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French weekly magazines review

This weeks magazines explore the man made President of Mali; new visa requirements by Senegal for EU citizens wishing to travel to the former French colony; and the story behind what prompted US President Obama to shut down its embassies across the Middle East and Africa.   


We begin with a portrait of the man called upon to preside over the destiny of a battered and war-ravaged Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (IBK). L’Express went to the University of Sorbonne where he studied, to the Malian capital Bamako and also to the northern town of Gao,  to hear to what they expect from the new President. They discovered that IBK is perceived as a fascinating figure who lacks neither the assets nor the authority to succeed on his mission.

Dossier: War in Mali

Le Canard Enchaîné shows evidence that the “Françafrique” dispensation which gave France free reign in its former African colonies is now over. According to  the satirical weekly, Senegal shocked Paris when it unilaterally introduced visas for French citizens travelling to the West African country.

The new government in Dakar calls the measures “the visa of reciprocity”.  It costs 50 euros and applicants are required to present passports with a minimum validity of six months, return air tickets, hotel bookings or lodging certificates delivered by their hosts. The satirical paper says that while tourism operators fear a shortfall in business, the vast majority of the Senegalese are applauding the idea that Europeans should also taste the same annoying red tape suffered by Africans wishing to travel to the Schengen countries.

Le Canard Enchaîné revisits a standoff between Islamists and non Muslims in the northern Algerian region of Kabylia during the holy Islamic month of the Ramadan. The weekly reports that days just before the end of the fasting, 500 people armed with sandwiches, lemonade and beer gathered in the provincial capital Tizi Ouzou to protest the “Islamization” of their country.

Their action came after the arrest of two young men found eating in a closed restaurant, according to the satirical newspaper. Islam is the state religion in Algeria. Le Canard reports that a day after the protest, an ex-leader of the disbanded Islamic Salvation Front took over the square claiming that he needed to “erase the sacrilegious acts committed by God’s enemies”.

Le Nouvel Observateur profiles a young Yemeni who has been made Al Qaeda’s head of military operations. Nasser al –Wuhayshi aged 30 is a former private secretary to Osama Ben Laden. He gained status in the terrorist organization by carrying out the fusion of all Al Qaeda branches in Saudi Arabia and in Yemen, which has transformed the Arabic peninsula into the new epicenter of Jihad.

It was an intercepted email in which he was discussing a series of attacks on US interests across the globe that prompted President Obama to shut down US embassies across the Gulf region. That is according Le Nouvel Observateur.

Marianne takes up what it calls the Chinese invasion of France. According to the left-leaning journal they are taking over the wine industry and the cream of French business and bringing over an influx of students from the Middle Kingdom.

Marianne says the Chinese tycoons aren’t hiding their plans and have even gone publicabout a scheme to set aside 20 per cent of their business earnings as loans for new Chinese immigrants settling in France.

Like secrets? Find out about the Hidden Paris

Le Point slams the French state for its auctioning of priceless property, at home and abroad, to fund its budget deficit. The weekly says that dozens of historic buildings, land, residences, schools, convents and even a prison worth 4,5 billion euros have been virtually given away every year since 2006, often at four times less than the current market price. Le Point is shocked by the amateurism of the civil servants handling the real estate sales and wonders if they are not about to sell the state’s family jewels as well.


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