French press review 15 August 2014

Confusion around the Vladmir Putin’s so called humanitarian convoy bound for Pro-Russian eastern Ukraine makes front page news in today’s French press.

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This is amid continuing international suspicions that the 300 trucks en route to Donetsk and Luhansk, the two cities surrounded by Ukrainian forces, are probably loaded with military supplies and not food for civilians trapped in the fighting. Le Monde says there of several issues about the operation which need clarification, including the role being played by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Russia says the Red Cross has given them the green lights, but Kiev has said it must be inspected by its customs officials and representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe before being allowed onto Ukrainian soil.

Le Monde also comments about France’s decision to supply without delay sophisticated weapons to Kurdish rebels trying to resist insurgents of the Islamist state on the verge of overrunning in Iraq. French foreign minister Laurent Fabius justified the move pointing to the urgent need to match the weapons the Jihadists captured from the defeated Iraqi army.
According to the paper, the good side of the French move in the wake of the humanitarian disaster taking place in Iraq is that it has forced a response from hesitating allies Germany and the United Kingdom. Le Monde reports that EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has convened a meeting of European foreign ministers in Brussels today to discuss the humanitarian tragedy facing Iraq’s Christian and Yezidi minorities.

Africa sceptics will have to swallow their pessimism after reading a new report by the United Nations Children’s Fund about what the world will be in 2050. The UN children’s fund projects that in just 36 years, 40 percent of all births on the globe will come from Africa. UNICEF is calling for massive investment on health and education

Le Parisien/Aujourd’hui en France wonders where the summer has gone this year. This is as French vacationers have had to bring out not just their umbrellas but pullovers as well, to cope with a cold wave unseen at this time of the year which is showing no signs of going away anytime soon.

The weather is a detail to French President Francois Hollande who is in an impasse, according to Le Monde after the French economy ground to a standstill in the second quarter. Official figures published by the national statistics office INSEE Thursday showed that France's gross domestic product was flat in the second three months of the
year, prompting the finance minister Michel Sapin to slash the government's forecast for growth in 2014 to "around 0.5 percent" compared with a previous projection of 1.0 percent. In an opinion article published by Le Monde, Sapin revised for France's public deficit forecast, "above 4.0 percent of gross domestic product" this year the clearest indication yet that Paris will once again miss its European engagement to cut its deficit to three per cent as prescribed under the budget stability pact. Le Monde claims that this will only fan fears that France could drag down the stuttering recovery of the eurozone.

President Francois Hollande has been hosting a number of African leaders at the commemoration the allied landings in the countryside on August 15, 1944 which completed the liberation of France. L’Humanité publishes an album of one hundred photographs taken 70 years ago which tell the story of the Maquis, the uprisings from the regions. The photographs are rich in history and untold secrets and are accompanied by emotional testimonies about an inescapable event of our history, a moment no one should forget, according to the Communist party newspaper.

 

 

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