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French Press Review 23 November 2017

Revolting Corsicans. The Beast of Bosnia. Eco-taxes and university entrance; this morning's French front pages are a mixed bag to say the least.


Le Monde's top story is about pressure from Nationalists in Corsica. Evidently, the locals are revolting.

Elsewhere, the centrist daily considers the conviction yesterday for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia of the so-called "Butcher of the Balkans", the Bosnian Serb former military leader Ratko Mladic.

Beneath the headline "What to remember from Ratko Mladic's life sentence," it recalls the death toll - more than 100,000 between 1992 and 1995 - including the slaughter one 8,000 men and boys from the town of Srebrenica.

Yesterday in Srebrenica, far from The Hague where the trial was taking place, women had gathered to follow the verdict.

"These women followed the trial, punctuating the appearance of the accused with vengeful insults," says le Monde.

"I give thanks to God, in the name of our sons! said Nedziba Salhovic - one of those watching the verdict.

"Mladic will die in The Hague! I am happy, happy with this justice."


Le Figaro leads on moves towards a selection process for university entrance. Until recently, anyone who passed the baccalaureate - the nationwide exam for 18-year-old - was entitled to a place at university. The weeding out came after the first year. Henceforth, it's looking as though France will move to a system of pre-selection, taking only the best and the brightest.

If nothing else this will lessen the grotesque overcrowding in year one and encourage young people in directions to which they are suited, which for many means vocational training.

Le Figaro tells readers that selection is no longer "taboo" among the young.


Meanwhile, in what it labels an exclusive, the right-wing daily warns that "The annual fuel and heating bill for a household will increase by 313 euros by 2022."

Shock . . . Horror !

It's a massive tax hike that we do not really talk about. The government has decided, as part of its draft budget 2018, considered in the Senate today to accelerate the rise in the carbon tax over the next five years.

"Ecological taxation will heavily burden French household budgets," the paper laments.


The Catholic Daily, La Croix, leads with the meeting being hosted in the black sea resort of Sochi by the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Among others, the Russian leader has welcome the Syrian President Bashir al-Assad.

"The future of Syria is in the hands of Russia," the paper says.

Yesterday, Putin, without whom nothing is done in Syria, received his Turkish and Iranian counterparts.

Eventually he has plans to bring together in Russia the "Syrian National Dialogue Congress" for a political solution in Syria.


Le Parisien looks into Absenteeism from work in both the private and the public sectors.

Under the banner headline "the French disease" the paper carries an in-depth report on the issue.

Le Parisien says the number of workers "pulling a sickie", as the Anglo-Saxons put it, increased by 7,5 per cent between 2010 and 2016 costing the economy 60 billion euros a year.

60 billion !

In an effort to reverse this trend on Monday French deputies voted to make the first day of sick leave unpaid a likely deterrent aimed at saving money.

Still, the paper says the malaise runs deep and much more needs to be done.

The financial daily les Echoes treats the same story asking "Do employees abuse sick leave?"

According to a study on absenteeism at work of a leader in health insurance and welfare Malakoff Médéric published yesterday the paper says the choice to take a sick leave is a "complex decision".

The only good news is that 20 per cent of employees handed a sick note by their doctor do not stay off work.

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