French gender equality watchdog warns of growing sexist 'backlash'

France — Link

In a report delivered this week, the High Council for Equality between Women and Men finds that sexism is far from retreating in France, noting that French society remains 'highly sexist at every level' and that 'younger generations are the most affected'.  

Police probe slams French coastguard over migrant deaths in Channel

France — Link

A gendarmerie report into the deaths of 27 migrants whose boat sank in the Channel en route to England from France last November has found that the Calais coastguard failed to respond to several earlier distress calls, opening the possibility of prosecution proceedings, according to French press reports.

French senate presents report on 'systemic' abuse in porn industry

France — Link

The senate’s delegation for women’s rights and gender equality on Wednesday presented the conclusions of its six-month inquiry into the French porn industry, which it said 'massively perpetrated violence' in the making of films, and denounced the wide and increasing access of minors to pornographic content.

Up to seven million people in France rely on food banks, reports leading charity


Up to seven million people in France, or around 10 percent of the population, had need of free handouts of food in 2020, a situation unprecedented in peacetime. That was just one of the shocking conclusions of the latest annual report on poverty in France published by one of the country’s principal social and humanitarian aid associations, the Secours Catholique. Faïza Zerouala reports.

French report warns of deepening, enduring poverty from Covid crisis


The social repercussions of the Covid-19 crisis have deepened the conditions of poverty in which around 9 million people in France were already living before its onset, and has tipped a significant number of others below the poverty line, according to a study commissioned by the French government. Published this week, it warns of a ‘timebomb’ of pauperisation from the cumulative effects of the crisis which will endure even after a rebound in economic activity. Faïza Zerouala reports.

The indecent pay of France's top executives

Économie et social — Opinion

The latest annual report by investors’ advisory agency Proxinvest on the remunerations paid to the chief executives of France’s 120 most traded stock exchange companies reveals a staggering increase in payments in 2019. In this op-ed article, Mediapart economy and finance correspondent Laurent Mauduit details the figures and argues why they represent a serious injustice when millions of French households face an economic crisis that threatens to plunge them into poverty.  

French arms exports 'see five-year jump of 72%'

International — Link

French weapons sales abroad rose between 2015-2019 by 72 percent on the previous five years according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which said the latest total represented almost 8 percent of global arms exports during the same period.

Deadly Paris gas explosion 'due to pipe cracked by ground subsidence'

France — Link

A major explosion under a building in Paris in January which killed four people, including two firefighters, and injured 66 others was caused by a broken gas pipe which was cracked by ground subsidence which had been insufficiently investigated by city hall staff and a private company, according to a commissioned experts' report revealed by the Paris prosecution services on Monday, 

France sees significant rise in inequalities and poverty in 2018

France — Analysis

According to estimations published this month by France’s national institute of statistics and economic studies, INSEE, social inequalities in the country rose to a higher level in 2018 than at any time since 2011 while, in parallel, the numbers of those in poverty also increased. Mediapart's economics correspondent Romaric Godin analyses the gloomy figures and concludes that they are the direct result of the economic and budgetary policies of President Emmanuel Macron’s government.

Expert study into birth deformities in rural France fails to find answers


A French health ministry experts' study into reported clusters of babies born with missing or malformed upper limbs in three separate regions of rural France has failed to establish the cause. “We don’t know what we’re looking for,” said one of the panel of experts. The study has caused outrage among families of the malformed infants, born without arms or hands, after it decided one of the clusters did not meet the medical criteria of the term, and ruled out a number of proposed measures to further research into the problem at a national level. Amid speculation that environmental factors, such as pesticides, may have played a role, the experts said there was “currently insufficient” knowledge of the issue to draw a conclusion. François Bonnet reports.

Interview: UN investigator details evidence in Khashoggi murder, calls for probe into Saudi ruler

International — Interview

In a 100-page report published last week on her investigation into the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Agnès Callamard, concluded that “Mr Khashoggi has been the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under international human rights law”, and recommended that Saudi Arabia’s ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, should be investigated for his responsibility in the crime. In this interview with Mediapart, she details her investigation and its findings, and and calls on states to take a "serious" stand on press freedom.

French Senate report into disgraced Macron aide opens rift with government


A damming report published this week by a French Senate commission of inquiry set up to investigate the scandal surrounding President Emmanuel Macron’s disgraced former security aide Alexander Benalla was dismissed on Thursday by French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe as being politically motivated. The senators found that the events behind the scandal, which began when Benalla was filmed assaulting people on the sidelines of a May Day march last year, and which have been followed by Mediapart’s revelations that the maverick aide has been negotiating personal security deals worth 2.2 million euros with Russian oligarch’s close to the Kremlin, are the result of “major failings” at the heart of the Élysée Palace, which placed at risk “the security of the head of state and, beyond this, the interests of our country”.

French Senate releases scathing report on Macron aide scandal

France — Link

A report by a French Senate commission of inquiry into the implications, and possible cover-up on high, of the unfolding scandal surrounding President Macron's former personal security aide Alexandre Benalla, has ofund top Elysée officials may have withheld information from the commission, that Benalla lied to it and that Macron's security and 'the nation's interests' were compromised by Benalla's business dealings with Russian oligarchs.

French education minister open to more Arabic courses in schools

France — Link

A recommendation by leading French think tank Institut Montaigne that teaching of the Arabic language in schools should be developed to counter the increasing popularity of Arabic courses offered by radical Islamists in mosques and schools was welcomed by education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer, but has met with strong cticism from conservatives and the far-right.

Charity denounces 'sex abuse of migrant girls on Italy-France route'

International — Link

Migrant girls, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, attempting to cross into France from Italy are being exploited by would-be smugglers offering to drive them across the on the countries' common Riviera border in exchange for sex acts, says a report by the Italian branch of the charity Save the Children.