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What the weeklies said 8 April 2018

rfi English, Apr 8

The ever-growing political influence of Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church; the ever-growing pile of data being collected on each and every one of us; and how one Paris chef is planning to save the planet. All that and more in France's magazines this week.

The front pages are a bit bizarre this week.

L'Express thinks we should all take a cruise and head north - to Scotland, Iceland or Norway. That's the new European tourist Eldorado, we are assured, still unspoiled, with magnificent scenery, wild beasts aplenty and culture by the bucketful. What more could you ask for?

There's an unfortunate coincidence linking the front page photos in Le Point and Le Nouvel Observateur.

Le Point has Catholic leader Pope Francis as its cover boy; L'Obs gives the honours to an owl to illustrate an article on animal intelligence and emotions. The problem is an uncanny resemblance between the nocturnal bird and the Roman Catholic pontiff. No offence to either of them.

Weekly Marianne looks at the ways in which new technology in our cars, phones, watches and fridges is making it easier for Big Brother, Orwell's nightmare all-knowing, all-powerful authority, to keep an eye on everything we do.

As the recent scandals about leaks at Facebook and Yahoo have proved, the American masters of data collection are not great at protecting our privacy.

Now, according to Marianne, in the interests of founding a world-beating French artificial intelligence industry, President Emmanuel Macron has decided to open access to certain public data banks to private companies.

The weekly magazine reminds us of the observation by French writer André Malraux to the effect that the essence of man is what he tries to hide, his miserable little pile of secrets. Today, says Marianne, no one has any secrets, miserable or otherwise. We are constantly spied upon, calibrated and evaluated with every detail of our lives coded and stocked for future use.

Is the Pope getting too powerful?

The Pope has no secrets for Le Point.

They weigh the Catholic leader against such hard hitters as Trump, Putin, Xi Jinping, Emmanuel Macron and Turkey's Reccep Tayyip Erdogan. They see Pope Francis as having an ever-growing political influence on a global scale, perhaps earning him the heady title of leader of the free world.

Website windfall for rail strikers

Somebody must approve of the plan by French rail workers to paralyse the nation every few days with their rolling strike in protest against government plans to reform the rail sector.

The solidarity fund that is intended to finance the work stoppage has already, according to the weekly L'Express, collected the sum of €400,000 on the web site Leetchi. The site retains three percent of all contributions over €2,000, which means that Leetchi, at least, will be happy to see the strike continue.

Eat your left-overs and save the planet

L'Express devotes space to the French chef, François Pasteau, a man who says nothing goes to waste in his kitchen.

In his efforts to save the planet, François will use peelings, fish skin, meat bones and other bits most of us would consign to the bin.

He takes the first law of thermo-dynamics, that nothing is lost, nothing created, very seriously indeed. He refuses to cook or serve anything that isn’t local or out-of-season.

Pasteau is president of the Ethic Ocean movement, which hopes to save the few remaining fish in the world's waters.

A basic meal in his Paris restaurant will set you back €52, which might seem a lot for leftovers. But apparently it's delicious and worth every cent.

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