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French press review 7 March 2011

media Reuters

More than one paper has chosen not to run with Libya as a headline, preferring to look at the upcoming trial of ex-French presisdent Jacques Chirac. You will remember that Chirac stands accused of embezzlement and abuse of power relating to the so-called "fictitious jobs" scandal, dating back from his time as mayor of Paris.

He denies having used town hall funds to pay friends and allies for jobs that didn't exist. The most awaited trial here in France for many years now has, however, been thrown into a certain amount of confusion as Catholic La Croix reports today.

"Chirac Trial in Doubt" leads the paper this morning. Why? Well one of le President's co-defendants is to file this morning for what is called a question of constitutionality.

This basically means that a higher court will now have to rule of a point of law in the case, which could hold things up for a long time.

Right-leaning Le Figaro heads with "A possible delay to the trial". The paper sports a picture of a smiling Chirac on its front page.

Libération has chosen to go with the latest news on the extreme-right National Front here in France. The headline reads "Marine Le Pen at 23 per cent - The disturbing poll".

Disturbing, presumably because it brings back unsavoury memories for the newspaper of 2002, when Marine's father, Jean-Marie, made it to the second round of the presidentials with Chirac.

There is a certain amount of criticism in the paper over the techniques that were used for the poll, which was first published in Le Parisien over the weekend.

The fact that the poll was carried out on the internet has led many pollsters to say that the results cannot be read as 100 per cent reliable.

Two stories from China make the front pages this morning. The first is the lead on the cover of business daily Les Echos, which looks at Beijing's growth stretegy for the next four years.

The comes as the People's National Assembly meets for its annual pow-wow. Priorities for Hu Jintao's government are stopping the economy from overheating and reducing the gap between rich and poor.

Political reform, we are told, is not on the agenda.

The other Chinese story is carried by Le Figaro. Apparently the Chinese military is training up 10,000 pigeons to keep messages up in the case of conflict and a failure of more modern communication techniques.


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