How Dakar uses the Atlantic Ocean as a septic tank

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The Ngor Canal in Dakar flows into Soumbédioune Bay on the Atlantic coast. © DR The Ngor Canal in Dakar flows into Soumbédioune Bay on the Atlantic coast. © DR

Despite the poor quality of its water, the Senegalese coast remains a popular destination. But the planned construction of a local desalination plant on the shores of the West African nation next year has roused opposition from locals who believe the project will do long-term damage to the environment. Fabien Offner reports from the capital Dakar.

Learning the job: Macron's novice MPs go on two-day seminar

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When the MPs who make up President Emmanuel Macron's ruling majority got their first taste of Parliamentary life this summer it was widely agreed that the representatives, many of them novices in politics, had not performed brilliantly. Now, just days before the next Parliamentary session opens, the La République en Marche (LREM) MPs have gone on a two-day “seminar” in a bid to give them an insight into how they should work both in the National Assembly and their constituencies. But as Christophe Gueugneau and Ellen Salvi report, the event was not an unqualified success, partly due to the lack of a common ideology to bind them together.

Tunisia's faltering steps towards progress

By Lilia Blaise

The recent decision to end the ban on Tunisian women marrying non-Muslims has been broadly welcomed by progressives in the North African country. But that move followed a controversial law to pardon corrupt civil servants, judges, minsters and ambassadors who served under the regime of ousted strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Meanwhile the current president Béji Caid Essebsi is publicly debating the need to change the country's 2014 Constitution to increase “stability”. Lilia Blaise reports.

The covert operations behind Islamic State's terror campaign in Europe

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IS jihadist Mohamed Abrini posing as a tourist during a reconnaissance mission in Britain. © DR IS jihadist Mohamed Abrini posing as a tourist during a reconnaissance mission in Britain. © DR

This third Mediapart investigation into the workings of the Islamic State group’s secretive “Amniyat” branch – in effect its intelligence and foreign operations unit –details the often quite sophisticated, and sometimes very amateurish, methods it employs. Here Matthieu Suc charts the development of the IS terrorist operations against European countries, its preparations for the massacres of civilians in Paris and Brussels, and the reconnaissance it carried out for attacks in the Netherlands and in Britain.

Golden bonuses and revolving doors: behind the scenes of the Paris Olympic Games bid

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Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, President Emmanuel Macron and former French Olympics gold medallist Tony Estanguet at an IOC meeting in Lausanne, July 11th.  © Reuters Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, President Emmanuel Macron and former French Olympics gold medallist Tony Estanguet at an IOC meeting in Lausanne, July 11th. © Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday held a party at the Elysée Palace to celebrate the International Olympic Committee’s announcement this week that Paris will host the 2024 summer Olympic Games for the first time in 100 years. But away from the celebrations at the Elysée, attended by former presidents François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, questions are raised about the financial management of the “Paris 2024” entity that led the French campaign, and the golden bonus payments that its directors are now due to pocket. Antton Rouget reports on the business behind the bid.

The shocking tales of child migrants seeking haven in Europe

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Nigerian migrants in a detention centre in Surman, Libya, August 2016. © Reuters Nigerian migrants in a detention centre in Surman, Libya, August 2016. © Reuters

A report published this week by UN bodies UNICEF and the International Organization for Migration highlights the shocking treatment meted out to child migrants along their journeys to Europe. The most at risk are those from sub-Saharan countries travelling north to the Mediterranean through Libya, where they are exposed to sexual exploitation and forced labour, and who are especially targeted, the study finds, because of racism. Carine Fouteau reports.

France's rights ombudsman slams abuses of benefits fraud crackdown

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Successive French governments have made a priority of the issue of social benefits fraud, which is recurrently a popular subject for politicians of all sides during election campaigns, and also for some sections of the media. But a report this month by France’s official ombudsman for the protection of citizens’ rights reveals that while the true cost of benefits fraud is often grossly overestimated, benefits agencies are engaged in such a zealous crackdown that many innocent people, most often the poorest in society, have been cheated of their rightful allowances, and ordered to make backpayments on false pretences. Mediapart political commentator Hubert Huertas details the findings of the report.

