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What the papers said 5th September 2018

rfi English, Sep 5

Libération reports that the appointment of Parliament speaker François de Rugy as the new environment minister has worried those who were hoping that the government's great ambitions on climate issues would be kept on track.

According to the left leaning paper, following the spectacular resignation of Nicolas Hulot, President Emmanuel Macron chose Rugy, who is considered to be the least rebellious of possible replacements.

With this move, Macron seems to have sheltered his government from further hiccups.

The article also points to the calamitous summer the government is having, starting from the Benalla scandal, in which one of his top security aides Alexandre Benalla was caught on film roughing up protesters during a Paris demonstration, to the resignation of Hulot last week and that of sports minister Laura Flessel on Tuesday.

The report states that the government has lost two of its most popular ministers.

And if this wasn’t enough, Macron’s popularity rating has plummeted below 40 percent in most opinion studies. In the latest, made by Ifop and published Tuesday by Paris Match, Macron recorded a drop of ten points.

Liberation also reports on a new public transport plan that has been implemented in the northern French city of Dunkirk. The city administration has made commuting by public transport free.

It’s not just the fares but even the schedules that have changed and so have the number of buses.

There has been a 30 percent increase in the number of buses with each bus equipped with wi-fi and USB charging ports.

Dunkirk has experimented with free urban transport weekends since 2015.

One of the main goals of this exercise is to make the inhabitants of the city switch from cars to public transport.

Centrist Le Monde carries a report on the expected assault on Idlib province in Syria.

It says that the inhabitants of Idlib province are living in fear in anticipation of an offensive by the Syrian forces and of the armed opposition groups imposing their law.

The report points out that ministerial declarations and reports broadcast on Russian television leave no doubt that the Kremlin is preparing public opinion before the offensive that the Syrian regime wants to launch in Idlib.

Le Monde also carries a detailed two page report on the state of poverty in France.

It states that poverty affects more than 13 percent of the French people and that nearly 20 percent of those under the age of 18 are poor, with each person living with 1,015 euros or less a month.

The report states that in addition to monetary poverty, nearly 4 million people in France have limited access to health, unhealthy food and poor housing.

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