French press review 23 May 2015

The French press turns its eye toward the Mediterranean with a story calling it the largest cemetery of migrants crossing to Europe, and a look at microscopic organisms collected in the sea in a scientific expedition.

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Liberation wonders in the headline spread across its front page, What is the first destination for African migrants? 

The report states that there is a tidal wave of immigration in Europe via the Mediterranean. 

The daily says that according to the European agency for border surveillance, illegal crossing to Europe nearly tripled between 2013 and 2014, from 100,000 to 274,000.

And the figure doesn’t seem to be going down this year. It quotes a Human Rights Watch report which states that 62,000 people have already crossed the Mediterranean or the Aegean Sea.

The paper says that the sea crossing on the Mediterranean is a deadly affair and the largest cemetery of migrants.

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, 3,419 migrants died in the Mediterranean in 2014.

This extensive report also deals with the security concerns related to these crossings, particularly the possibility of terrorists hiding as migrants.

Liberation also has a report on Europe's own drone project.

The daily says that the first European project for an armed drone was launched this fall.

Dassault Aviation and UK-based BAE Systems would assemble the drone while Rolls-Royce and Safran will provide the propulsion.

Thales and Selex ES will equip the sensors and electronics. The development and implementation of a demonstrator are planned for early 2017.

Le Monde's front page has a photograph of bright and colourful ocean creatures.

These are the organisms found in planktons that were collected by the scientific expedition schooner Tara.

The boat belonging to the country's centre for scientific research CNRS sailed around the world for four years to explore the little-known world of planktons.

Their first findings were published in several prestigious journals including the journal Science on Friday, 22 May.

There is a report in the inside page which provides details about the expedition.

It quotes scientist Chris Bowler as saying that these microorganisms are not only the basis of the entire food chain of the seas but they also affect the entire planet, including the carbon cycle.

They represent 80 per cent of ocean biomass through photosynthesis and produce half the oxygen we breathe.

The team aboard Tara managed to collect 35,000 samples from 210 sites.

Though a science expedition, it had its share of thrills. In the Gulf of Aden, the boat was given a cover by the French army to deter pirates.

The boat had to withstand gales in Antarctica as well as a big storm in the Mediterranean.

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