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French Press Review 9 January 3018


Too many asylum seekers in France. The risk to health of night work. And, French motorists must slow down.

At the top of le Monde's front page is the headline "More than 100,000 asylum applications in France in 2017."

"With 100 412 asylum seekers in 2017, up 17 per cent from 2016, France crossed for the first time this symbolic threshold," the paper says.

Under international law - new arrivals must request asylum status in the first safe country they reach rather than in another country they prefer. But, it's a rule that, more often than not, is ignored.

The paper considers the problem at length on two inside pages.

Albanians are the most numerous among new arrivals, but the year 2017 saw the emergence of a new influx, coming from Africa

Among the top ten nationalities arriving in France, half came from this African continent.

Sudanese, who began arriving in numbers in 2015, have been joined in the top 10 by increasing number of Francophone migrants, namely Guineans, Ivorians, Congolese and Algerians.

The paper says the French government is working to ease tensions caused by increasing number of asylum seekers and intends a future law on asylum and immigration.

So far, Paris has drastically reduced the time to process applications to three months and aims to reach two months later this year.

Le Monde recalls that as soon after he was installed in the Elysée Palace President Emmanuel Macron moved to tackle the issue of illegal African migration, seeking to limit departures to Europe through close collaboration with the countries of the Sahel  and by working with Libyan forces and bringing in 3,000 African refugees by 2019 by a legal route rather than in unseaworthy boats.

Interior Minister Gérard Collomb is also working to reduce entry into France. He has focused mainly on Albania, putting pressure on the authorities there to deter departures. Last year, arrivals in France from Albania leap by 66 per cent compared with the previous year.

"Migrants are on all the political agendas at the beginning of 2018," le Monde tells us.


One story in le Figaro that caught my eye declares that "Night work increases the risk of cancer."

The Paris Live morning team works through the night, so I confess a personal interest in this.

"Night work is linked to an increased risk of breast, gastrointestinal, and skin cancers in women, according to analysis from several studies published yesterday in the journal of the American Association for Cancer Research," the paper reports;

The study found that women who work the night shift regularly in Europe and North America may face a 19 per cent higher risk of cancer than those who work during the day.

However, these heightened risks were not apparent among female night-shift workers in Australia and Asia.

The review incorporated 61 previously published studies on the topic, spanning 3,9 million participants from North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia and more than 110,000 cancers.

Previous research has shown that nighttime work can disrupt the body's circadian rhythms, causing hormonal and metabolic changes that may boost the risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity and depression.

Oddly enough, the risks for men are not mentioned. Whether because the study involved women only or because men who work nights are not at risk is not clear.


Popular daily le Parisien gives over its front page to a change in the speed limit on some roads; down from from 90 km an hour to 80 km an hour.

"No government has attacked speed limits for 45 years," the paper reminds us. "See pages 2 and 3."

Which sounds as though the paper disapproves.

Not at all. "There is a worse species of whinger than the French" says the paper "French motorists."

The reduction in the speed limit has reignited the debate over its usefulness for road safety.

Still, there are two numbers which cannot be disputed, says le Parisien : 2,188 dead and 11,560 injured on French roads in 2016.

Speed, inattention, alcohol, drugs all contribute.

"For sure," the paper says, "travelling at 80 MM an hour rather than 90 won't solve the problem. But a single tragedy avoided is a victory.

"So, let's whinge . . . and slow down too."