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French press review Press review Vietnam Religion Hunger Death penalty

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French press review 30 April 2015

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A look back to the end of the war in Vietnam, the strange case of a French girl sent home from school because her skirt was too long, suggestions for keeping all of humanity well fed and slow progress in abolishing "the archaic institution of state murder".


The prize for headline of the day goes to communist L'Humanité for "Vietnam liberated," a reference to the fact that, on this day 40 years ago, three decades of what L'Huma calls "colonial war" came to an end with the undignified flight of the Americans from the

Dossier: May 68

southern Vietnamese capital, Saigon, and the first steps towards reunification.

The communist paper's front-page editorial is unyielding, unforgiving. The Americans, the world's most powerful nation, we are told, were forced to flee in disgrace, leaving behind a people who had been drowned in napalm, agent orange and high explosives, but who still refused to yield.

L'Humanité reminds today's readers that the paper was at the forefront of the struggle against US imperial aggression in south-east Asia. 30 April 1975 was a day to celebrate.

The military victory was not, of course, the end of Vietnam's woes, post-war troubles deepened by a vicious international blockade. But the Vietnamese survived even that. They still need our support today, says L'Humanité.

Le Monde gives the top of its front page to the latest controversy over religious symbols in schools.

You will know that French law prohibits the wearing of any indication of religious affiliation in the nation's schools. All religions are included but the practical impact is most felt by the muslim community, whose girls are forbidden the wearing of veils and headscarves.

Now, in the story given front-page prominence by Le Monde, a Muslim girl has been sent home because her skirt was too long.

The principal of the school in the north-eastern Ardennes region said the 15-year-old had been refused admission to her school because her long dress was an ostentatious sign of religious affiliation.

There have, apparently, been a series of recent confrontations between the authorities and Muslim students over the dress code in the same school. There will probably be more.

Catholic La Croix takes the occasion of the opening of the Universal Exhibition in Milan tomorrow to ask "how do we feed everybody".

The theme of the Milan expo is divided between food and energy, with the emphasis on saving the planet and keeping all of its human inhabitants fed.

There is, says La Croix, a crying inequality, with obesity now a huge problem for the West, while many in the developing world suffer malnutrition or famine.

The Catholic daily proposes five solutions: developed agriculture needs to produce less while improving quality, the West needs to return to the model of the family farm, getting away from the vast projects imposed by the multinational food firms.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

We alse need to waste less, stop using fish to feed farm animals, and respect the "five Ps" rule, an objective which loses some of its punch in English. The "Ps" in question are peace, price, protection and property, so far so good, followed by "puits," the French word for wells.

The basic idea is clear enough. People need to be given ownership of their land, a suitable environment for growing and selling any surplus and they need access to clean water.

None of this is likely to happen any day soon. Or at all.

With the fate of Frenchman Serge Atlaoui, sentenced to death in Indonesia for drug crimes and awaiting execution, Libération looks at what the paper calls "the archaic institution of state murder".

There are no fewer than 58 nations that still impose the death penalty and actually carry out capital sentences. Twenty-eight of the 50 states which make up the USA still put people to death. China may execute as many as 10,000 prisoners evert year. No one knows for sure.

Libération notes that the death penalty is gradually being abolished worldwide but the progress against legal barbarity is slow.