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What the papers said 2nd November 2018

rfi English, Nov 2

Questions still loom about the cause of babies born with missing limbs; is Ségolene Royal eyeing another presidential bid, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo wins a key battle on her way to a second term.  

Some publications come back on the public health scare about babies born with either missing or malformed arms in several regions of the country, which forced the government to launch an investigation.

Left-wing Libération reports that confidence in the state’s handling of the issue took a blow this week when health authorities reported an additional 11 cases in the Ain area near the Swiss border between 2000 and 2014. This had not previously been made public.

According to right-wing Le Figaro, it is only after Francois Bourdillon, who heads the Public Health agency, confirmed for the first time that a national investigation was "underway" that people realized the scale of the problem.

Official statistics recorded a total of 25 cases over the past 15 years in the regions of Brittany, Loire-Atlantique and Ain.

Even as he promised to publish the results in three months, Le Parisien says families need to know why it has taken the authorities so long to come clean about the scandal and why France had to wait for whistleblower scientist Emmanuelle Amar's revelations to start investigating the issue.

Regional paper Sud Ouest says the fatality of genetic defects are nothing new. It however calls for deep reflections about our economic and social model -- about what we eat and the essential drugs we take, the effects of pesticides on the environment and public health.

The stakes of the political debate about the scary issue has just begun according to the newspaper.

Some of today's commentators raise questions about what may be in Ségolene Royal's mind after she published a new book on Wednesday.

It is titled "What I can finally Say" and send political pundits iunto a frenzy about whether Madame Royale who ran for President in the 2007 elections was considering another run for office.

In an interview to mark the book launch with the public broadcaster France Inter, the former socialist candidate said she was taking her time to decide about her political plans after being urged on by her friends, setting January as the deadline to decide what she plans to do.

Surprisingly Ségolene Royal consecrates several pages of the book criticizing the term of office of her ex-partner François Hollande.

According to Est Republicain, she also attacks President Macron's monarchical posture.

Le Télégramme underlines that Madame Royal's anger is provoked by President Macron's failure to compensate her for supporting his Presidential bid. Royal was only given the ceremonial post of ambassador to the North and South Poles.

Le Courrier Piccard says the diatribe sounds more like the incantations of a soldeir lost in the battlefield.

Midi Libre differs, arguing that Royal comes across in the book prepared for combat and ready to lead the Socialist party to the 2019 European elections, just like the providential woman she was in the buildup to the 2007 presidential elections..

For Nice-Matin, despite the attacks against her by the so-called fraternity of white heterosexual males and the permanent questioning of her legitimacy and intelligence, she assumes everything she has stood up for - the clamour for a just order, participative democracy and fraternity.

According to the publication, even if that's not a political manifesto yet, violence against women and the environmental degradation are among the main preoccupations of the French people.

Le Figaro reviews the balance of power in Paris after the Administrative Court threw out a law suit aimed at getting Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo to reopen riverside motorways which she has transformed into pedestrian promenades.

According to the right-wing publication, Hidalgo needs to understand that the City Council elections in Paris will not be a single battle but 17 in all the first four districts already merged under a single sector.

Le Figaro believes she will be capable of winning the Xth, XIth, XIXth, XXth, and the XVIIIth districts which will guarantee her a blocking minority in the future City council.

In the publication's view, her calculations are that the Conservative Les Républicains and President Macron's Republic on the Move fight it out in some key districts without any prospects of challenging her in leftist strongholds.

Le Figaro points to the irony that in her battle to keep her job at City Hall, she will need the Conservatives to win their strongholds in the Vth, XVth and XVIIth districts, to ensure that Macron's On the Movers remain in a minority position.


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