This week in French papers you could find heavy weather, contraband ivory and labor vs. management. The highlights below.
Brittany battens down the hatches
While the East Coast and Midwest of the United States is being buried in snow, France is trying to keep from being swept into the sea by its own troublesome weather systems. The French weather service Météo France has placed 36 departments in the northeast of France on high alert earlier this week for Storm Qumaira. With flooding in Brittany and other regions, costal France is bracing for yet another battering from Storm Ruth expected over the weekend.
Stop the presses?
It turns out we’re lucky to have any French press this week. For one thing, a major French newspaper is on strike (can you guess which one?). It’s Liberation and the strike means their Friday edition — web and print — did not appear. Employees and management disagree about the direction of the newspaper, which has faced financial difficulties of late. And a paper from the right is having its own problems with interior minister Manuel Valls accused of tracking Le Figaro journalist Jean-Marc Leclerc’s sources for his articles. According to L’Express, Valls has denied the claims, saying, “I have other things to do besides tracking leaks to journalists.”
Your ivory’s no good in this town
On Thursday, three tons of ivory – all contraband seized by the French government – were destroyed at the base of the Eiffel Tower. Nicolas Hulot, the humble President of the Nicolas Hulot Foundation for Nature and Man, said in an interview that the gesture was intended to show that ivory has no value in France anymore and to highlight France’s responsibility in stopping the illegal ivory trade. Illegal ivory has decimated the elephant population: in 10 years, 60 per cent of forest elephants in Central Africa have disappeared. Hulot added that such destruction of ivory will be the norm in France from now on, and hopes that it will catch on in other countries, like China, England and the United States.
I’d like to thank me for this opportunity
Francois Pérol, president of France’s second largest bank BPCE was arrested on Thursday after unions charged that his current position presents a conflict of interest. Pérol is a former deputy secretary general under President Nicolas Sarkozy, and critics say that in that role he was part of the negotiations that created BPCE from the two banks, Caisses d’Epargnes and Banques Populaires. French law states that government officials must wait three years before going to work for a company that they advised, monitored or worked with as an employee of the state.