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French press review 14 September 2016


What can be done to deradicalise those who have converted to militant Islam? Will the French left still exist as a political force after the next elections? And will smartphone applications make us all wealthier and happier?

Right-wing Le Figaro is worried about what the French government plans to do to "deradicalise" those who have converted to militant Islam.

There are currently 11,811 people exciting police interest because of a sudden allignment with suspected Islamist radicals, their open approval of terrorism, or their hostility to national institutions. That's a 70 percent increase in just seven months. And there's the difficult question of how many dangerous radicals will return to France from the Islamic State war zone in Syria and Iraq.

A treatment centre, officially a Centre for Prevention and Insertion through Citizenship, which can cater for 30 individuals is about to be opened in the town of Beaumont-en-Véron in central France, inspiring anger and fear among the commune's 2,900 residents.

Le Figaro says previous efforts to reverse the process of radicalisation have simply not worked. The recent attack against prison officers in Osny was, for example, perpetrated by an inmate participating in a deradicalisation programme.

And a sociologist interviewed by Le Figaro, and who is one of the guiding lights in the Beaumont-en-Véron scheme, admits that no one has yet found a single dependable method of turning potential terrorists into normal citizens.

More exaggerations about the death of French sociailism

Following yesterday's warning from the former justice minister Christiane Taubira, that the French left was on its last leg, today in Libération we have the prime minister, Manuel Valls, saying exactly the same thing.

The government leader said yesterday that Marine Le Pen of the far right would certainly survive into the second round of next year's presidential election, and socialism will die . . . unless, that is, the rebels and the discontents in the current socialist machine wake up and realise that they are making things easy for the leader of the Front National.

With eight months to go to the presidential election, in which, if we are to believe current opinion polls, the socialist will do well to finish last, Valls reminds the faithful that creating a unified political bloc does not mean denying differences. The rebel socialists who met last weekend at La Rochelle to plan the replacement of President Hollande, and the vast horde of less venomous anti-Hollandites at the communist summer party, La Fête de l'Humanité, might find that a bit rich to digest.

The future is in your phone, and you should be worried

Le Monde reports from the future. If you think things are bad right now, just wait till you read what's in store tomorrow . . .

Thanks to ever more sophisticated and specialised computer applications and the internet, we will soon be able to earn lots more money for doing nothing productive. Think of Airbnb, where strangers pay you to let them live in your home while you go on holidays somewhere else.

If that doesn't seem such a bad thing, Le Monde suggests that we think about the impact of virtual hotels on cities already deep in a housing crisis, about the immunity to taxation of the companies which run services like Airbnb, and about the fact that, this summer, for example, there were more tourists than Parisians living in the Marais district of the capital.

Soon, other people will do practically everything for us. There are applications which will get your house cleaned, your shirts ironed, your dog walked. You can even get someone else to queue in your place . . .

That will leave us with lots of extra time . . . which, Le Monde suggests, we will waste checking the internet for more and better ways to save more time . . .

Our emotional lives will be organised by dating sites which are programmed to choose potential partners with such minute accuracy that we'll end up meeting the same person every time, and it will be ourselves . . .

We'll spend a lot of time watching TV series on streaming. And worrying about why our friends get more likes than we do on their Facebook accounts.

The good news is that there are already a number of applications designed to help you cope with life in the cyberwilderness. And you could always throw away your smartphone.