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French press review 3 November 2018


New Caledonia's future hangs in the balance as ethnic Kanaks and Europeans vote in a self determination referendum on Sunday. And can Saudi Arabia's torrents of dollars buy the world's silence over the Khashoggi murder?

The self-determination referendum scheduled in the French overseas Island of New Caledonia on Sunday, continues to dominate the news with several newspapers predicting a rejection of the offer of independence proposed to the people of the archipelago.

La Charente Libre is one of several publications betting on a "No" vote. It points to the balance of power within the electorate which is unfavorable to the native Kanaks leading the independence struggle.

The Charent publication doesn't believe the institutional saga of the territory lying some 18,000 kilometers away from Paris, is close to being resolved.

According to the publication even if the Yes vote carries the day, two more referenda will have to be organized between now and 2022 before New Caledonia can achieve independence.

For Le Journal de La Haute Marne deep resentments endure between the Kanaks and the rest of the Island's European population as well as differences in social status which have maintained a thick demarcation line between the two groups which in its view, to some, is as bad as segregation with regard to matters such as education and access to jobs.

L'Est Républicain says it can't exclude incidents breaking out during tomorrow's process. The regional publication claims that some opponents of the popular vote have called for a boycott.

For the newspaper, in the hypothesis that New Caledonia remains French,  Paris will need to find way of resolving the question of the status of ethnic Kanaks in French society. Otherwise, it warns, tensions could worsen and ruin 30 years of democratic efforts.

For Le Figaro, says that after several decades of deadly clashes and peace efforts, time has played its role in bringing down tensions between loyalists and pro-independence campaigners.

There is still a lot of work to be done, it says, to ensure that New Caledonia which became a French colony in 1853 can enjoy its unique status within the French Republic with serenity.

Républicain Lorrain reacts to the latest revelations about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a rogue operation inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul by a team sent from Riyadh on October 2.

This is after a top lieutenant to Turkley's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Khashoggi's dismembered body was "dissolved" in the consulate as part of an effort to leave no trace of the killing.

The paper holds that murder has not just severely tarnished the global reputation of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the oil-rich Gulf nation's de facto leader but also discredited the country, to a point where even its torrents of dollars, now and in the future, will be insufficient to buy the silence of the international community.

L'Est Républicain warns that the time has come to hold Riyadh accountable not only for Khashoggi's murder but its role in the world, notably the tragedy in Yemen where the Saudi-backed war claimed another casualty on Friday, seven year-old Amal Hussain, killed by famine and a collateral victim of the senseless struggle for influence between Riyadh and Teheran.

And today's Le Parisien has all you need to know about the thriving business of Sunday handymen in France. The paper claims that the new tinker men are turning around the face of the French economy by making money from small jobs at the homes of struggling families but also from internet platforms.

Le Parisien says some of the plumbers, painters and house moving helpers are professionals while others are not.

But in the paper’s view, both parties end up getting quite satisfied, with the handymen earning up to 1,500 euros per month according to a 61 year-old who has been earning a living from the business for over 12 years.


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