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French press review 20 October 2018

Saudi Arabia changes track in the Khashoggi case. Donald Trump is saying nothing to upset the powers behind the petrol pump in Riyad.Will immunotherapy save us all? Podcast, anyone?


The Khashoggi case continues to cast a shadow over the front page of Le Monde, the centrist paper's main headline noting that the authorities in Riyad have finally accepted that the murdered journalist did, indeed, die on the premises of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.

Le Monde says the affair further underlines the cynical attitude of US President Donald Trump who has refused to allow the Khashoggi killing to influence the warm relations between Washington and Riyad.

Richard Haass, the president of the US Foreign Relations Council, has warned that there comes a point when an amoral foreign policy actually becomes an immoral one. Haass, a member of several previous Republican admiunistrations, says Trump's foreign policy has now reached that point.

The political specialist Robert Kagan says in the Washington Post, which also published the work of the dead Jamal Khashoggi, that Trump's behaviour in this scandalous affair symbolises the abdication by the United States from the role of global restraining force. Kagan adds that cynically letting powerful allies do whatever they like is no guarantee of stability. Quite the opposite, in fact.

The business of making the body fight back

The editorial in Le Figaro is devoted to the emerging science of immunotherapy, which has recently been in the media spotlight following the award of the Nobel Prize to two of the sectors leading researchers, the American James Allison and Tasuku Honjo from Japan.

In simplistic terms, immunotherapy involves activating the body's natural defence mechanisms so that, instead of collapsing in the face of an attack by cancerous cells, the organism actually fights back.

There have already been limlited but promising experimental results.

The treatment is currently very expensive warns Le Figaro, going on to hope that the law of the market and intense competition between the giants of the global pharmaceutical industry will eventually lead to price reductions.

There is hope. But probably not for tomorrow or the next day.

Listen to the future in your very own podcast

The Paris Podcast Festival is taking place this weekend. For the occasion, the headline writers in left-leaning Libération have cleverly rewritten the French republican slogan to read "liberté, égalité, oralité".

Podcasts are the story of the moment. There are documentaries, reports, interviews, fiction, even press reviews, some of them running into series, and all available on your smartphone, computer, ironing board or flush toilet. A brave new world. Libé says the traditional radio stations are experimenting, dividing their efforts between traditional radio and trying to grab a place in the growing podcast sector. Little does Libé know, but at least one traditional broadcaster is working to abolish the radio element completely and turn its footsoldiers into podcast mercenaries. Even the traditional printed press is getting in on the act, with more and more papers and magazines offering podcast versions of their features and interviews.

The market risks saturation. All you need to get involved is some way to record sound, a smartphone, say, and you're up and running. Where yesterday's plugged in leaders of public opinion would have hammered out a blog, today's generation just upload a podcast.

Will there be room for us all? If we're all podcasting, who will have the time to do any listening? What about editorial control? Will the podcast universe rapidly become a nightmare like the internet . . . billions of bytes of information, much of it dubious, some of it dangerous, most of it just rattling away uselessly?

The answers are coming soon, to a podcast near you. Listen up!

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