French press review 4 November 2010

It's two years to the day that Barack Obama was elected as president of the United States. How things have changed. The headlines of hope, the pictures of a fresh-faced president have been replaced by predictions of gridlock and a pensive, furrowed brow.


"Obama under republican pressure" reads the headline of the conservative daily Le Figaro. The paper says that just two years into his term, Obama is condemned to compromise with his adversaries if he wants to continue his agenda of reform

"A spanking" that's how leftist Libération is describing the midterm results this morning. On the inside pages, the paper looks into why the Democratic Party lost its majority in the House of Representatives.

The economy is the number one reason the paper says. Obama basically inherited a mess and he hasn't managed to convey just how big a mess it was to the electorate.

What he also didn't manage to do is get the same people out to vote that he did two years ago. The young, ethnic minorities and the socially weak saw him sail to victory two years ago, but they didn't put their ballots into the boxes this time.

His promises didn't help either. Even though he's kept a fair share of them, like the disengagement of troops in iraq, healthcare reform and stem cell research. He'd led people to believe that things would change for the better even faster.

And finally there's the Tea Party. Those the far-right wingers that detest central government with zeal that have only served to pump up their supporters by highlighting all of the above.

Chinese President Hu Jintao is in town today for a two-day state visit. And the story of the day on the front page on Le Figaro looks forward to what culinary delights the French will treat the man.

Now before coming over, Hu put in a request to visit the seaside region of the Côte d'Azur. Probably becase he'd heard that a plethora of African heads of state, Russian President Dimitri Medvede, Mick Jagger and Elton John have all eaten at the oh so chichi Petite Maison restaurant.

What will they be eating? Petit farcis (that's french for small and fiddly things) and courgette flowers to start. Pasta with truffles followed for the first course followed by sea bass.

That'll help the contracts along.

Le Monde is reporting that the unpronouncable volcano in Iceland is threatening to cause havoc as it did over the summer.

Experts studyiung Eyjafjallajökull have noticed that a river flowing from the angry god has has begun flowing at a faster rate than predicted.

This normally indicates incresed activity deep underground. Which in turn means that it could be blowing its top at any moment.

I'm sure the airline industry is following the story very closely indeed.


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