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French press review 26 July 2016


The controversy over security on the night of the Bastille Day terrorist attack still dominates French dailies as the Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve denounces the claims by a Nice municipal police officer as "a villainous campaign" - one aimed at "destabilising the government" for Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

First to Libération, which says that in Nice, in the wake of the Bastille Day terrorist attack, the police officer Sandra Bertin is both doing the questioning - and being questioned. This follows accusations from the municipal police officer - who was in charge of CCTV on the night of the Nice attack - that the interior ministry put pressure on her to make changes to the report on security measures on July 14.

The controversy which began on the weekend continues, reports Liberation, with the Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve denouncing it as "a villainous campaign" as he files a defamation complaint.

Bertin's lawyer, Adrien Verrier, says he has filed a report with the French prosecutor - though has not yet specified the charges that are likely to be made.

Meanwhile, in an interview with Libération, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo urges cities to do much more to address the problems of pollution, immigration and poverty.

Hidalgo - who is spearheading an international coalition of mayors - said she is convinced cities hold the keys to deal with major global challenges - but they're not doing enough. "We must fight so that people recognise that cities are part of the solution," she said

Together with London's new lord mayor, Sadiq Khan, Hidalgo signed a provocative joint statement in the wake of Brexit, stressing that 21st century world capitals could be a "counterweight to the lethargy of the United Nations" on climate change and other pressing urban matters.

Germany under siege

"Germany reeling after a series of attacks" is the main headline of Le Monde after "four violent attacks were perpetrated on its territory" in less than a week - including two by young refugees in just one evening on Sunday.

After the shooting by a "mentally deranged" man in Munich on Friday night, and the axe attack by a young Afghan man in a train on July 18 - claimed by the Islamic State Group - are the latest attacks in the southern German cities of Reutlingen and Ansbach.

First with a 21-year-old Syrian refugee killing a woman with a machete and injuring five before being arrested. Then with a 27-year-old Syrian blowing himself up at the entrance of a music festival, and injuring 12. In both these cases, no concrete evidence of a connection with Islamist terrorism has yet been made by police.

Intellectual Le Monde also performs an "autopsy" on what it calls the failed "putsch" in Turkey on July 15 - claiming President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has emerged from the failed military coup as "a hero" and is now referred to as the "generalissimo" - a term often used for the most senior army officers in Turkey's Ottoman Empire.

On its website today Le Monde buys into the Nice security debate quoting Prime Minister Manuel Valls as denouncing an "unworthy" controversy which "aims to destabilize the government."

French workers pay Europe's top taxes

For right-winged Le Figaro, French workers are the most highly taxed in Europe. That's the verdict of the Brussels-based economic think tank, the Institut Molinari, which says French employees have worked hard "to fund the public sphere and social protection".

In doing so, France has "dethroned" Belgium on the podium of the highest taxes in Europe it finds, with the Belgians carrying out reforms to substantially reduce the fiscal and social pressure.

The Molinari Institute also noted that France does not benefit from very efficient public services. Despite a high level of expenditure on social services - the Hexagon ranks only 22nd on the United Nation's human development index for life expectancy, education and per capita income.

In the mind of a terrorist

And finally, the Catholic daily, Le Croix, turns its gaze to "What the psychiatrists say about terrorists". For most experts, few terrorists suffer psychiatric disorders in the strict sense claims the paper, but many display "a serious psychological fragility".





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