French press review 25 January 2011

One can't help but feel that as sorry as French President Nicolas Sarkozy must be about the bomb explosion at Moscow’s airport, the explosion has stolen his headlines in the French press. Having gone to the trouble of changing his much-criticised presidential style at a press conference yesterday, the third of his term, the bomb went bang.

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It wasn’t entirely missed by the papers. Sarkozy does get two headlines: Financial daily Les Echos says "Sarkozy has high ambitions for the G20", referring to France's six months at the helm of the organisation.

The paper reports on the number of dossiers that are on the president's agenda, one of which is “limiting the volatility of agricultural commodities”. A big ambition indeed, even for the French president.

The other paper to carry a Sarkozy headline is the communist paper l'Humanité. It says that while the President makes announcements about saving the world, he is forgetting France.

Libération covers the story of the President’s press conference through two angles, the first being his apology over the way the French government handled the Tunisian revolt.

In an article entitled “Sarkozy's embarrassed excuses”, the paper reports Sarkozy's words yesterday: “We in France underestimated the Tunisians’s desire for freedom.” A difficult thing to admit, cedes the paper.

The second article on the press conference covers the president's “very ambitious G20”. How ambitious? Well, he just wants to invent a new monetary system, create innovative taxes to finance development, overhaul the role of the IMF and - as mentioned above - stabilise commodity prices. In six months.

But Sarkozy aside, the Moscow attack dominates all of the papers this morning. Le Figaro runs with the headline “Carnage at Moscow Airport”, while Libération simply leads with “The Carnage”.

In the editorial in the paper admits that Russia has fallen prey to terrorists in recent years, but calls on the Mevedev-Putin duo to respect human rights as they chase down the people behind the bombing.

It says the second war in Chechnya at the turn of the millennium "wounded or killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians” and the “reprisals, torture and extrajudicial executions started a cycle of revenge” that continues to be felt in Russia today.

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