French press review 20 June 2017

The French government is due for a post-election shake-up. What's likely to happen? Climate scientists predict that 75 percent of the world population will risk dying of the heat by the end of this century. And what is neither a plant, nor an animal, nor a mushroom but is capable of movement and has a memory, despite having no brain?


Right-wing paper Le Figaro looks at what is likely to happen to Emmanuel Macron's inner government circle now that the parliamentary geography is established.

The president has given his prime minister, Edouard Philippe, until 6.00pm tomorrow to reorganise the team.

Le Figaro says that what was initially envisaged as the simple shifting of a few chairs, with the possible nomination of an additional junior minister or two, will now probably be a more sweeping affair. The poor turnout in Sunday's second round and the relative failure of the hoped-for transfer of votes from the left-wing electorate to the presidential party have left the incoming administration with several major problems.

The crucial question concerns the extent to which Emmanuel Macron feels it is necessary to open his team to some stars from the political universe he has effectively destroyed.

And there is also the question of how Macron and his mates are going to keep their fan base going now that the election season is over. A rulebook is being prepared and 350,000 enthusiasts have been given the phone number to enable them to contribute to the shaping of their party's future.

Thanks to their electoral success, the Marching Republicans will benefit from 20 million euros of public cash each year. They intend to spend that money on transforming the party into a "citizens' intelligence forum" and avoid lapsing into the mold of the traditional political groups.

Facebook film lands Algerian in jail

Libération reports that the Algerian who filmed himself on Facebook at the weekend, suspending an 18-month child from the balcony of an apartment and threatening to drop the child unless his page got 1,000 "likes" has been sentenced to jail.

The man was identified and arrested in record time. His relationship to the child was not revealed. Tried yesterday for putting the life of an infant in danger, he was given two years behind bars.

Heat to become major killer by 2100

As 51 of France's 101 departments are warned to expect heatwave conditions today, Le Monde predicts that 75 percent of the world population will risk dying of the heat by the end of this century.

The French paper quotes the Nature Climate Change review as saying that one-third of the global population currently faces the risk of death because of excessive temperatures and that that proportion will rise to three-quarters by the year 2100.

The culprit, whether US President Donald Trump wants to believe it or not, is greenhouse gas emissions.

And, even if the most optimistic proposals for limiting air polution are met, half of the human race can still expect to be exposed to potentially lethal temperatures.

While the report is based on figures from only the last 30 years, it does draw its examples from a wide range of geographically different locations and thus gives a global overview of a situation which has tended, up to now, to be regarded as local.

The combination to avoid is high temperature and high humidity, particularly difficult for older people in densely populated urban areas.

The authors of the report say that, on the question of heatwaves, the human race now has a choice between bad and terrible.

Donald Trump has air-conditioning.

Is this a blob or the future of life?

Le Monde's science pages devote space to something officially called "Physarum polycephalum", which is neither a plant, nor an animal, nor a mushroom. But it is capable of movement and has a memory, even if it has no brain. Le Monde's headline calls it rather bluntly "the blob".

The reason the blob is mentioned by the august French daily is that Physarum polycephalum appears to ignore the five basic rules of biochemistry. It moves and feeds like an animal, produces pigments like a plant and reproduces like a fungus. But the blob fits into none of the three great classifications of species.

For the moment, this cross-category mystery lives on bacteria which it finds on fallen logs and turf bogs. But it is completely impervious to fire, drowning or being chopped up. It can resist poisoning.

The blob could turn out to be the future of life on the planet.

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