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France

French press review 12 January 2017

media

The US president-elect Donald Trump was in fighting form yesterday for his first press conference since his election victory. French presidential hopeful François Fillon was on the campaign trail in the southern city of Nice, promising to strengthen the national borders and cut down the number of migrants. And is it reasonable for the health authorities to insist that we all get vaccinated against flu?

"Donald Trump fights back" is how Le Monde summarises yesterday's first official press confrerence by the US president-elect.

It was a performance that will be remembered, according to the centrist daily, for the violence of Trump's reaction to questioning by a journalist from the CNN channel, one of the media outlets which has reported claims that the Russian secret services possess a file of embarrassing personal and financial information on the soon-to-be American leader. He refused to allow the reporter to ask a question, accusing CNN of diffusing "fake news".

Left-leaning Libération says we learned nothing new yesterday, and had better get used to it. The incoming White House management is going to be marked by a very different style from the calm and dignified Obama years.

The new president is going to have to make up some ground with his intelligence agencies, having roundly criticised the FBI, the CIA and the NSA for their parts in the release of the news of the Russian file.

He's also going to have to face the wrath of the press for his refusal to answer questions from media which he considers hostile.

Libération goes through the details of the press conference, revealingly describing Trump's choice of vocabulary as being close to that of a kid in primary school.

Who are the French Catholics?

La Croix attempts to explain who the French Catholics are and what they stand for.

The crucial statistic seems to be the one revealing that less than two percent of the French population go to Mass on a weekly basis, the vast majority of the nation's Catholics limiting their observance to baptism, marriage and burial, with an occasional visit to the church for Christmas and Easter.

The other revealing finding of the La Croix survey is that only six percent of French Catholics took part in the protest marches against marriage for everyone.

Fillon visits Nice and plays the immigrant card

Right-wing daily Le Figaro gives top billing to François Fillon, the man chosen by the mainstream right as its presidential challenger.

Yesterday Fillon was campaigning in Nice, one of the heartlands of the far-right National Front. He defended his proposal to limit the number of migrants accepted by France each year, with parliament deciding just how many will be allowed in.

This is not particularly new, since immigration was a key plank in Fillon's campaign for the right-wing primary. He says he wants to reform the Schengen agreement which created an osternsibly borderless Europe for EU nationals but also facilitates the unimpeded movement of immigrants, criminals and terrorists.

Flu epidemic puts French hospitals under pressure

Le Figaro also looks at how the nation is dealing with the current flu epidemic.

We still haven't reached the peak in terms of the number likely to be affected but several hospitals are already struggling to cope with the influx of victims.

Overcrowded emergency services, staff unable to keep up and an insufficient number of beds are the key problems. Officials are stressing that all patients so far have been properly dealt with, without undue delay, but that pressure on the system is building up dangerously.

The memory of the 18,300 people who died during the 2014-2015 epidemic is clearly not far from most minds.

In the Figaro readers' poll on the wisdom of making flu vaccination obligatory, with 25,000 votes, 71 percent are against the idea of forcing people to take the jab.

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