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French press review 16 May 2011

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Is Dominique Strauss-Kahn's career over? Are the French Socialist Party's presidential hopes wrecked? Was there a conspiracy? Were there lots of conspiracies? And do you fancy deer, pheasant, wild rice and courgettes at just four euros? You can have it at a Brussels restaurant ... if you're a dog.

Dominique Strauss-Khan dominates this morning's French newspapers, and the headlines would make you think that it was the end of the world, or even worse.

"Shockwave" is how Catholic La Croix sees weekend events in New York, suggesting that the legal difficulties of the head of the International Monetary Fund leave that institution in Queer Streeet, at a moment when sorting out Greek debt needs all hands on deck.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

And DSK's arrest is not without implications for the French Socialists, many of whom had seen the IMF director as the great hope of the left in next year's presidential battle.

All of that, suggests La Croix, has been washed away by a wave of humiliation.

In its editorial the Catholic daily emphasises that the essential questions remain the sober establishment of the truth, both for the alleged victim and the alleged attacker.

Popular Le Parisien goes to town on the conspiracy theory. Already the finger of suspicion has been pointed at the CIA, the French secret service, working for President Nicolas Sarkozy, or perhaps activists from the presidential UMP party.

If the local political link seems far-fetched, there's more credibility to the suggestion that DSK was ambushed by IMF rivals, who dislike his attitude towards defaulting European economies.

Perhaps a fair trial will bring some light to bear on what remains, for the moment, a very murky affair.

Right-wing Le Figaro gives pride of place to the political implications of the scandal, with the headline "Presidential thunderbolt".

Le Figaro does not even pretend to allow the accused the normal legal entitlement to be considered innocent until proved guilty.

The right-wingers are happy to report that DSK will spend 20 years in jail, if he's eventually convicted, and this before he even faces a judge to learn if there's a case against him.

Le Figaro reports the New York hotel management's statement that DSK's accuser has been a model employee in her three years at New York's Times Square.

The right-wing paper is happy to report that the IMF is in total crisis.

And that the Socialist Party is falling apart at the seams.

And Le Figaro is delighted to remind readers of DSK's 2008 affair with a colleague at the International Monetary Fund, and the accusations of one Tristane Banon, that Strauss-Khan tried to rape her in 2002.

Neither of those cases ever came before a court of law, so it might be more reasonable for a respectable newspaper to stick to the verifiable facts.

Les Echos, Le Parisien and Libération all devote special supplements to the affair.

"Unthinkable" is the key word in the business daily's headline.

"Time up" says Le Parisien.

"DSK OUT" is Libé's curt summary.

And just in case you're not getting the apocalyptic message, communist L'Humanité says the events are an "earthquake" for the socialists.

You have to wonder what the headline writers will do if they ever have a real disaster to report.

The front page of Le Figaro reports from the Toutou Bar, a new venue in a posh district of Brussels. On the menu, a subtle mix of deer, pheasant, wild rice and courgettes at just four euros.

The bio pancakes are just two euros each. If the prices seem low, it's because the menu is for dogs. No more left-overs for Fido.

At the Toutou Bar, the dog is king, and his owner can have a spot of brunch while his four-legged friend is tucking into the pheasant and deer at four euros a shot.

They even have a beer, non-alcoholic, based on bone marrow, called, cleverly, Red Dog.

Facing a certain amount of understandable criticism, the bar's owner says "even if I close down, that won't stop people from dying of hunger."

Perhaps he could offer them the deer, pheasant rice and courgettes at prices fit for a dog.

 
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