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What the weeklies said 13 May 2018

rfi English, May 13

Given that the president has just come to the end of his first year in power, there's less about Emmanuel Macron in the magazines than you might have thought; is it time to rewrite the bible, and what the French think of the Windsors.

Marianne offers to explain why the French leader appears to love the very rich. That supposed love of the well-heeled is based on three presidential decisions - the abolition of wealth tax on stock market profits, a lower tax rate for investors and businesses, and the proposal to end the exit tax, which was intended to discourage those who might want to move large sums of money out of France.

Macron says he's simply being realistic, that France needs rich investors and that his policies (based on his experience in the world of merchant banking) are intended to attract money, not scare it away.

Marianne looks at the links between the candidate Macron and the heavyweights of the French business sector who supported him. And wonders if the year-old president will have the courage to bite the hands that so majestically fed him. Because investors do it for the profits. And they get paid back one way or another.

Right, right, right!

Weekly satirical magazine Le Canard Enchaîné accuses the French president of having betrayed his non-partisan campaign promises and of now being a right-wing wolf badly disguised as a centrist shepherd.

He's getting away with it for the moment, says Le Canard, because only the political extremes are sufficiently well organised to put up any opposition. But, if purchasing power continues to decline and social cohesion comes increasingly unstuck, the far-right National Front and the hard-left France Unbowed movements could suddenly find themselves back in the political limelight.

Le Canard Enchaîné suggests that Macron's second anniversary at the helm may not be celebrated in such placid conditions.

Rewriting the holy books

Then there's L'Obs, wondering if it isn't time to rewrite the Bible and the Koran, to bring Christians, Jews and Muslims into the world of the 21st century.

Would the New Testament and the Holy Book of Islam be better, in other words, if we cut out the inherent and incontrovertible anti-Semitism? The obvious answer is yes. Will such a change take place? The obvious answer is no.

No ordinary family

Le Monde's weekly "M" looks across-Channel at the impact of the recent royal birth and the forthcoming royal wedding on the status of the Windsor family. William and Kate just had Louis, Harry and Meghan will tie the knot next weekend, and the Windsors are the English royal family, rich, anachronistic, mostly gaga and extraordinarily popular.

Le Monde says the renaissance of the royals after the dark days in the wake of the death of Princess Diana two decades ago is due to a public relations effort that would put many multinationals to shame. The problem is that the queen won't last forever, and that her successor Prince Charles, now 69, is not exactly the most appealing peach in the bowl.

Worse, says Le Monde, is the fact that efforts by the Windsors, to show themselves open to change and modernity, only encourage those who wonder what purpose the monarchy really serves in today's world.

How to be a genius

Le Point offers to teach us how to learn more quickly and better. The secret is revealed by the neuroscientist Stanislas Dehaene, much admired by French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer.

Needless to say, there is no secret. Dehaene suggests that we eat well and get plenty of sleep, that we learn foreign languages and read out loud. Sport and music are also essential. With all that activity you probably won't learn very much at all. But you'll be too tired to care.

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