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French weekly magazines review 11 February 2018

__ DR

Is Europe in the grip of a new wave of anti-Semitic hatred? Is the leader of France's right-wing Republicans a serious threat to President Emmanuel Macron? What can be done to improve French schools? Is the booming Bitcoin the future of money?


Left-leaning L'Obs leads with what it describes as the new anti-Semitic hatred gripping Europe.

The magazine wonders how it has all been possible, especially the latest case in France when an eight-year-old boy wearing a kippa was beaten up by two adolescents in the northern Paris suburb of Sarcelles.

This is not an isolated casen the magazine it says. Jews are now packing their bags and leaving the Seine Saint Denis area for fear of violence.

The magazine also takes its readers to Malmo in southern Sweden where a synagogue has been transformed into a bunker and where anti-Semitic attacks are also on the increase.

L'Obs says that with the demise of the last surviving survivors of the Holocaust, it is a sad fact that anti-Semitic feeling is reemerging.

So who's to blame?

The magazine points the finger at the rise of extremist leaders and parties across Europe, be they Viktor Orban in Hungary, the AfD in Germany, the FPO in Austria or the Flemish National Party in the Netherlands.

There is also the jihadisation of the unresolved Palestinian problem, according to L'Obs. The only solution is intransigence and support for the Jews when they are under attack, because anti-Semitism is not, as some would like us to believe, just another opinion.

Right-wing thorn in Macron's side

Staring out from the front page of right wing Le Point is the leader of France's conservative Republicans party, Laurent Wauquiez. The magazine promises to tell us everything about the man who it says has become a thorn in the side of President Emmanuel Macron.

That may be wishful thinking on the part of Le Point, at least for the moment, as Wauquiez is struggling to assert his authority within his own party and most French people when questioned say they have little confidence in him.

But Le Point is certain that two recent by-election victories in which the Macron candidate was defeated by the Republicans has changed all of that and confirmed him as the opposition favourite.

And Le Point says there is every reason to believe that Wauquiez's party could win more victories as there more by-elections are to come -.six in total, in fact, including four in March alone.

So watch this space. But even if he has scored some successes, to be elected president of France Wauquiez needs to attract voters from across the political spectrum and not just from the far right, Le Point warns.

How can French schools do better?

Left-leaning Marianne devotes its attention to schools in France and in particular to Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanqueur.

The magazine wonders whether Blanqueur will be the Inspector Gadget of the French education system.

"Gadget" due to the new measures he has introduced, including a daily dictation, singing practice and the banning of mobile phones in class.

Marianne says that even though all of these measures have received the support of the general public, they are not backed by a large number of schoolteachers, who say they are just gestures. What they want, it says, is for the state to invest in major reforms to the education system.

Is Bitcoin the money of the future?

The world's first universal currency, the Bitcoin, is the front page cover story in L'Express this week.

The magazine says that, beyond the yoyo of speculation, the Bitcoin marks the beginning of what will be major changes to world currencies.

And even if it is not the money of the future, it writes, we are at the dawn of a major revolution.

So should we attempt to take advantage of the Bitcoin in order to make a quick profit or should we beware of investing in something which is not officially recognised?

And what about the banks in all of this, and the world's leading economies?

Are they just simply overwhelmed by it all?

And then there is the question of what role Bitcoins are playing in cybercrime and dirty money.

L'Express attempts to answer all of these questions in a series of articles.

It speculates that investing in Bitcoin is a bit like playing Russian roulette. It can either bring in the profits or cause enormous losses. So beware! The bubble of speculation may have grown, writes L'Express, but it will surely burst. But whatever happens, the Bitcoin surely marks the beginning of an alternative to the world banking system, it concludes.

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