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Press review Turkey New technology Brexit

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French press review 14 August 2018


The French are eating differently. Some rich supporters of the move to take Britain out of the EU are stashing their cash in Europe. Is the Turkish financial crisis dangerous for the rest of the world?

Le Monde devotes the top of this morning's front page to changes in the way the French eat.

Less meat, more emphasis on health, less sugar and more organic is a rough summary of the local trend.

At the global level, according to the same report, the market for vegetable protein is growing by about six percent every year. Le Monde explains this as the impact of videos on animal mistreatment in abattoirs, as well as of studies showing the presence of dangerous chemicals in some meat products, or of the salmonella virus in milk.

The impact on the food-processing industry has already been drastic, with at least 10 of the American giants in the sector sacking their bosses. French companies are running to catch up, says Le Monde.

Brexit supporters stash their cash in Europe

Some of the most ardent supporters of Brexit, the move which will take the United Kingdom out of the European Union, appear to be having second thoughts.

Jim Ratcliffe, for example, the UK's richest man and a staunch enthusiast for the European exit, has decided to move to Monaco, where foreigners pay no income tax.

The financial management company founded by Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the MPs supporting Brexit, has just set up two investment funds in Ireland. The company advised by another long-term critic of Europe, John Redwood, is now telling clients to get their money out of Britain as quickly as possible.

Ratcliffe, by the way, is not worried about the implications of a so-called "hard" Brexit, a divorce between London and Brussels without agreement. He says the two parties will struggle to some kind of free trade deal, simply because it will be in the interests of everyone to do just that.

How serious is Turkey's financial crisis?

The top story in right-wing Le Figaro wonders if the rest of us should be worried about the Turkish financial crisis.

The local currency, the lira, has been in freefall since US President Donald Trump threatened to double import duties on Turkish steel and aluminium. Washington and Ankara are technically allies but Trump is not pleased at the way his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been treating Andrew Brunson, a US citizen suspected by Erdogan of involvement in the failed coup in 2016.

Erdogan says the financial mayhem is the result of a plot to destroy Turkey.

For the moment the only real winners are foreign tourists, who have seen the return in local currency for their euros, pounds or dollars boosted by nearly 25 percent over recent days. The average Turk, in contrast, is struggling to deal with inflation, currently running at 16 percent.

Imports have suddenly become much more expensive.

The impact on world markets has so far been limited to a slight decline, with bank stocks losing value depending on how involved individual banks are in Turkey.

The emerging economies are going to suffer the worst, with the Russian, Argentinian and South African currencies all losing ground. They have been in trouble anyway, since earlier this year, when US interest rates were increased, thus attracting billions of dollars into the American economy.

If that trend accelerates, says Le Fiagro, and the rest of the emerging world starts to panic, then the Turkish crisis could become a global one.

How to escape the prison of technology

Left-leaning Libération looks at a human race increasingly trapped by technology.

We are now the slaves of our screens to such an extent that professional help may be required to extricate some people from the virtual universes in which they pass so much of their lives.

And the technology giants are already a step ahead, proposing applications which will enable us to calculate the extent of our dependence.

You could, of course, simply switch your phone off. But then you might miss something. Surely someone can come up with an app for that?