Listen Download Podcast
  • RFI English News flash 04h00 - 04h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/28 04h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 04h10 - 04h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/28 04h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 05h00 - 05h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/28 05h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 05h10 - 05h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/28 05h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h00 - 06h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/28 06h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h10 - 06h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/28 06h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h30 - 06h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/28 06h30 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h33 - 06h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/28 06h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h00 - 07h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/28 07h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h30 - 07h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/28 07h30 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 07/24 14h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h06 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/28 14h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 14h03 - 14h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 07/24 14h03 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h06 - 14h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/28 14h06 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h30 - 14h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/28 14h30 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h33 - 14h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/28 14h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 07/24 16h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h06 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 07/28 16h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h03 - 16h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 07/24 16h03 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h30 - 16h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/28 16h30 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h33 - 17h00 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 07/24 16h33 GMT
To take full advantage of multimedia content, you must have the Flash plugin installed in your browser. To connect, you need to enable cookies in your browser settings. For an optimal navigation, the RFI site is compatible with the following browsers: Internet Explorer 8 and above, Firefox 10 and +, Safari 3+, Chrome 17 and + etc.
France

French press review 18 March 2016

media DR

French footballer Karim Benzema is back in the news, on the front pages as opposed to the sports section. There have been more protests against proposals to change French labour law. The European Central Bank could be on the brink of giving away money, for free. And do you know when to turn off your mobile phone?

There's more legal trouble on the horizon for the French footballer Karim Benzema, now suspected of involvement in money laundering. That's the main story in Libération.

L'Humanité says French students were out in force again yesterday, protesting against proposed changes to labour law.

Catholic La Croix is really struggling, with a main headline which reads "A year without winter", the season coming to an end having been the mildest for at least a century.

And right-wing Le Figaro says as many as forty French regional administrations are having trouble making ends meet, with enlarged responsibilities on the payment side and less money coming in from central government. Nothing less than the recent reform of French territotial organisation is at stake, according to the conservative paper's editorial, which warns of the risk of social explosion.

There are, mercifully, some interesting stories inside in Le Monde . . . One article bluntly wonders "Is there life after work?"

Well, is there?

According to Le Monde the modern hyper-connected executive can work where and when she or he wishes. That's one of the blessings of smartphones, computer tablets, conference links, Uncle Tom Cobbly and all. But it's also a curse, because some people never know when to stop. There's always one more email to be sent to head office in a different time zone, or virtual meetings with colleagues on the other side of the planet. To say nothing of the deluge of potentially relevant information that has to be noted, analysed and passed on.

Three-quarters of all French managers admit that they check professional emails during their time off, some in the middle of the night when they reach for the phone to see the time, and then just stray to the message icon.

Some workers say they feel obliged to prove that they are loyal members of the team, ready to answer a call from the boss in the middle of the Sunday family dinner. One guy leaves the phone on while he's in bed with his girlfriend. (How long, I wonder, before he gets an SMS telling him what to do with his Nokia?) Others need to feel important, in the loop, part of the decision-making process. Several speak of their relation to their phones they way smokers speak of cigarettes.

Apart from the health issues, there's clearly a problem of efficiency: with the average French manager devoting nearly six hours of every working day to dealing with the average 121 emails they receive, is it any wonder nearly 60 per cent of those in the so-called knowledge sector say they have less than 30 minutes per day for thinking. Makes you think?

Free money for everyone?

Le Monde asks the question "What if the European Central Bank was to give ordinary consumers the money to get the economy growing again?"

The bank is busily throwing our money down the drain at the current rate of 80 billion euros each month in an effort to get the economy breathing again.

Milton Friedman had the idea back in the '60s that if give people money, they'll buy products, the shops and factories will take on more staff, the wheels will begin to turn, and we'll all live happily ever after. It's called the helicopter principle: they drop the money, we do the rest.

Mario Draghi, the man who runs the ECB, says it's an interesting idea and is worth looking into. UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is a big supporter.

Giving money to the banks for next to nothing hasn't worked, since nobody wants to borrow right now. The technical expression is "you can't force an ass full of water to drink". And the ass is, of course, us, the consumers.

So, the ECB could either give the money to the member governments who would spend it reducing our individual tax bills; or the central bank could send each and every one of us a personal cheque. Except that it can't legally do either. No handouts to governments and no handouts to ordinary citizens are the second and third rules in the ECB book. Don't go broke is the first one.

But there are ways around the legal constraints says Le Monde. And those who scoff at the idea of free money for everyone should look at Mario Draghi's record so far as the head bean-counter the ECB already buys debt from the 19 member governments, and pays their central banks to borrow money. Mario is an imaginative guy, and his back is to the wall. Analysts say he's creative and audacious.

Free money could be the next big thing.

Related
 
Sorry but the period of time connection to the operation is exceeded.