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Strike Catalonia France Press review Terrorism

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French press review 10 October 2017


Catalonia, anti-terrorist legislation and another day of industrial inaction here in France are the day's top stories.

In Spain Catalan separatists took another heavy blow yesterday when the mayor of Barcelona came out against any unilateral declaration of independence.

The mayor of the region's capital joins other political figures who remain broadly favourable to the separatist cause but reject any rapid declaration in the wake of the recent referendum.

Regional president Carles Puigdemont is to address the Catalan parliament this evening on the current situation. The opposition is afraid a decision to declare independence will be voted at the session.

Anti-terrorist compromise agreed

The disputed French anti-terrorist legislation, intended to replace the state of emergency which has been renewed every three months since the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, took a major step towards becoming law yesterday.

MPs from the governing majority made certain compromises in their meeting with senators yesterday and the way is now clear for a final reading and vote on the bill in the National Assembly tomorrow.

Public-sector workers told change is inevitable

Right-wing paper Le Figaro is not happy about today's call for a nationwide strike by workers in the public sector.

Le Figaro warns that there could be disruptions in the nation's schools, hospitals, train stations and airports. Five-and-a-half million workers are potentially concerned. How many will choose to strike remains to be seen.

Seventy-two percent of the 36,000 Le Figaro readers who had voted a few minutes ago were of the opinion that today's protest against job cuts and diminishing real salaries is not justified.

The right-wing paper's editorial says the trade unions, having failed to impress anybody with their paltry protests against new labour laws, are now hoping to make a better showing by calling on their public-sector storm troops and making spending power the centre of the debate.

It's all hogwash, says Le Figaro. Civil service salaries have indeed been frozen for years. But, thanks to an impenetrably complex series of bonuses and benefits, French public employees have actually seen their purchasing power increase while the rest of us have struggled to make ends meet.

The facts are simple, says Le Figaro: France is currently running an annual deficit of 80 billion euros and owes a total of 2,230 billion. The country cannot afford to go on financing 5.6 million civil servants who work an average of 35 hours per week. The world has changed. The French civil service will have to change, too. Get back to work!

Is Donald Trump leading us all to nuclear disaster?

Le Monde's editorial says these are strange times in the nuclear disarmament sector.

Barely a week after the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the American president Donald Trump is due to make his latest pronouncement on the Iranian atomic research deal.

That deal was already done and dusted under Barack Obama. In exchange for an end to certain lines of research and Tehran's acceptance of international supervision, international sanctions against the Islamic Republic were lifted.

Except that the majority Republicans in the US Congress added a clause to the original treaty, obliging the US president to certify every three months that Iran is behaving itself.

Trump has already had to sign two such certificates because every ounce of information collected by the numerous federal agencies indicates that Tehran really is being good.

But this is a deal that The Donald has several times described as "catastrophic," without explaining why. Saudi Arabia and Israel dislike it. They are crucial US allies. Maybe that's enough?

Anyway, the next certification date is upon us and there are signs that the big man in Washington has had enough. If he torpedoes the deal, says Le Monde, that will strengthen the position of Tehran's hard-liners and open the way to a resumption of the Islamic regime's military nuclear programme.

And that could add another country to the list of nuclear powers, like Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea, who have not signed the non-proliferation treaty.

It will certainly not help the efforts of the Nobel winners to make the world a less dangerous place.

Where are the women Nobel winners?

Speaking of this year's Nobel prizes, Le Monde notes that the 12 winners of the six awards in medicine, physics, chemistry, economics, literature and peace  - the economics prize is financed by the Bank of Sweden and is not strictly a Nobel, but don't be picky -. are 11 men and one organisation. Not a woman to be seen anywhere. Clearly, gender equality has some way to go at the Swedish Academy.