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French press review 01 March 2014

Ukraine attracts the most comments in this morning’s papers, in the wake of the geopolitical showdown between Russia and the Western-backed interim administration in Kiev.

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Libération has a large photograph of a soldier on the back of a Russian tank splashed across its cover page with the caption “Russian threat to Crimea”, following charges by Ukraine’s Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov that 2,000 Russian troops had been deployed in Simferopol, the capital of the semi-autonomous republic, to prepare for an armed invasion of his country.

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Libé has background analysis about what is at stake for Russia in the Crimean peninsula. It says Moscow will do everything to keep this strategic gateway to the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean for its Black Sea fleet based in the enclave.

Le Figaro examines the war of nerves in Simferopol and Sebastopol the two Crimean cities are the centre of the escalation and how Moscow is moving its pieces methodically on the chessboard.

It also reports that ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovyich, who has sought refuge in Russia, tried to justify the Kremlin’s obligation to take action against “neofascists” in Kiev. It underlines efforts underway to avert a Cold War scenario in Ukraine amid warnings Friday that President Barack Obama and other European leaders could snub the G8 summit in Sochi if they judge Russia is usurping Ukraine's sovereignty.

Le Monde criticises the “two-faced” attitude of the Kremlin, asserting that Ukraine’s territorial integrity will not be threatened while at the same time pursuing its military manoeuvres in Crimea.

The European Union has confirmed its readiness to deploy troops in the Central African Republic in April, according to Le Monde. The paper reports that General Philippe Pontiès, who is to command the projected Eufor-CAR force, expects between 800 and 1,000 men to be on the ground by the end of February. According to the paper, his reassurances lay to rest lingering questions that had been raised about the EU’s readiness to support France in the strife-torn country.

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Le Parisien says France’s much-touted made-in-France concept is easier said than done, due to the complex judicial framework in place, insufficient control of trade marks and the tough ride it takes to sell French products. The daily examines the vitality of the concept as Industrial Renewal Minister Arnaud Montebourg sings the song he believes can be the key to France’s economic revival and consumer confidence

La Croix takes off its religious garments to launch a crusade in defence of mathematics.

According to the Catholic newspaper, while France is home to some of the world’s finest mathematicians, the standards of schoolchildren have got worse, according to the latest study of the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) of the OECD, which involves dozens of countries testing their 15 year olds' skills and knowledge. La Croix says a fierce debate is raging about the French paradox and how the subject is taught in French schools.

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Some experts, according to the paper, are clamouring for a return to abandoned traditional methods of teaching, while others favour the scrapping of mathematics as a school grading tool, all defending their notion that it will help restore children’s appetite for the subject.

Le Parisien opens the doors of Yello, the dream restaurant where you may want to dine this spring. As well as its special dishes, it offers sessions of sunlight therapy. The restaurant appears to be designed in a manner that gives its clients maximum exposure to the warming Parisian skies. Le Parisien says the very original invention comes after the latest craze for cat-bearing and water-drinking in fashion-mad Paris.

L’Equipe presents a big day for French Premier League football with Saint Etienne looking to return to its glory days when they take on second-placed Monaco at the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium, Saturday evening. The sport daily describes the crunch game as an appetiser ahead of Sunday’s showdown between Paris Saint Germain and arch enemies Marseille.

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