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French press review 30 July 2016

The French economy is not doing very well, again. Neither Democrats nor Republicans in the United States seem very pleased about the people they've chosen to contest the presidency. And would you like to be paid for drinking beer?


Right-wing Le Figaro gives pride of place to the latest financial statistics which suggest that the French economy, which showed brief signs of life in the first three months of this year, has once again dropped off the perch. Economic growth is currently at zero.

Le Figaro says this proves that President Hollande was talking through his hat when he said things were getting better.

Clinton and Trump offer voters little choice

Left-leaning Libération looks to the United States presidential race, describing the contest between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as a "dance of the detested".

Clinton angered supporters of her Democrat rival, Bernie Sanders, with the way she handled the internal party contest. More seriously, there are questions about the way the Clinton family charity has been financed, notably during the period when Hillary was US Secretary of State, with the suggestion of several conflicts of interest.

The Republican candidate Trump scares many Republicans and practically all other human beings with his anti-immigrant, pro-gun, gung-ho US isolationist platform.

The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, has promised revelations about both candidates over the next few months. Things can only get worse.

Cheer up, the news is not all bad . . .

Despite a front page including the security debate in the wake of the terrorist attack in northern France, a warning from the Turkish president should mind their own business and let him get on with the post-coup clean-up, and a plunge into the world of those Americans who believe that Donald Trump would make a worthy president, Le Monde says the news is not all bad.

Frankly, the good news is not great either . . .

Le Monde's review of things to be cheerful about gives pride of place to the recent adoption by the French National Assembly of the biodiversity law, a mish-mash of incomprehensible regulations broadly intended to protect bees and fish.

In second place comes the news from the American space agency NASA that a further 1,284 earth-like planets have been discovered. And, if that doesn't light your fire, you may be thrilled to know that the existence of gravitational waves, yokes predicted by Albert Einstein one hundred years ago, has now been confirmed.

On the social front, this year's results in the French school leaving exam were the best ever, with 89 percent of candidates passing. Which raises obvious questions about standards.

Internationally, Le Monde notes the leaking of the Panama Papers as good news. An anonymous whistle-blower published nearly 12 million files from the central computer of the Panamanian law firm Mosek Fonseka, showing how heads of state, politicians, billionaires, sports and media personalities were using offshore funds to avoid paying tax.

There were elections in Burma, with Aung San Suu Kyi's protègé, Ktin Hyaw, elected president after over fifty years of military dictatorship. And the situation in the Central African Republic became sufficiently stable to allow the withdrawal of the French peace-keeping force.

The man who said that good news won't sell newspapers certainly knew what he was talking about.

Dream job at the American National History Museum

Libération gets a bit closer to the mark with a story announcing that the American National History Museum in Washington is offering to pay a salary of 64,650 dollars a year to an employee whose job will be to drink beer. The chosen candidate will have to visit breweries in all fifty states, and taste their product.

If you want to apply, know that you will need academic qualifications in both business administration and history. And don't rush. The ad sparked so much interest that it caused the computer at the venerable Smithsonian Museum to collapse.

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