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French press review 1 November 2016

Why are the French becoming more openly hostile to the poor? Does the clearance of the Calais Jungle solve anything fundamental? Which side is the FBI on in the American presidential battle? And can a plate of coq au vin cost 1.3 million dollars?


Le Monde's main story says the French are becoming more openly hostile to the poor. There's even a word for it: "pauvrophobie" (fear of the poor). While the phenomenon is anything but new, the centrist daily says it is now increasingly common in French society and is ever more visible in the behaviour of neighbours, local organisations and government agencies.

For example, says Le Monde, the fire that last month destroyed a new centre for the homeless in the chic 16th arrondissement of Paris was deliberately started. Migrant centres and other institutions offering assistance to the worst-off have similarly been attacked or destroyed.

A spokesman for the national federation of groups helping with social insertion says the traditional values of hospitality and sharing are falling apart and there's little evidence of a political will to force a change in public opinion.

Calais clearance . . . a solution which solves very little

Right-wing Le Figaro's main headline reads, "Calais cleared, migrant problem remains". The conservative daily wonders if the French president will today visit the cleared site formerly known as the Jungle near the northern port city of Calais, until this week home to 7-9,000 migrants hoping to cross the Channel to England. François Hollande promised that the camp would be demolished; it has been.

Only the makeshift church and the mosque remain.

But, while many of the Jungle's former residents have accepted accommodation in 450 hastily organised centres all over France, recent days have seen the arrival of as many as 2,500 refugees who are now living under the metro bridges in the Stalingrad quarter in north-eastern Paris.

The success of the other centres remains to be established, with 11 of the 22 underage migrants sent from Calais to the western city of La Rochelle having already vanished, Le Figaro reports. The local police claim to be facing a ridiculous situation: they've seen several of the kids hitchhiking along the main road out of La Rochelle but say there's no point in forcing them to return since they'll leave again the first chance they get.

They don't want to be in La Rochelle, they want to be in England.

Has America's top policeman broken the law?

Libération looks at the legal issues raised by the FBI's decision to reopen its investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of non-secure computers for confidential emails when she was secretary of state. With just one week to go to polling day, the decision by FBI head James Comey to relaunch the case alleging cybernegligence on Clinton's part is sure to have an impact on the outcome.

The fact is that, under Ammerican law as enshrined in the Hatch Act, federal agents are forbidden from any act of support for any candidate. The leader of the Democratic Party in the Senate says Comey, apart from dumping a bucket of brown stuff on Clinton has concealed explosive information on links between Donald Trump, his chief advisors and the Russian government.

Hillary Clinton is still odds-on favourite to win, whatever computer she uses.

French chef gets 1.3-million-dollar bill for classic dish with a twist

The world of French gastronomy has indigestion following yesterday's decision by a New York court to serve top chef Daniel Boulud with a 1.3 million dollar fine.

A diner in one of Boulud's restaurants in the Big Apple ordered coq au vin in February, 2015, says Le Monde. The dish was, unfortunately, served with a small metal fragment which lodged in the client's throat and required him to undergo an emergency operation.

The surgeon removed an inch-long metal fibre from the man's throat, probably from a cheap scrubbing brush. The diner's lawyers claimed that their client could have died.

The court considered that the restaurant had been negligent and awarded damages of one million dollars to the complainant, 11,000 to his wife who didn't really enjoy her dinner on the fateful night, the whole lot to be paid with interest.

The establishment had no comment to make on the court decision but is understood to be considering an appeal on the grounds that the choking of the client was not intentional.

Before this, Daniel Boulud was ranked 36th in the world's 100 top chefs by the magazine Le Chef, with his establishment ranked among those you absolutely must visit. Just don't order the coq au vin.

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