Analysis

  • How Japan's nuclear industry ignored the disaster to come

    Following the major earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11th, the threat of a nuclear catastrophe caused by overheating at the country's damaged Fukushima nuclear plant increases hour by hour. The crisis has highlighted the perilous number of nuclear installations established in a country regularly rocked by quakes. Mathieu Gaulène reports on the history of Japan's nuclear energy programme and the past incidents that so clearly announced a disaster to come.

  • EU barricades rise as dictators fall

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    Following the arrival this month of thousands of Tunisians on the island of Lampedusa, Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini has warned that the fall of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi will open a migratory exodus of 'biblical proportions'. Carine Fouteau reports on how pro-democracy revolts sweeping away the dictatorial regimes of the Arab world have opened up an embarrassing issue for the European Union, which for years has relied on the despots of North Africa to help control clandestine migration from the continent.

  • French foreign minister lost in Tunisia fable

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    French foreign affairs minister Michèle Alliot-Marie has come under intense pressure to resign following further revelations about her New Year's holidays with her partner and family in strife-torn Tunisia. Contradicting her version hitherto of events, it now emerges that during the trip she held talks with now-deposed president and despot Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, while her parents signed a business deal with an entrepreneur close to the regime. Here, Mediapart compares the minister's public statements with the truth established so far, revealing how she has misled both the French public and parliament.

  • The agony of the French press

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    The French press is in crisis, with readers fleeing the newsstands, revenue collapsing and titles changing hands amid ever cheaper sell-offs. Vincent Truffy and David Medioni argue here that media owners and editorial managers must re-think the role and tools of the profession, instead of stubbornly grasping onto an obsolete model.

  • Does Europe need austerity?

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    Across Europe, governments have brought in massive budget cuts totalling up to 400 billion euros to stem rising deficits. Ministers say the cuts are necessary to bring about economic stability and reassure the markets. Critics say they are unjust, hitting the poorest the hardest, and unsound, marking a return to failed economic dogmas of the past. So are these so-called austerity plans really unavoidable? What do all these billions in announced savings really represent - and could these drastic plans in fact kill off any return to economic growth?

  • France at a glance

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    The French Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, INSEE, publishes a yearly 'social portrait' of France, a rich and revealing document totalling more than 300 pages. Mediapart summarises some of the key observations from the INSEE's latest state-of-the-nation study.

  • Reshuffle: centre gone and no-one Left

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    The newly-formed French government has lost almost all of its centre-right ministers, notably the leaders of the two centrist movements that have, until now, supported President Nicolas Sarkozy through thick and thin. Marine Turchi reports on how the president has turned his back on building a broad ruling majority.