French press review 4 August 2011

Text by: Carla Westerheide
4 min

Is Hosni Mubarak's trial a good idea? What's on Silvio Berlusconi's mind? Why are the French seeing more UFOs? ?


Libération leads with the trial of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The front page pictures him lying in a hospital bed behind bars in the courtroom yesterday; a type of humiliation the paper says that could actually hurt the recent revolution in Egypt. The reason it says, is that this could have been an opportunity to rewrite history and step away from trial that purely serve as revenge.

Interactive map of France

Le Figaro has a similar headline. It says the trial has other Arab leaders shaking in their boots, but could also mean that it would push them to cling on to power even more so that they won’t suffer the same fate as the former Egyptian leader.

The paper also looks at why a trial of a former dictator is fairly limited. Mubarak is the first ousted dictator to stand trial amid the Arab Spring. But instead of being charged with what he did during his 30-year reign, he’s accused of embezzlement and ordering the army to fire on demonstrators in February. A way, the article says, for other politicians and public officials still in office to not draw attention to their own involvement.

Arab leaders are not the only ones trembling. European heads of state also have a lot on their mind. Italy’s debt crisis is making the headline of catholic newspaper La Croix. It says, the debt is too big and Berlusconi’s government is too powerless to deal with it. The Italian Prime Minister appeared in front of parliament yesterday, but many worry that Italy could be next on the increasingly long list of eurozone countries in need of a bailout.

Aujourd’hui en France is looking at UFOs, literally. The number of sightings in France has increased in recent weeks. The paper says generally there are “rational explanations”. The simplest one is a meteorite entering the atmosphere giving off a bright light.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

Nonetheless, 22 to 23 per cent of sightings cannot be explained.

According to Le Figaro, all the rain that has hit France and much of Europe recently could get you a free holiday. A campsite in The Netherlands promised to not charge visitors if the average temperature during their stay was below 20°C. The temperature will be measure everyday at 2 pm local time.

The campsite says it just had too many cancellations. But there is a catch: you have to stay a minimum of five consecutive days. That is why, the manager says, the chance of not paying anything is rather slim. There is a similar concept in France. Some hotels will allow you to cancel your holiday 48 hours in advance if rain is expected on the first day of your stay. A screenshot of MeteoFrance’s internet forecast is required.

Staying with vacations, La Croix publishes an article on summer camp leaders. They are overworked. The EU Court of Justice is considering making it mandatory for camp leaders to take an 11-hour long break every day. Unions are in favour of the measure, while organisers fear it would increase the cost of summer camps by 20 to 30 per cent in France, in turn making it too expensive for some families to send their children on holiday.

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