French press review 26 January 2011

There's plenty of protest in today's French papers. A man pictured in centrist daily Le Monde is carrying a placard that reads "Hands off my daughter" - a reference to the ongoing allegations surrounding Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi. Meanwhile Over in right-wing Le Figaro, a protester in Cairo is brandishing the text "Moubarak - get out!".

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Communist daily L'Humanité gives its front page over to the ongoing protests in Tunisia, declaring that relations between Paris and Tunis will have to be revolutionised in line with the new political geography in Tunisia.

Catholic daily La Croix leads with a survey it commissioned in which it asked people whether capitalism and globalisation are working. According to the poll, only 15 per cent of French and 26 per cent of Italians favour the free market, but 55 per cent of Americans and 63 per cent of Australians give their approval. It's the Chinese, however, who are most in favour, with 65 per cent agreeing that the market economy and capitalism are the answer.

None of which is much good to you if you're a car-owner in Beijing. Already, in a bid to cut down on congestion, there's one day a week that you're not allowed on the road, depending on the last digit on your numberplate. That's if you have a numberplate - if you don't have one, then your car can't come out of the garage.

This, one might think, just involves some administrative paperwork, but authorities have said they will only give out 240,000 numberplates this year, barely a third of what was given out last year. They'll be allocated by lottery, so if your name doesn't come out of the hat, your car doesn't come out of the garage. The lottery took place today and 20,000 numberplates have been allocated - which has left just under 200,000 disappointed drivers.

Left-wing Libération is looking ahead to France's 2012 presidential election with a front cover that features Jean-Luc Mélenchon, describing him as "the man who wants to make DSK lose". The DSK in question is French socialist and current head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Mélenchon wants to contest the 2012 election for the Front de Gauche party and he responds to accusations of splitting France's left-wing vote.

Business daily Les Echos looks at a "horrible year" for timekeeping on French trains. It gives all the figures on which trains were late in 2010, how late they were and how often they were late. Le Monde is also worried about trains this morning with an article that questions if high-speed rail is a good idea. The problem with high-speed trains is that, because they're expensive, they tend to suck up financial resources at the expense of humble regional lines. Also, tickets aren't cheap, so fewer and fewer people can take them as ticket prices increase. The paper reports that, instead, environmentalists want us to put our money into slow networks that more people can use.

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