits that the gay project is in for more hard times ahead as it remains a subject of division within the Left.

examines the crusade launched by the Catholic Church in a desperate attempt to prevent the legalization of same sex marriages. The reform was one of President François Hollande’s campaign pledges but it is fuelling a revolt amongst conservatives across the country and even in parliament, which Catholics are trying to capitalize on. L’Express reports that the hierarchy of the Catholic church has moved to the front of the “sacred lobbying campaign” taking the fight right into the corridors of public offices and state institutions.

Marianne devotes this week’s issue on the rise of religious fanaticism in France with a focus on the threat posed by Salafist Islamists. The fundamentalist movement is using the anti-Islam Innocence of Muslims video and the Charlie Hebdo cartoons to spread their influence around France. Marianne puts the number of France’s Salafists at 15,000 most of them suburban youths in search of social recognition.

According to Marianne, the Islamists are trying to ban the right to freedom of expression. They are not alone, says the left-leaning magazine, and points to Catholic and Jewish fundamentalists waging their own holy war and painting a new face of fanaticism that has caused blind and growing hatred for French Muslims.

Special dossier

Le Point joins the debate with an investigative report about how the Islamic culture is influencing traditional patterns and trends in hospitals, canteens, school programs and how religious requirements are circulating around France.

The weeklies are making their closing arguments about the U.S. presidential election as Barak Obama and his Republican challenger wrap up their campaigns. Le Nouvel Observateur paints a portrait of Obama described as the Sphinx and Romney the chameleon. Obama remains an enigma four years after his entry into the White House. Whereas the social and ultra conservative Romney is hard to pinpoint exactly. For Le Point, the election is no longer a two-man race as Obama and Romney are now up against Storm Sandy, who stole the show during the last stages of the campaign.

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