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France

French press review 24 February 2016

media DR

It's all about refugees in today's French Press review. La Croix headlines on the plight of female migrants in the Calais camp and L'Humanité on how Greece can cope with the influx of asylum seekers.  Libé is also calling for a European debate on pesticides.

Left-wing Libération headlines on pesticides this morning. The paper, citing several studies, argues pesticides are overwhelmingly present in our daily lives.

"The use of pesticides grew by 5% between 2009 and 2013. And 9.2% in 2013. That year, 92% of rivers monitored in France contained pesticides" explains the daily.

And it's not just food: according to the paper, a study recently found traces of pesticides in tampons.

Why then, wonders Libération, when we know those chemicals are dangerous for our health, the French government and the European Union are not doing more to fight their use?

"A significant portion of the public has been exposed to an obvious health risk" says an editorial. "It is time to open a national - and European - debate on the damages of agricultural progress" it concludes.

Le Figaro worries about Algeria this morning. The paper calls the north African country a "ticking timebomb" and says Europe should be scared of it.

The right-wing paper starts one if article with the story of the construction of the tallest minaret in the world, currently under construction in the country.The building was "a dream" of current President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The paper thinks that it should be scrapped, given the current state of the Algerian economy. Le Figaro says the country could go bankrupt in 3 years if the price of crude oil stays as low as it is now.

An editorial fears that when the Algerian youth realises "there's no more opportunities there" it might decide to move to Europe. And that is something Le Figaro says would be "fatal for both Europe and Algeria".

The country looks like its President: "fragile and with an uncertain future" concludes the paper.

Catholic daily La Croix headlines on female migrants this morning. "Women of Calais" reads the paper's headline.

There's currently 400 women living in the Calais migrant camp - also called Jungle  and all of them are more at risk when it comes to violence explains the daily.

A thousand people were supposed to be evacuated from the camp yesterday, but the move was delayed.

The paper has a long - and heartwarming - report on the living conditions of women in the camp. A lot of those women are mothers, and some of them were pregnant when they arrive. Not all of them accept to visit doctors or hospital, because of fears they'll be arrested and sent back to where they came from.

"The situation is disastrous. There's stealing, rapes and violences. Some women have to sell their bodies to survive" writes the paper.

"A friend of mine only had 20000 euros" explains an Afghan mother. "The smuggler told her he would be enough if she slept with him. She's still in Calais".

Communist daily L'Humanité also leads with refugees and the possible closure of the "Balkan road" that refugees use, from Greece, to reach western Europe.

Some European states, as well as the European Comission, are blaiming Greece for the massive influx of refugees arriving in Europe says l'Huma. But the Greek can't solve that challenge by themselves says the paper, which reminds us of a few hard truths.

One million refugges arrived in Europe in 2015, with 850.000 landing first in Greece. 3692 people drowned while trying to reach the shores of Europe.

With only a little more than 10 million inhabitants, it's hard to see how Greece could handle, by itself, the crisis. I'll let you medidate on one last number: 500 million, that's the number of people living in Europe.

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