French press review 10 August 2011

The violence in the UK is making headlines in France with comparisons to the headline-grabbing riots in this country in the past. There's worry about the European Central Bank and charges that bosses exploit trainees. And how much would you pay for friends on Twitter?


“A Disunited Kingdom” says Libération. It published an editorial comparing the violence in the UK to unrest in France in 2007. Then too, riots broke out after police killed two teenagers in the Paris suburbs.

Click to access the Google Map UK riots
Google Map

The paper also warns that the UK government should not reduce the unrest to organised looting, but should see it as a wake-up call in what the paper calls “an unequal society”. The article says that this is proof that Britain’s dream of a truly multicultural society is limited.

Le Figaro also leads with the story, though it has a much more factual approach, saying it’s a “political mobilisation against rioters”.

Also in Le Figaro, “Germany fights getting old.” According to the article, Germany has the highest proportion of old people in any European country, and its population could fall by 20 per cent in the next 50 years.

The article never mentions how Germany plans to “fight” that, but rather talks about a general trend in the country. An increasing number of elderly people move to the big cities for two reasons: all services are nearby and there is a large choice of cultural entertainment.

At the same time, the German government is looking to raise the retirement age to 75. In other words, German seniors might outnumber youth. Still, the dream of a nice life after retirement is getting further and further away.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

Communist paper L’Humanité calls it “the putsch of the summer”. The European Central Bank came up with a programme to save Italy from drowning in its ever-growing debt. The paper disagrees with the fact the ECB should have any power of enforcing a “unilateral programme” on any European country.

In the past days, the paper has been very critical of crisis, saying capitalist governments have failed to do anything to prevent it.

This is the first time the European Central Bank has dictated a political programme to anyone, it says. The paper is also very critical of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who both supported the plan.

L’Humanité doesn’t give an alternative in this edition, but going back to yesterday’s and Monday’s paper, it wants the country to move away from being controlled by financial institutions, markets, and unemployment rates, and instead take control of them.

Catholic newspaper La Croix carries a report on internships in France this morning. According to the article, 32 per cent of French students will do at least one internship during the course of their studies. But experiences vary. Some even report being “abused” in a professional sense.

That is, many companies use an intern as a replacement for an employee because an intern is much cheaper. That often means, interns will work as an office assistance and/or secretary instead of learning the job.

On top of that, they are paid so little that many simply can’t afford to take an internship, a situation the French government wants to put an end to.

How much are you willing to pay for 100 friends on Twitter? How about one yuan? Le Figaro says, that’s how much Chinese company Yangcheng Media charges for a person to increase their number of friends on the Chinese version of the microblogging site.

And a lot of people are ready to hand over the money, saying that others are more likely to follow them if they have a large number of friends.

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