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French press review 25 August 2015

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The press inspects the ravages of China's Black Monday as the crash causes panic and heavy losses in global markets. The heroes of the Paris-Amsterdam train are knighted at the Elysee palace by President Francois Hollande, and Moamer Kadhafi's last prime minister grants his first interview since the fall of the Libyan dictator.


The national dailies carry photographs of nail-biting traders reeling over the crash on Monday of the Shanghai and Shenzhen stocks markets, causing panic across global markets over the condition of China’s faltering economy. Le Monde reports that the stocks slump saw China's benchmark index in Shanghai fall by 8.5 per cent to 3209 points, the worst in eight years.

Le Figaro inspects the wreckage of the European stocks on Black Monday, pointing out that Paris was forced to abandon 5.35 per cent with London and Frankfurt losing more than 3 per cent respectively.

Libération reports that the skidding of the Shanghai stock exchange raises fears of another global crisis as it drove the Dow Jones Industrial Average in New York to initially dive by more than 1,000 points, or 6 per cent. US oil finished below 40 dollars (35 euros) a barrel for the first time in six years.

All it took was for the China to cough for the markets to start staggering, comments the Communist party daily in a satirical note adding that the strong smell of a crash filled the air at all the trading places around the planet.

The crash follows China's shock devaluation of the yuan two weeks ago, following a string of weak economic data. As China’s central bank announced the injection of 23 billion dollars (20 billion euros) into the money market to ease tight liquidity, several papers quote  economists as saying that investors may have overreacted about economic risks in China. Some say the collapse of the equity bubble tells experts next to nothing about the real state of China's economy.

But as Libération explains, despite the snowball effect the crash is having on the global economy, life continues for the Chinese from a good yuan to a bad yuan.

The three Americans and the Briton who foiled a massacre by the Morrocan gunman Ayoub El Khazzani on the Amsterdam-Paris train Friday are among the newsmakers, after they received the French knighthood from the hands of President Francois Hollande on Monday.

The Catholic daily La Croix published a photograph of the Elysée palace ceremony in honour of off-duty US servicemen Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos, as well as British citizen Chris Norman. President Hollande praised them for their bravery “which enabled a tragedy to be averted".

"Your heroism will remain a great source of inspiration for the people of France," Hollande concluded.

The French president also praised a 28-year-old Frenchman who first tried to disarm the gunman but has preferred to remain anonymous. The Catholic newspaper says he will be decorated later alongside 51-year-old Franco-American Mark Moogalian, who is still in hospital with wounds suffered while trying to subdue the suspected terrorist.

Le Parisien has a beautiful video of the decoration ceremony complete with full military honours held at the Elysée palace.

Le Monde publishes excerpts of Ayoub El Khazzani’s preliminary interrogation by police. A source close to the investigation told the paper that Khazzani denies being a terrorist saying he had planned to use the Kalashnikov and war weapons discovered in his luggage for a robbery. Investigators are looking for possible accomplices after records showed that Khazzani worked in France for three months in 2014.

Libération obtained a rare scoop from Libya, an exclusive interview with Moamer Kadhafi’s last prime minister, Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, who was sentenced to death on 28 July for incitement to murder, rape and “undermining the integrity of the state”.

It reports that Al-Mahmoudi, who is held at Tripoli’s maximum security Hadhba prison, said he was simply applying the laws of the Kadhafi regime at the time. "I’m well treated and allowed to see my family and lawyers," he told Libé. Asked if the Kadhafi regime funded the 2007 campaign of ex-French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Al-Mahmouchi said “yes”, adding with a smile that he would love to address the issue in the book he hopes to write if time allowed. His death sentence by firing squad is obviously in the back of his mind.