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French press review 21 August 2015


Redemption, compassion and misery are some of the themes inside this morning's papers, as hopes are pinned on Usain Bolt to lift Athletics out of its drug scandal, and more compassion is urged for migrants.


The drums are rolling ahead of this weekend's athletics championships in Beijing. So far, they've been overshadowed by allegations of wide-spread doping among some of the top athletes.

Catholic paper La Croix, headlines with "Athletics is looking for new stars." But if you read closer, what it means is that the sport is looking for redemption. And the man to bring that about is Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt.

Fans and pundits alike are hoping the Jamaican, a good crowd pleaser, will deflect attention away from doping and back on to the sport where it belongs.

Elsewhere the ongoing migrant crisis once again tops the headlines. Libération devotes a whole 16-page spread to the plight of these millions of nameless faces who wash up on Europe's shores practically everyday now.

The left-leaning paper has a very interesting editorial, which is an appeal for compassion and solidarity. It writes that France should take a leaf out of America's book, when in 1883 it began welcoming migrants to its shores.

It was moved by the poem of a Jewish girl whose family was fleeing pogroms in Russia, in which she wrote: "Give me your poor, extenuated and weak bodies which aspire for freedom ... I open my door and I let in the light."

Yet in Europe, most migrants only find barbed wire and repression,Humanité says.
The Communist paper looks at the deal struck yesterday between France and the UK to tighten border controls at Calais. It writes that erecting more walls of security will only lead Europe into a dead-end.

The paper also reflects on the family feud between Marine Le Pen and her father Jean-Marie, after the historic leader was kicked out of the far-right party Thursday.

Humanité seems to take a rather malicious pleasure in seeing the two tear themselves apart, and the Front National along with it. However the Communist paper says that we shouldn't be fooled and that Marine Le Pen is still of the same ilk as her father.

Fine, she's not talking about Nazi gas chambers, but she's still using the same xenophobic references and blaming foreigners for all of France's economic problems. In one quote, she praises the "bravery" of French men and women in resisting the "tide of migrants who are submerging the country: attracted by France's welfare state and social benefits".

In Le Monde, Greece's political crisis tops the headlines after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' shock resignation. The Conservative paper headlines with the story calling it a "disaster for the Greek population" who now have to brace themselves for yet more elections.

Tsipras says he has a moral duty to go to the polls now that a third bailout has been secured with European creditors. However Le Monde writes that all this dithering and toing and froing is pushing voters into the grips of the Far Right Golden Dawn party.

In Le Figaro, we talk about fantasies and dreams, and particularly those of French President François Hollande, who yesterday announced he would lower taxes in 2016 "no matter what".

That is utter nonsense, cries Figaro, which is amused by this vote of confidence after the president went from saying it could happen to that it definitely will.

His promises are as fake as Father Christmas, the paper writes, warning readers that if Father Christmas does show up, he'll only be handing out small portions.

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