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French press review 17 August 2015


The stand-off between pork farmers and buyers continues to get coverage ahead of a crucial meeting today with the agricultural ministry, whilst plans for a basic income gather speed.


Le Monde reports that the government is walking a tight rope in its handling of the pork crisis.

The urgency of Monday's meeting between pork farmers and buyers is perhaps illustrated by the fact that Agricultural minister Stéphane Le Foll had to call President François Hollande ahead of it, notably to ensure both were on the same page.

The two officials, freshly returned from vacation, have barely had time to adjust before already being thrown into the deep end, Le Figaro writes.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

For Le Foll, it's as if he never left, having to take time from his two-week holiday to reassure pork farmers after two of the country's biggest buyers decided to boycott French pork, deemed too expensive.

The fixed price is 1.40 euros, which farmers say will allow them to make ends meet. Buyers are clamouring for more flexibility to remain competitive with foreign markets.

Communist Party paper Humanité compares them to pigs for being greedy.

Huma also headlines on the plight of Kurdish fighters who are facing hostility both from the Turkish government and the Islamic State (IS) armed group. The paper writes that between this rock and a hard place is not a comfortable place to be.

IS, aka Isis, is also featured in Le Figaro and in left-leaning Libé. They decry the rape of an American hostage by IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Libé writes that rape has become a new doctrine for the group.

Staying with the left-wing paper, how would you like to be given an unconditional and regular income no matter what?

Well this basic income theory is slowly making its way up the ranks of top economists.

Several countries, like the Netherlands, renowned for its controversial flare, are already experimenting with the idea as a response to galloping unemployment They also see it as a new way of life.

In the Dutch city of Utrecht, for instance, a group of people already receiving welfare will get monthly checks ranging from 900 euros for an adult to 1,300 euros for a couple or family per month.

Out of the 300 people participating, at least 50 of them will receive the unconditional basic income and won’t be subject to any regulation.

The experiment seeks to challenge the notion that people who receive public money need to be patrolled and punished.

Libé writes that in times of financial crisis, it's absurd to think anyone can find a job when there aren't any.

Meanwhile, Catholic daily La Croix headlines with the Tianjin disaster, that rocked China's port city five days ago. The official death toll rose Monday morning to 112, authorities confirmed.

La Croix delivers an in-depth report on the aftermath of the tragedy replete with eye-witness accounts from families of the victims.

At the same time, conservative Le Figaro suggests that authorities may be trying to cover up the extent of the disaster, as fears of a chemical catastrophe grow.

If authorities have confirmed that tonnes of sodium cyanideare stored at the site, leading people to believe they ignited Wednesday's spectacular blasts, they're reluctant to allow commentary on it.

Le Figaro writes that at least 50 internet sites have been shut down after beingaccused of fear-mongering. Whilst, nearly o100 people are still missing, including 85 firefighters.

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