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French weekly magazines review

In this week's French weeklies: discontent over the ban of Islamic headscarves in public places resurfaces; a French tycoon's fall from grace; and pertinent questions from the rich and famous: how do you spend all that dosh?

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We begin with an issue that could spoil the shortened summer holidays of the problem-plagued French government: France's controversial ban of the Islamic veil in public places. The issue fanned clashes between hundreds of Muslim youths against the police in the small Parisian suburb of Trappes last weekend. The disturbances were triggered by the arrest of a Muslim man who allegedly attacked a police officer after he stopped his fully-veiled wife to check her identity.

 

Spate of high-profile trials in France

Le Nouvel Observateur reports that sentiments of anti-Muslim discrimination coupled with unemployment and tensions with police are creating an "explosive" mix in the nearby town of Argenteuil. According to the magazine, critics have described frequent identity checks in immigrant neighbourhoods as "police harassment”. It also points to studies which show that people of African and Arab descent can face up to 10 times more spot ID checks than white people. Le Nouvel Observateur sat down with French Interior minister Manuel Valls to discuss the problem. His view, according to the weekly, is that “Islamophobia” is becoming a Trojan horse for Salafists who are exploiting the situation in France's blighted suburbs to swell the ranks of French Jihadists.

L’Express is keeping track of the fall from grace of French tycoon Bernard Tapie, who, according to the weekly, is on the verge of losing everything, starting with the 405 million euros he received as compensation from the French state in the dispute with Credit Lyonnais bank over the sale of sportswear group Adidas, which he owned in the early 1990s.

According to the right-wing magazine, magistrates have also seized Tapie’s assets worth hundreds of millions of euros. They include his Paris mansion, his St. Tropez villa, his holding in a French media group, and several bank accounts and insurance policies, as well as his 40 million euro yacht christened “Reborn”, to celebrate what he had expected to be his miraculous escape from bankruptcy.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

Le Nouvel Observateur probably had Bernard Tapie in mind when it undertook an investigation in the “lifestyles of the super rich”. The left-leaning magazine goes after the likes of real estate mogul Donald Trump, Virgin founder Richard Branson, television personality Oprah Winfrey and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, revealing everything about their hideouts and their hobbies and follies.

The weekly also has juicy details about the secret extravagant lifestyles of other tycoons as they shuttle between London, Beijing, Paris and New York. Le Nouvel Observateur evaluates their fortune at a thousand billion Euros, many of whom are reportedly having ran out of ideas on how to spend their colossal fortunes at a time of economic crisis, poverty, and spiralling unemployment for the vast majority of the world's people.

Like secrets? Find out about the Hidden Paris

Left-leaning Marianne publishes a list of hidden treasures, dream castles and museums, not the favourite hangouts of the billionaires, but places within the reach of struggling holiday makers. According to the magazine, there are at least 20 ancient castles, 15 museums, 10 extraordinary gardens and 20 churches, some dating back to the medieval ages, that have remained unknown to many French people and could become dream destinations for cash-trapped vacationers.

Le Point tries to unravel one of the great mysteries of our time: how the human brain is being manipulated by our respective experiences with love, family, work, politics and business. Experts tell the weekly there are 12 techniques which can help relieve the brain of psychological addiction and develop its resistance to the pressures of having to deal with these passions of life.

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