French press review 9 March 2013

Web-watchers monitor internet suicide announcements. A stagnant French economy means more cuts to come. Fukushima recovers from its triple catastrophe ... but slowly. The music industry comes to terms with digital formats. Michaelangelo looks down on the cardinals' conclave and Le Nôtre's gardens welcome millions of tourists.


The front page of Aujourd'hui en France deals with the growing number of suicide announcements on the internet.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

According to the newspaper, 75 per cent of people who commit suicide announce their intention to do so beforehand.

But what used to be a written note or a message left on the answering machine is now posted on Twitter or Facebook, especially by troubled teens and young adults.

In fact, the number of suicide notes on social media platforms has doubled in only a year, says the paper, adding that most of those who have posted these messages have taken their own lives.

Pharos, an internet watch-initiative created in 2006 to fight against child pornography and criminal activities on the web, has been working to assist suicidal internet users, keeping on eye on different websites and chat rooms for alarming posts and messages.

Last year alone Pharos received 484 suicide alerts and intervened every time, dispatching police officers for assistance and alerting relatives and friends.

But sadly, notes Aujourd’hui en France, in some cases, the worse cannot be avoided. It gives the example of 15-year-old Amanda, a Canadian girl who was harassed by classmates and announced her will to end her life via a video posted on YouTube, only hours before she was found dead in her bedroom.

Right-wing Le Figaro’s front page again focuses on François Hollande’s weak economic performance and says the Socialist president is trapped by stagnant growth.

According to the paper, the decrease in industrial activity has had major negative effects on the government and will lead to more important financial cutbacks than initially expected with an extra five billion euros to be cut off the 2014 budget.

Le Figaro also dedicates its front page to Fukushima, two years after what it refers to as the triple Japanese catastrophe: the earthquake, the tsunami and the nuclear accident.

With the title “Fukushima’s slow rebirth”, a two-page report explains that inhabitants of the region of Tohoku still live in temporary housing, while the Japanese government works to relaunch its nuclear programme, as only two of its 50 reactors are active and energy expenditure has gone through the roof.

On a lighter note, left-wing Libération dedicates its front page to the revival of the music industry with the headline “The Bit Bang”;

After more than a decade of crisis, with plummeting sales and difficulty adapting to the digital format, the music industry has announced an increase in sales in 2012, says the paper.

With the development of legal downloading platforms such as iTunes, the music business has finally found an economically viable way to move from the physical format of CDs to the digital MP3.

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Art is also on the front page of Catholic newspaper La Croix but not in a musical form. Days before the conclave of cardinals’ gathering to elect a new pope, the paper publishes a two page report on the Sistine Chapel, where the vote will take place away from public eye and from the media.

And 400 years after his birth, André le Nôtre, the landscape architect responsible for the Château de Versailles gardens is also honoured by a front page headline of La Croix, which dedicates two pages to the artist’s legacy.

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