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What the papers said 20th August 2018

rfi English, Aug 20

The press pay glowing tributes to former UN chief and Nobel laureate Kofi Annan, who died on Saturday at the age of 80; and the holidays are over for politicians.

The papers relay tributes paid by world leaders to former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, who died on Saturday in Switzerland after a brief illness.

Le Parisien remembers the 80-year-old Ghanaian diplomat, who led the world body for some 10 years and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for his outstanding services and dedication to world peace.

The popular newspaper carries a statement delivered by Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, who has declared a week of national mourning in the homeland of the late UN chief.

According to Le Parisien, Addo reportedly praised the native of the Ashanti ethnic group for his towering contribution to Ghana's international reputation.

The newspapers also carried the tweet of President Emmanuel Macron. "France will never forget the calm and resolute look on his face, nor the determination with which he tackled the challenges facing his office," he wrote.

Le Figaro relays UN Chief Antonio Guterres's own homage in which he described the late Annan as "a guiding force of good”.

It also carried Russian President Vladimir Putin's expressed admiration for Annan’s wisdom, courage and capacity to make decisions even in the most complex and critical conditions.

The newspaper says Annan became popular with many around the world for denouncing the 2003 US invasion of Iraq “illegal”, although this did make him some enemies in Washington.

In a moving editorial, the Sud-Ouest remembers Annan as an tireless negotiator who understood the fragility of the human enterprise in the long struggle for peace.

Summer's over for politicians

As politicians return to Paris from their traditional summer break, some papers says the upcoming political season promises to be severe for stakeholders.

Libération says the sequential good fortunes which have left Macron off the hook have come to an end. According to the left-leaning paper, Macron's image, badly scarred by the Benalla affair, may be further tarnished by disappointing economic indicators.

Libé says the "anemia" of falling purchasing power, social spending cuts and belt tightening is certain to attract a litany of problems at a time when Macron is already discredited by being unable to resolve insoluble equations.

Today's Le Figaro deplores the conditions of traditional political parties. The paper says they’re still shocked by defeat, cash-strapped and muffled at the National Assembly by the ruling LRM party’s plethoric majority.

But the conservative newspaper warns that it would be a big mistake for Macron to continue mocking the pitiful spectacle offered on the assembly floor by the so-called old world, whose destruction he contributed to.


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