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French press review 8 August 2012


What to do about sharks off the island of Réunion; the debate on dismantling of Roma camps; the story of the Zara clothing empire which made its founder the world’s third biggest fortune; and a good sugary time to be had with children in the Sweets Museum in the south of France all feature in the French press today.

"What tshould be done about sharks?" asks the popular Aujourd’hui en France on its front page.

The daily devotes its first three pages to the heated discussion on deadly attacks by sharks on the inhabitants and tourists around the French island of Réunion. In the last 20 months, eight people have been attacked by sharks. Three of them have died.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

Even though the authorities have announced the capture of more than 20 sharks, the fear on the island of further attacks is not showing any sign of abating. That's understandable, since they impact directly on fishing, tourism and surfing industries.

Roms, what is the solution?”, asks Libération on its front page.

The left-wing daily gives its lead pages to the resurgent debate on the dismantling of Roma camps in France. According to the paper, Interior Minister Manuel Valls has given the go-ahead for the dismantling of camps following a court ruling in favour of the action.

The backlash to police action is somehow reminiscent of former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s time in office, when hr ordered the dismantling of Roma camps. Now, a Socialist minister is accused of copying a right-wing policy.

France offers Roms the chance to go back to Romania with a free air ticket, 300 euros per adult and 100 euros per child. However, notes the paper, many of those who accept the “return incentive” immediately come back to France.

In its editorial the paper reminds its readers that Roms are European citizens and “only the coordinated policy of the European Union can really help these communities which are victims of apartheid in their own country”.

In its business pages, conservative Le Figaro tells the story of the Zara clothing empire, “a success story which defies the crisis”, it says. Despite the severe economic recession ravaging its homeland, Spain, the paper says the textile giant seems immune to the crisis. Not only are its sales (and profits) not declining, but the group is continuing to grow against the odds.

According to the article the secret of the group’s success is in its capacity to create “fast fashion”: or to rapidly deploy new clothing trends. And Armancio Ortega, the group’s founder, has now become the owner of the world’s third biggest fortune.

London Olympic Games 2012

Vive l’arène (Long live the arena)!” proclaims the the sports L’Equipe.

The daily devotes its front page to the French basketball team which tonight is facing Spain in a fight for a semi-final place.

“We have a score to settle,” says the daily, which reminds its readers that in 2011 the French team was defeated by the Spaniards.

“We are ready and we have already shown last year that we can play well during important matches,” French captain Tony Parker tells the paper.

Aujoud’hui en France invites us to spend some “sugar time” in the south-west of France region of Languedoc Roussillon. The article features a report from the “Sweet Museum” run by manufacturer Haribo, in a town called Uzès. It's almost as if we were in the Charlie and chocolate factory movie, says the paper.

In this museum visitors advance by tasting various sweets, so, no wonder, notes the report, that it is the most popular museum in the region, with more than 300,000 annual visitors.

If you ever go there with your children, you can be sure they’ll learn everything there is to know about making sweets, concludes the paper.

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