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French press review 29 January 2016


There's one thing uniting the French papers this morning: their differences. While Libération headlines with the infamous "woman tax", Le Figaro leads with the French left, L'Huma the state of emergency, and La Croix Italy.


Libération's front page story is on how much it costs to be a woman. You may have heard of this before - today's Libé talks about the "women tax" - the fact that women pay more than men on a range of products, such as razors or deodorants, solely because they're women.

And this is especially troubling says Libération, because women still earn 19% less than men.

After months of heated debate and campaining, the government decided to cut the VAT on sanitary products, such as tampons, from 20% to 5.5%. The idea was that those products should be considered as essentials and therefore be less expensive - what activists are calling the "Tampon tax".

The measure took effect at the beginning of this year, but according to Libération most retailers have failed to change their prices.

And according to an editorial, the move is far from being just symbolic. "The fight for equality also requires these small everyday fights, from the way we share chores to street harassment. The tampon tax is only the beginning" it writes.

Le Figaro's cover story focuses on the left this morning, but before we talk about something else, there's something we need to talk about - the right wing paper always has the strangest polls on its frontpage.

Everyday they ask a question on their website and the next day you get the results in the paper. It's really not scientific.

Yesterday's question was "Will you miss former Justice minister Christiane Taubira" - to no one's surprise, given Le Figaro's dislike for Taubira, 88% of the people who voted said they won't.

Le Figaro says that Taubira's resignation changes everything on the Left and makes the proposition of a presidential primary even more credible.

"Taubira is an icon for the Frondeurs" -the Socialists MPs openly against Hollande's policies - says the paper.

And now that she's gone, there's a risk that those MPs will force the Socialist Party into participating in the  primary, something that François Hollande would very much like to avoid.

Today's L'Humanité is worrying about France's state of emergency. "State of emergency: why it's important to end it" writes L'Huma.

France has been under a state of emergency since last November attacks that left 130 people dead in Paris.

The result has been 3189 police raids for only 513 offences since November, notes the paper.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls wants to extend it for three more months, but numerous voices are saying it's time to end it.

"The extension of the state of emergency is the transformation of a temporary and extraordinary measure to a ruling tachtic" says an editorial.

"This climate is heavily straining the democratic life of the country" it continues. "[This policy] set ups a strategy of suspicion and division, instead of a policy that focuses on sharing" L'Huma concludes.

Finally, Catholic La Croix's front page story focuses on a proposed civil union bill in Italy. "To say that Italians are only talking about it would not be an overstatement" says an article.

It? It's a new government proposed bill that will create a civil union for same-sex couples. According to La Croix, the project is dividing the profoundly Catholic country, even though, and unlike in France, we're not talking about marriage here.

Like France, though, the opposition is focused on children.

The bill will allow one of the partners adopt the children of his partner.

According to La Croix, while 62% of the Italians are in favor of homosexual couples having the same rights as married couples, only 15% agree with the adoption proposal.

Despite the protest planned today in Rome, the reform should go through the Senate says the paper.

Italy is the last country of Western Europe that doesn't not recognise same-sex couples.

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