What the papers said on Tuesday 23 April

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Notre-Dame Cathedral at the height of the blaze. Reuters

A short while ago, there had been 20,000 votes. 58 percent of them were against the measure. No cheap meals for poor children say the readers of a paper which costs €2.80 every day.

The 58 percent of Figaro readers who don’t want cheap lunches for kids whose parents can’t afford to buy food will presumably be angered and stupefied by Tuesday’s announcement by the Education and Health ministries that they intend to offer free breakfasts to school children from disadvantaged areas from next September.

The scheme will eventually provide the first meal of the day to 100,000 children, all of them in areas of “educational priority”, where difficulty and disadvantage are frequent qualifiers of the social environment.

A recent survey shows that 25 percent of French kids aged between 3 and 11 do not get breakfast every morning. The government scheme will cost six million euros per year.

The menu has yet to be revealed, but we are assured that it will be balanced and healthy. And will surely beat going through the day on an empty stomach.

Legal options narrow for François Fillon

François and Penelope Fillon have probably never experienced a day’s work on an empty stomach.

François Fillon used to be the prime minister; Penelope is his British wife.

She used to work for François as a parliamentary assistant, earning more than one million euros for her efforts between the years 1981 and 2013.  Except that she doesn’t appear to have shown up for work very regularly. Or even, not to beat about the bush, at all.

According to the police who’ve spent the last 30 months investigating allegations first made by the weekly satirical paper Le Canard Enchaîné, the Fillon couple deserve to be hauled before a criminal court.

François is accused of misusing public funds, plotting to defraud the state, abusing his elected position and failing to declare his financial status to the frankly not very efficient High Authority for Transparency in Public Office. Impressive for a man who was Prime Minister, and thus head of the French government, and nearly got to be president, or head of state.

Penelope faces charges of aiding and abetting a plot to defraud the state, as well as of receiving stolen public funds.

The couple have provided a mountain of paperwork to the investigators in an effort to prove the reality of the effort expended by Penelope.

Less than impressed, the judges describe that evidence as an attempt to bury the facts in paper, qualifying as an abuse of language that interpretation which allows Mrs Fillon’s most anodine activity to be considered as the action of a parliamentary assistant. “These papers prove nothing,” the investigators conclude.

Two of the Fillon children, who have never needed a school lunch at one euro, or a free breakfast, will be called to give evidence about their own careers as parliamentary assistants to their father, generating incomes for their parent which the investigating judges will ask the court to consider in the case against François Fillon.

The case is expected to be heard before the end of this year.

Turn Notre-Dame into a permanent ruin

Finally, since no self-respecting press review can fail to mention the burned Notre-Dame cathedral in central Paris, the Spanish intellectual Paul Beatriz Preciado made a suggestion in the left-leaning daily paper Libération.

Paul wants an end to all talk of reconstruction. In an article headlined “Notre-Dame des Ruines,” Our Lady of the Ruins in English, he calls for a gesture in support of burned forests and blackened stones, a punk monument which will mark the end of one world and the beginning of another.

Source: RFI