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France

French Press Review 16 December 2017

media

Mickey Mouse gobbles up Rupert Murdoch's Fox and the European entertainment industry braces for tough times. Emmanuel Macron, a French president who likes symbols, is this weekend celebrating his 40th birthday in the royal château at Chambord. And London police are trying to catch a cat killer.

Le Monde's print edition gives the main headline to this week's billion-dollar merger between the Walt Disney company and Rupert Murdoch's Fox corporation.

Le Monde assures us that we are witnessing nothing less than a revolution in the planetary entertainment business.

The problem, of course, is Netflix, the video-on-demand operation which has changed the way people access films. And, indeed, the way films get made and distributed. Murdoch's 20th Century Fox is clearly 100 years off the pace.

Left-leaning Libération fears that the real impact of this new industry behemoth will be a standardisation of the cultural offer.

Libé's editorial suggests that the Disney emblem, the innocently smiling Michael Mouse, should be replaced by something larger and more rapacious, especially since Mouse management policy is for a huge expansion in Asia and Europe.

With all those open questions, one thing is certain: 86-year-old Rupert Murdoch is a lot richer, the Disney deal being worth something like 56 billion euros.

Happy Birthday, Mr President

French President Emmanuel Macron will be 40-years-old next week, on 21 December to be precise. He's marking the occasion this weekend with a private bash in the highly symbolic, not to say massively expensive, Château de Chambord, built by François I back in the days when France had kings, not presidents.

In fact, as Le Monde makes clear, this is no show-biz glitz and glam occasion. It's a quiet family weekend with wife Brigitte, her children and grandchildren. And they haven't taken over the whole white marble massive wedding cake which is the château itself, just the former groundsman's quarters, now divided into two four-star appartments, and available for the weekend for less than 1,000 euros, which the president will pay from his own funds.

Macron arrived last night, in time to meet the members of the local hunt who'd spent the day making life miserable and over for some of the deer who inhabit the vast former royal domain surrounding the château. He did not attend the after-hunt dinner.

Le Monde reminds us that Thierry Cost, who is an enthusiastic chaser of wild animals and member of the National Hunting Federation, was also one of Macron's closest advisors during the presidential campaign.

Today the birthday boy and his missus will visit the zoo at Beauval to check up on Yuan Meng, the baby panda who boasts Brigritte as his godmother. "Yuan Meng" means "the realisation of a dream or a wish".

Tonight Emmanuel will blow out his 40 candles in a reception room in the main building of the château. We wish him a very happy birthday. And sweet dreams.

Police close in on Croydon Cat Ripper

Le Figaro reports that the long arm of the law at Scotland Yard is on the trail of the bastard who's been killing cats in south London, Brighton and Northampton for the past two years.

Over 400 furry felines have used up all nine of their lives at the hands of a psychopathic, not to say pathetic, serial killer who favours decapitation. Foxes and rabbits have been victims as well, but this ghastly geezer seems to prefer cats.

The police, aided by an animal rights group wonderfully called Snarl, have put together a portrait of the killer. He's white, in his 40s, about one metre 80, and is probably from the Croydon area - hence his macabre nick name, the Croydon Cat Ripper.

He's very methodical and has managed to evade detection for two years. The police are worried that he might get tired of defenceless animals and turn to human to find more victims.

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