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Press Review

French press review 13 October 2010

3 min

Le Monde's front page has Socialist Ségolène Royal calling on the government to suspend the disputed pension reform. That might seem a bit late in the day, since the proposals have already been approved by parliament and are currently steaming through the Senate.

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But those opposed to the changes still think they can get the powers-that-be to water down the legislation.

There were three-and-a-half million protestors on French streets yesterday, according to the trade unions.

The police saw only one point two million (which discrepancy may help to explain French crime rates), but everyone agrees that it was the biggest crowd since the start of this lamentable dispute.

Prime Minister Frank Fillon is annoyed that lots of secondary school kids were involved in yesterday's demonstrations.

He says the sneaky socialists encouraged the young to desert their classrooms simply to boost the number of protestors.

No, says party leader Martine Aubry, the young are getting involved because the reform affects them too. If their fathers and grandfathers are forced to work until the age of 67, that creates a blockage in the labour market.

Let the old retire as quickly as possible, say the kids, because THEY deserve the rest, and WE want their jobs.

Right-wing Le Figaro accepts that yesterday's turn-out was impressive, but gives pride of place to Fillon's determination that there will be no more concessions.

They also look at how much this sort of thing costs the unions, and are happy to announce that each trade union pays between 30,000 and 400,000 euros for each day of action.

This is mostly to rent buses to transport protestors, for the printing of rabidly anti-government tracts, and those big balloons that wobble along above the marchers don't come cheap either.

Libération looks at what life holds for the Chilean miners, currently being brought to the surface after being trapped underground for over two months.

They are emerging into the glare of the world's media, with no fewer than 1,700 news organisations accredited to cover the rescue.

The pope sent them 33 sets of rosary beads. Sony sent 33 games consoles, but the psychologists said they shouldn't be used since they would isolate individuals from the group.

They've each been offered 10,000 dollars by the Chilean business magnate, Leonardo Farkas, which must seem like peanuts compared to the 400,000 dollars being offered for exclusive interveiws and book rights.

And they've been invited to come to the Santiago Bernabeu stadium to watch Real Madrid play football, whenever they like.

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