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French press review 13 October 2012

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French President François Hollande first trip to Africa dominates our review this morning.


“Hollande buries Françafrique in Dakar” shouts Libération in its headline as it analyses the results of the French president's trip to the Senegalese capital on Friday.

“Hollande proclaims death of Françafrique” also concludes Aujourd’hui en France. The paper stresses the warm reception granted to the new French leader by the Senegalese people and their government.

Libération reports that Hollande pledged before Senegal’s parliament to banish the secretive dispensation that allowed the former colonial power to make and unmake governments in the former colonies.

Le Monde gives pride of place to the glowing homage paid by the new French leader to people of Senegal. The newspaper reports that in an address to the country’s lawmakers, President François Hollande issued a fervent call for a new era based on frank relations between the two historic partners.

Libération on its part, notes that Hollande was at ease visiting Senegal after he described the west African country, a rare “nation which has understood that democracy is the engine of development”.

Hollande stopped over in Dakar en route to what Libération describes as a “mined” Francophonie summit in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Libé notes that Hollande faces a lukewarm reception in Kinshasa as the country’s authorities did not like his blunt remarks on Tuesday when he described the human rights situation in the DRC as “absolutely unacceptable”.

Aujourd’hui en France expects the conflict in Mali to be high on the agenda of the summit, in the light of the take over of the north of the country by pro-Al Qaeda Islamists.

The paper also reports that the UN Security Council voted unanimously on Friday to pass a French-sponsored resolution giving west African countries 45 days to finalise the plan for military intervention to take out the armed Islamists.

Dossier - The Bettencourt scandal

Le Monde has new revelations about the Bettencourt corruption scandal that polarsed French politics during the five-year term of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy.

The paper says it has found out that Sarkozy held several secret rendezvous with state prosecutor Philippe Courroye, who was in charge of the case. Sarkozy stands accused of obtaining millions in illegal funds from the tycoon family to bankroll his presidential campaign, charges he has always denied.

Le Parisien/Aujourd’hui en France expresses surprise at the Nobel prize committee’s decision to award its 2012 peace prize to the EU. The newspaper says the international community is astonished by the choice.

Libération remarks wryly on Europe’s failure to win the Nobel economics prize as it struggles to contain an unprecedented period of economic recession marked by spiralling public debt and financial crisis.

Le Figaro raises its eyebrows at a new Socialist lawmaker's bill that seeke to institute a 64-euro TV licence for second homes. The conservative paper, warns that the supplementary levy is infuriating struggling countryside home-owners who are already opposed to the government's two-euro licence increase.

Le Parisien/Aujourd’hui en France reviews a “phenomenal” new erotic book that is causing a sensation around the world. It is 50 Shades of Grey the very saucy love affair narrated by the British author EL James.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

Over 40 million copies of the novel have been sold since it came out last year. Le Parisien expects a Harry Potter-style stampede in the bookshops when it hits the stands in France next week.

And L’Equipe congratulates Japan on its “ippon” win over France at the Stade de France here in Paris Friday night. The sport daily describes the one-nil victory over the Blues in the friendly encounter as “historic” for Japan and a setback for France who face World champions Spain in a crucial World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.