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French press review 25 July 2015

Ankara has finally decided to join the anti-Islamic State group coalition. They will offer aircraft and airspace to help bring down the jihadists. In domestic news, French teachers have spoken out against President Francois Hollande amid distrust, anger and frustration, as educators put his policies to the vote.


Libération and Le Monde have almost identical front pages. They cover the new strategies taken to tackle the Islamic State armed group in Turkey. Many will already know that it's taken some time to get Ankara on board, but they have finally agreed to join the anti-IS coalition by providing jets and airbases as part of an agreement with the US. Turkey's foreign ministry said that they are now very concerned about security against the jihadists.

Le Figaro has also led with the Ankara story, but in domestic news they've put Francois Hollande in the pressure cooker on the subject of education. Figaro says that teachers in France traditionally lean left but opinion polls show that the Socialist president is widely unpopular in the education sector.

Teachers were called to vote in Le Figaro's online OpinionWay poll. The stakes were high. But instead of seeing fresh, juicy ratings, Hollande's popularity since entering government has rapidly depreciated, like the cost of old abattoir meat. The paper accuses the president of deceiving people on his education policies.

Teachers in France say they are NOT happy with the false promises and the neglect they have had to face under his presidency. They said that the president ought to take a politics course.

An interesting article in Le Figaro was produced by France's data protection watchdog, CNIL. They were alerted to a complaint that seems to have grabbed the masses. It emerged that staff from the nationwide appliance store Boulanger were secretly insulting clients when storing their personal details.

Allegedly, racial slurs were rife. CNIL remarked that files on their customers contained what it referred to as "excessive" comments about the clients, and went on to publish a few examples. Some were simply derogatory, like "b*tch" and "fatty". Others were more colourfully expressed, such as "smelly, brainless alcoholic".

The 5,828 insulting comments found by CNIL read like a dictionary of French insults. The company has three months to delete all of the comments and customer files or face legal action. Apart from a sheepish apology from the HR department, Boulanger has yet to 'comment on the comments'. Maybe they've done quite enough of that for the time being.

Le Parisien goes back to a story that was making headlines earlier this week: the approval of a new law that granted state intelligence services more powers to monitor public communications to counter what authorities called "an unprecedented terror threat".

The publication is debating the law's efficacy. Parameters on the weakening of restrictions on phone taps, hidden microphones and cameras have yet to be defined. Given the attacks in Paris at the beginning of the year, opinions seem so far to be falling down the middle. One thing remains clear, however. Despite strident criticism from civil liberties groups, the government is punching on with the Americanisation of national security. 


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