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What the weeklies said 28 October 2018

rfi English, Oct 28

This week a look at how all French politicians accused of fraud cry conspiracy; a teachers' revolution and a prince who flew too high.

Le Nouvel Observateur features an investigative piece on the relationship between French politics and the French judiciary.

The can of worms was reopened by hard-left politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

Earlier this month there was a police raid at Mélenchon's home and party headquarters.

Mélenchon's party France Unbowed is being investigated over allegations of overbilling expenses during his 2017 presidential campaign, and fake jobs at the European parliament.

It later emerged that Sophie Chikirou, the director of the firm accused of issuing falsely inflated bills, who was also Mélenchon's campaign communications director, was also his partner in his personal life.

Mélenchon live-streamed the police raid on Facebook and physically pushed a police officer trying to enter his party's headquarters.

He accused all and sundry of being against him.

Cry persecution

The Nouvel Observateur also talks of three other incidents:

· Former president Nicolas Sarkozy - neck-deep in accusations of campaign funds fraud, including the possible financing of his presidential campaign by the late Moamer Kadhafi's Libyan regime.

· François Fillon - former prime minister and 2017 presidential candidate, caught up in a fictitious job scandal involving his family.

· And, of course, far-right leader Marine Le Pen, accused of misusing European parliamentary funds.

In all these cases, the strategy of the accused has been the same - accusing the judiciary system, the police and the press of persecution.

The Nouvel Observateur claims that this seems to be taking the easy way out.

Suspected of fraud or nepotism? Just play the same record - shout from the rooftops about how judges, media and political opponents are all part of a collective conspiracy, it says.

But scratch beyond the surface, and real questions emerge.

Judiciary procedures in France are, in fact, independent, and not controlled by the state, Le Nouvel Obs opines.

The conspiracy-theory defence strategy is thus wearing out.

Teachers' revolution

Left-leaning magazine Marianne features a picture from a recent video that went viral in France.

It featured a school student threatening a teacher with a gun, which turned out to be a fake.

The title reads "Teachers' revolution".

Will the teachers in France be finally heard? asks Marianne.

The newspaper mentions a burgeoning Twitter phenomenon, a sort of #MeToo for teachers in France

Teachers in schools in France's deprived areas are often lackeys of the institution, says Marianne.

Teachers, and not students, are held responsible for any disciplinary problem.

It is considered that if a teacher has to punish a student, then it is his or her teaching system that is at fault, according to the magazine.

Marianne says it is time to overhaul this mentality.

Climate change and economics

"New solutions to save the planet," Le Point magazine headlines.

Thinkers, economists and businessmen must all work together, it believes.

Le Point talks about the American William Nordhaus, who won the Nobel prize for economics this year.

Nordhaus was one of the first economists to study the impact of climate change on economic growth.

Le Point sees the Nobel Academy's choice as a positive signal.

However, it points out that many consider Nordhaus a traitor, because his take on global warming underestimate its real impact on the environment.

A prince who flew too high

Finally, L'Express magazine talks about Saudi Arabia's Khashoggi affair.

The cover shows a vicious-looking Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who is widely known as MBS, with the title "The tyrant who fooled the West".

The magazine says that, at just 33, bin Salman seems to have met the same fate as the Greek figure Icarus, who tried to fly too high, only to have his wax wings melt in the sun, causing his downfall.


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