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France

French press review 15 January 2016

media DR

Corsica, Schengen, GoodYear, Donald Trump and the army are the main front page topics this morning. And there's Rob Lawrie, the Englishman arrested for trying to smuggle a four-year-old Afghan refugee across the English Channel. Even if the little girl is still living in the Calais Jungle.

Corsica's recently elected pro-independence regional chiefs are due to meet Prime Minister Manuel Valls later today. Libération says we can expect trouble.

Schengen is Europe's supposedly border-free zone, currently under de facto suspension in many places as panicked governments try to limit the number of refugees they let in. Catholic La Croix wonders if we won't all soon have to dust off our passports.

Click here to read more articles on Paris attacks

GoodYear concerns the eight trade unionists sentenced earlier this week to prison terms for their parts in holding two managers of the tyre company hostage in protest against plans to shut a northern French plant.

Communist L'Humanité is upset. Its main headline is the mixed metaphorical mouthful "Shock wave provokes surge of indignation".

The army gets a mention because of President François Hollande's New Year message, delivered yesterday. More money and men for the fight against terrorism and the war against Islamic State, an end to the Sangaris peace-keeping operation in the Central African Republic are the main points.

Le Monde’s main story offers to analyse “What Donald Trump’s lies say about America.”

Trump is the billionaire property mogul who is running for the Republican presidential nomination on a dubious mix of anti-Muslim racism and populist rant.

He is currently the opinion poll favourite to win the nomination, a fact which Le Monde says suggests an America deeply unsure of its future or its place in the world, ignorant of global realities, frightened of foreigners and hoping to hide in its military-financial shell.

In the most recent televised debate, Trump was accused by his closest challenger, the Texas senator Ted Cruz, of representing New York values, meaning social-liberal, pro-abortion and favourable to same-sex marriages. Trump was scandalised, reminding his opponent of the dark hours of the city following the 11 September attacks. Moderate Republican voices are simply not being heard in this campaign.

Triumphant Trump is either a chilling prospect or a gift to whoever wins the Democratic nomination, since it’s hard to see a majority of US voters accepting a blustering demagogue as their president. Or is it?

Click for RFI reports of the Charlie Hebdo killings

Le Monde also reports that supporters of the Olympic Marseille football club have accepted the call from the French chief rabbi and will wear kippa-style head coverings at their next match, a French Cup last sixteen clash against Montpellier on 20 January.
This follows a machete attack against a Marseille teacher who was wearing the kippa.

A message on the supporters’ club website calling on all members to show solidarity by wearing some form of head covering ends with the words “So that we don’t have to be afraid to be ourselves, so that all our cultures constitute a richness. In the name of freedom. We are proud to be Marseillais, French, Christian, Orthodox, Jew, Muslim.”

You might remember the case of English former soldier Rob Lawrie, who was working as a volunteer helping would-be immigrants trapped in the slum known as the Jungle near the northern French port of Calais.

Last year Lawrie was arrested by French border police who found a four-year-old Afghan girl in his vehicle and accused of assisting a person without documentation, a crime which could have cost him five years in jail and 30,000 euros.

The court accepted that he was trying to save the child from the horrors of the Jungle and unite her with members of her family already established in the United Kingdom. He was found guilty of the bizarre-sounding offence of “illegal solidarity” and was given a suspended fine of 1,000 euros for transporting the child without ensuring that she was wearing a seatbelt.

After the court session yesterday, an emotional Rob Lawrie appeared with the little Afghan girl in his arms. He said French justice has proved itself to be humane.

The saddest part of the whole thing is the fact that she remains in the Jungle.

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