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France

French weekly magazines review

media

This week two of the French weeklies have the same topic on their front pages: Freemasons.

Conservative Le Point and left leaning le Nouvel Observateur both have freemasonry on their covers. Le Point is going for the headline "Hollande and his Freemasons" while le Nouvel Obs opts for "The Freemasons who govern us".

Just in case you're not familiar with freemasonry, it's a fraternal organisation created in the 16th century and which today exist across the world. Essentially it is a semi-secret organisation with its own codes and practices.

Le Point notes that it has been a while since the French government has featured so many members of the organisation. Three out of four ministers are thought to be freemasons. The dossier also features a piece on the strong links between the Socialist party and the freemasons, and gives an overview of their relationship over the centuries.

Le Nouvel Observateur is also interested in the ties between the party and the organisation. Saying the latter will try to influence issues like the protection of secularism, gay marriage as well as the right to vote for immigrants.

But in what way? Like Le Point, it profiles of members of François Hollande’s government who could be part of the secret brotherhood as well as some of the key players from the organisations. It also notes that more and more women are part of the order, however few of them are powerful, notes le Nouvel Obs.

L'Express has dedicated this week's issue to Dominique Strauss Khan and what it calls a counter investigation. It's exclusively publishing excerps from a book that it says establishes the truth on the DSK New York affair in which he allegedly raped a hotel chamber maid. The magazine's publisher is also going to be publishing the (whole) book in French and features an interview of the newsweek journalist who wrote it.

Apparently what makes John Solomon's book unique is that it focuses on how poorly the case was handled. Speedy assumptions, declarations. The paper writes the main character is really Cyrus Vance, the prosecutor. So it's really more about the court case, not really about wether the woman was sexually assaulted.

Another case is that of the Carlton in Lille, northern France, where DSK is said to be involved in a prostitution ring. The magazine looks at the possible outcomes but one thing is clear, there's no clean slate for DSK.

Dossier: The Strauss-Kahn affair rocks France, IMF

Aujourd'hui en France's supplement is a summary of 2012 in photos. The front page is even graced with a photo of Félix Baumgartner, the man who made the hightest jump in the history of mankind. Inside the magazine, pictures range from those taken on TV sets, pandas, famous actors, Olympians, military coups, election results and many more...

And finally, Le Figaro magazine this week encourages its readers to embark on an adventure and has ten travel ideas for 2013. Suggestions include a horse-riding safari in Botswanna, desert trips in Mongolia, Kayaking in Lake Powell in the US, flying in a Hydra plane (the ones that can land on water)...why not even cruise around icebergs or board a spaceship?

Lovely journeys to dream about unless you can actually afford them.

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