The blush-saving rhetoric surrounding France's labour law reforms

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The French government has presented the detail of its labour law reform, which were a pillar of President Emmanuel Macron’s election manifesto and which he said was urgent "because it will create jobs". But already, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe has downplayed the importance of the reforms, which he now describes as “just the start”. Mediapart economics correspondent Romaric Godin argues in this op-ed article that this is a typical example of the rhetoric surrounding liberal reforms, such as during the European debt crisis, in which their limited results become obscured by the supposed necessity for yet more urgent deregulation.

How Havas has spun its web around Emmanuel Macron

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The Havas headquarters in France in Puteaux, a western suburb of Paris. © Reuters The Havas headquarters in France in Puteaux, a western suburb of Paris. © Reuters

Havas, the communications, marketing and advertising giant owned by French billionaire businessman Vincent Bolloré, has for long played a key role in French politics, steering PR campaigns for both the rising stars and those who have fallen from grace. But its main political influence lies within the machine of government, where it guides ministerial strategies and former staff find new careers as senior advisors and heads of communications departments. As Mathieu Magnaudeix and Ellen Salvi report, with the election of Emmanuel Macron the network of the “Havas boys”, as one former minister described them, has never been more active at the heart of power.

How Islamic State's secret services hunt down informers

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The French sniper who was the bodyguard of chief interrogator Abu Ubaida al-Maghribi. © DR The French sniper who was the bodyguard of chief interrogator Abu Ubaida al-Maghribi. © DR

The Islamic State employs the techniques of Western secret services to track down potential informers. This includes using CIA-inspired interrogation methods and agent provocateurs, and carrying out background checks on prisoners and new recruits from Europe. But as Matthieu Suc reports in this second article on the jihadist organisation's secret services, this does not mean they are always immune from double agents.

French tour guides fear 'Uberisation' of their trade

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Tourists look over the city from the Saint-Jacques tower in Paris. © Philippe Wojazer / REUTERS Tourists look over the city from the Saint-Jacques tower in Paris. © Philippe Wojazer / REUTERS

Being a tour guide in the most visited country in the world should be a pretty good job, buoyed by demand at France's numerous tourist attractions. But, after years of losing professional status, guides are now confronting the 'gig economy'. Online tourism platforms impose freelance instead of salaried work. And in the latest innovation, so-called 'free' tours, the tour guide is not even paid. Cécile Andrzejewski reports.

President Macron's trio of thorny problems as new political year begins

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Facing problems: President Emmanuel Macron. Facing problems: President Emmanuel Macron.

The first series of the Macron show has come to an end. Now, as the political world returns after the summer break, the show threatens to become more of a (grim) reality TV series. President Macron is confronted by three main issues: his economic policy is right-wing, many of his key measures are unpopular and he lacks heavyweight communicators in his party's ranks. As a result the new head of state seems set to change his communication strategy and get more involved in the fray. Mediapart's editor François Bonnet reports.

French post office bank manager faces sack despite robbery acquittal

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Acquitted but now facing the sack: Rédouane Ikil © DR Acquitted but now facing the sack: Rédouane Ikil © DR

Rédouane Ikil, the manager of a branch at France's postal bank, was accused of being involved in the robbery of two branches and spent three years on remand. Earlier this summer Ikil was acquitted of all charges but his long legal and personal nightmare is still not over: now his employers the French post office La Poste have begun proceedings to dismiss him. Michaël Hajdenberg reports.

To be or not to be on Facebook

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 © Reuters © Reuters

Facebook is a continent beyond whose frontiers nothing else exists; the barrier between those who are on and not on Facebook is virtually insurmountable ... Mediapart's film critic Emmanuel Burdeau, who turned off his Facebook account for a period, gives his personal reflections on the social media platform and how its presence is changing the very nature of how we discuss things.

The dark world of the Islamic State group's secret services

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Jihadists attending an Islamic State training course. © DR Jihadists attending an Islamic State training course. © DR

The so-called Islamic State group (IS) last week claimed responsibility for the attacks in Spain that left 15 people dead and more than 100 injured, part of a long and murderous terror campaign it has led across Europe. Behind the terrorist operations lies a branch of the IS which acts as the jihadists’ secret services, and which has been constructed in the image of the very countries it attacks. An eight-month investigation by Mediapart reveals the history and the methods employed by this shady organization that is a pillar of the IS structure. Matthieu Suc reports.