French press review 30 May 2011

I'm not sure if it's a good sign or something else entirely, but there's no dominant story on this morning's French front pages.


Le Monde looks at the ill-fated Air France flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris in June 2009.

The crash investigators' report was published last week, and it clearly describes the facts which lead to the deaths of all 228 people on board the aircraft, without actually naming the cause or causes of the accident.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

Questions remain to be answered, crucially concerning the flight crew's reactions once a violent thunderstorm had switched off the automatic pilot.

Le Figaro has a whole country up for sale on its front page.

It's Greece, and the prime minister is trying to sell the national banks, the post office, the rail system, the airports and a big dish of mousaka, the whole lot for the knock-down, once-off, never-to-be-repeated price of 50 billion euros.

The idea is to raise enough money to pay the interest on Greek debts to the International Monetary Fund, money which was borrowed last year to keep Athens from collapsing under the weight of its own debts.

The trade unions and the political opposition have promised to resist all attempts at privatisation, so a summer of strikes and chaos is on the cards, and the IMF can whistle for its interest.

Journalists had better be careful about their clichés, the little, ready-made descriptions like "strife-torn" or "famine ravaged" for African countries.

Then there's "heavy fighting" as opposed to nice, gentle, quite friendly fighting, and so on. Well, since the arrest last week of Ratko Mladic, also known as the "Butcher of the Balkans" for his alleged role in the massacre of 8,000 Bosnians in 1995, the French Federation of Master Butchers has had enough.

According to Le Figaro, the federation says journalists should be more careful about the use of "butchery" and "butcher" to describe every Tom, Dick and Harry accused of crimes against humanity.

"We're a respectable profession," says Bernard Mehret, chief of the meatmen's federation, but he's clearly not talking about the price his members charge for spring lamb.

There are plenty of other words journalists could use, says Monsieur Mehret, but, unfortunately, he doesn't make any suggestions.

Back to the headlines.

Communist L'Humanité's main story suggests that French education is heading towards a situation where we'll have schools without teachers.

Cut-backs, retirement and a general tendency to consider a career as a teacher as only slightly worse than a career as, say, pond slime, means that there are fewer people teaching just as the French school population is on the rise.

With elections on the near horizon, the government has launched an advertising campaign to attract more trainees to the profession.

The ad promises that 17,000 jobs will be available in the education sector next year, without mentioning the fact that 33,000 people are retiring at the same time.

That means, trumpets L'Humanité, that half those retiring won't be replaced. And the campaign is costing 1.3 million euros, the equivalent of the cost of 300 full-time teachers for a year.

Catholic La Croix looks at the water shortage here in France, where half the nation's departments are currently living with water-restrictions, leading to talk of gloom and doom from the farming community, deprived of irrigation at the height of the growing season.

Business daily Les Echos reports that the German government met yesterday to decide on the details of winding-up the country's nuclear industry.

Big business bosses are worried about where the power to generate massive profits will come from. And the Finance Minister is worried about what the decision to close down Germany's nuclear reactors will do the national debt.

And anyway, in the case of an accident elsewhere, it's unlikely that a radioactive cloud would respect the national border.

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