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What the papers said 9 November 2018

rfi English, Nov 9

Crummy housing and shady football scouts are some of the grim stories making headlines across the papers; the French clergy opening an independent investigation into sexual abuse claims does provide a glimmer of hope; PSG football scouts racially profiled hopefuls; and a collective memory of terror attacks.

The front pages of the dailies are mainly graced by two stories. Firstly the number of derelict buildings that pose a threat to citizens, with a focus on Marseille where earlier this week several people lost their lives after three buildings, most of them condemned, collapsed.

Conservative Le Figaro notes that more than 400 000 homes across France are concerned by this but that it’s difficult for local authorities to rehouse people, and that slow administration complicates renovation plans. 100 000 people live in dangerous accommodation according to the paper, with Marseille being home to 10 percent of these “uninhabitable" buildings.

Marseille's housing minister is interviewed by Le Figaro and claims to be the first person in his position to genuinely tackle this housing crisis. However the person really under fire in the media following Monday's tragedy is Marseille's Conservative Mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin who kept quiet until Thursday. He justifies this by saying it was "time for mourning and not controversy ". However Liberation says that since 2015, reports on squalid housing have been piling up on his desk.

“Marseille’s town hall doesn't care about poor people, so it allows things to rot." grumbles one charity founder who tells the paper he believes the city chamber is just hoping to sell off this relatively poor area to rich investors and promoters.

PSG football scouts racially profiled hopefuls

The other story that has made the cover of some papers is the brewing Paris-Saint-Germain scandal. The football team scouts are alleged to have racially profiled players whilst recruiting between 2013 and 2018.

Social Profiling is illegal in France and in this case we're talking about 12-15 year olds from across the French territory. French website Mediapart uncovered the story which leaked it's way all over the first few pages of Le Parisien which says this dirty affair has cast an uneasy cloud over the Parisian club. The owners of PSG say they were unaware of the practice. Head scout, Mark Westerloppe, who discovered Ivorian player Didier Drogba, brushes these accusations aside as just some information and rejects strongly accusations he once turned down a potential player for another team because of the colour of his skin.

Collective memory of terror attacks

The approaching third anniversary of 2015 Paris terrorist attacks is lead for catholic La Croix whose main angle on the tragedy which left 130 dead and over 400 injured is the fact that it has become part of France's collective memory.

The article focuses on how victims and survivors of the event are being helped to cope. It says society as a whole but also politicians and the media in particular are accountable when it comes to how these events are remembered.

Launch of independent probe into sexual abuse by French church

Talking of accountability, The French Catholic church this week announced at a gathering in Lourdes that it would be ordering an independent investigation committee into claims of sexual abuse. Le Monde reports they are considering how to show acknowledgement to the victims and how to compensate those who legally can no longer bring their abusers to justice. La Croix also dedicates a few pages to this and notes that the move is welcomed by victims' groups.


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