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French press review 15 April 2014

Ukraine makes the front pages of Le Monde and Libération. Le Figaro falls out of love with Manuel Valls. La Croix looks at the church in Rwanda. L'Humanité looks at lobbying. And Le Monde discusses Algeria's "virtual" election.

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Le Monde says Ukraine is on the brink of civil war. Libération says Putin is playing for big stakes internally, hoping to follow his painless annexation of the Crimean peninsula with a decent chunk of eastern Ukraine. The problem, according to Libé, is that there's probably

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a limit to how far the US and Europe can let Russian expansionism go and so a risk of Cold War-style frostiness.

Right-wing Le Figaro didn't take very long to get over its enthusiasm for the Valls-led Socialist government.

The financial watchdogs in Brussels have barked that Paris can not have an extension on the already overstretched deadline for getting the national debt down to three per cent of gross domestic product.

Le Figaro says the government has three possible solutions: either put an unprecedented squeeze on public spending, or admit that it won't ever be able to keep the three per cent promise, or keep on promising and let the bloodhounds in Brussels howl themselves hoarse.

Catholic La Croix looks at the predicament of the Roman church in Rwanda two decades after the 1994 genocide. There is a crisis of confidence in an institution which had members among both the victims and the killers. There are also suspicions that some church institutions have helped some murderers to escape justice.

Says La Croix, the tension in the Catholic community is proof, if such were needed, that two decades is not a long time when a nation is trying to come to terms with genocide.

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Communist L'Humanité looks at how the bosses use the lobby system to make sure that Europe continues to toe their line.

On its inside pages Le Monde quotes the Algerian writer Boualem Sansal as saying, in response to a question about the upcoming presidential election, "Algerian society does not exist, there's no country by that name, there'll be no presidential election. Algeria is a living fiction, everything.here is virtual."

Sansal notes that the usual pre-election generosity is in full flow . . . the banks are giving cheap credit, there's plenty of petrol money for everyone, Algerians are living like Americans, to the great joy of the Chinese. It won't last. He expects that "the age of the dinosaurs" will be extended by a few million years when the results of the presidential election are announced at eight o'clock on the evening of 17 April. He thinks the end of the world may come too soon to allow for real Algerian renewal.
 

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