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French press review 12 February 2013

Pope’s resignation, industry decline, rise of a cosmetics giant and gender equality in Norway interest today’s French papers.


Are you having difficulties making ends meet at the end of the month, asks the tabloid Le Parisien? If your answer is yes, get some help, advises the paper. The full-page article features an NGO, Crésus, which is helping the French fight against excessive personal debt.

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French industry has come to a standstill, states the business daily Les Echos on its front page. Last year, French manufacturing shrank 2.7 per cent. Even more horrifying is the manufacturing decrease since 2008: 16 per cent.

The only ray of sunlight in today’s business section of Le Figaro is the growth rates of the French cosmetics giant, l’Oréal. In 2012, the company had a turnover of 22.46 billion euros with 3.7 billion euros profit. In an exclusive interview with le Figaro, the company's chief executive, Jean-Paul Argon, shares the reasons for such success. Among them, he cites massive R&D investment, innovative products and stronger internationalisation.

Le Figaro dedicates today’s issue to Pope’s resignation. In tribute to Benedict XVI, the paper’s editorial says the Pope has extraordinary strength of character.

“Benedict XVI always presented his role as a service and not as an exercise of power,” notes the editor. “That is why he renounced his position with such freedom.”

In a special report, Libération explores gender equality in Norway. It hails the country of 14 weeks of parental leave and mixed education from the earliest possibile age.

“We are giving boys and girls the same opportunities and games, regardless of their sex”, Robert Ullmann, the director of a network of day-care centres, told reporter Quentin Girard. “If a boy wants to disguise as a princess, he can do it”.

Girard also met the country’s minister of Chidren, Equality and Social Integration. "Gender equality is a source of prosperity for us," she told him. In Norway parents of a newborn baby can share 49 weeks of holidays on full pay. A father’s share is between 12 and 14 weeks – which he cannot pass on to the mother.

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The report features a software company which “bribes” the fathers to take parental leave by paying them an extra two weeks on top of the government’s 14.

"It allows fathers to better bond with their child, which in turn will make them more efficient at work,” the company says.

Another benefit of gender equality, concludes the report, is the fact that men don’t mind if women chat them up.

“The hour of truth”, leads the sports daily L’Equipe.

Tonight in Spain, the PSG football club will be fighting Valencia in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. It dedicates the first five pages to the match.

What about the club’s newest acquisition, David Beckam?

Well, he is going to be present in Spain … watching. And tonight, the success of PSG in the Champions League will determine whether Carlo Lancelotti will stay on for another season.

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