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French Press Review 30 November 2017


Donald Trump and North Korea are making the headlines this morning, along with several stories on the plight of the Rohingyas in Myanmar and in Bangladesh, where the Pope is visiting at the moment.

Both the online versions of Le Monde and Le Figaro headline with US President Donald Trump and basically how to deal with North Korea.

Right leaning Le Figaro goes big online on North Korea - no fewer than eight stories on its main page, and the paper dedicates its editorial to it as well. The main article headlines “Trump keeps a low profile when it comes to North Korea” - Donald Trump, low profile?

But, Le Figaro points out that contrary to Japan and South Korea, the US president did not summon his national security council. Trump has indeed called his counterpart in Beijing, but that’s about it. Where are the big guns?

In its editorial - “The North Korean dilemma” - Le Figaro says that with this latest missile test, Pyongyang has officially and quite aggressively, burst into the Nuclear Club. But what to do? Use military force or try the diplomatic path? Dilemma, dilemma.

Le Figaro concludes though that this should serve as a lesson when it comes to dealing with Iran. While Trump wants to get rid of the nuclear deal, maybe this should make him reconsider the fact that an imperfect deal might be better than no deal at all.

Centrist Le Monde headlines online with Trump asking Beijing to put pressure on North Korea, and for further sanctions after North Korea's launch of its intercontinental ballistic missile.

Trump has called Chinese President Xi Jinping and urged him to "cut off the oil from North Korea", a move that would deal a crippling blow to North Korea's economy.

The paper also reports that US ambassador to the Security Council, Nikki Haley, called on all nations to cut off all ties with North Korea saying that "If war comes, make no mistake: The North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed."

But Le Monde’s editorial comes back to President Emmanuel Macron’s speech in Africa - and his promises pledged to the continent. Macron took advantage of his youth, the paper says, claiming he and the young generation of Africans were of a similar age -- hence have similar goals.

Macron was after all born after all African independence campaigns, has nothing on his resume that dates from the colonial era. But, Le Monde concludes, rather than the speech itself, Macron should breakaway from his predecessors with his methods. Or so the continent hopes.

Left leaning Libération headlines with "Bitcoin - the money that drives us crazy." Why? Because of the stunning rise of the cryptocurrency, which only just broke the symbolic milestone of $10 000.

Bitcoin’s price has risen dramatically over the past year. While it took nearly four months to climb from $1 000 to $2 000, it only took three day to soar from $9 000 to $10 000. Libé wonders in its editorial - when will the crash be?

But also on its frontpage, Libé has a story on the plight of the Rohingyas in Bangladesh, headlining “the Trap”. The article takes us inside the homes of some of the minority’s families, explaining how they live without proper ID, how they are not technically allowed to work, hence earn a living, and are therefore almost entirely dependent on international aid.

It is worth mentioning that Le Monde has an article on how the Pope talked about the minority with Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi without ever using the word “Rohingyas” - in order not to “upset” the military, but also at the request of the Catholic chuch in Myanmar in order to protect local christians.

The Pope's trip to Myanmar is also on the frontpage of La Croix. Within its pages, La Croix reports the Pope has called on Buddhist monks to have an open dialogue between them and the muslim minority. The Pope underlined the need to heal the wounds of a much divided country.

The paper also reports that Christians in Bangladesh - the Pope’s next stop - are awaiting his visit. They are one of the minorities there, but they are allowed to show and live their faith as they wish… so far, the paper says, without fear either.