Reports

  • The changing face of the French seasonal worker

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    Summer is the height of the employment season for thousands of temporary workers. The caricature of the average seasonal worker in France used to be a footloose, happy-go-lucky male party animal, sporting an all-year-round tan; in summer he served cocktails on the beach, in winter he gave ski lessons. But nowadays, ‘he' is often a she, pushing 50, with a family to feed, no hope of finding a long-term contract, and little idea of how she is going to make it through the next 12 years to retirement. Noémie Rousseau reports.

  • Elysée Palace audit demands 'transparency' on communications gurus

    The French national audit office report into spending by the French presidential offices during 2010 was largely complimentary over the achieved reduction in the administration's costs. However, it raised more than an eyebrow over the lack of accountability of spending on President Sarkozy's ‘communications' advisors. Mathilde Mathieu and Michaël Hadjenberg report.

  • Jane Evelyn Atwood, bringing exclusion into focus

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     © Jane Evelyn Atwood © Jane Evelyn Atwood
    France-based American photographer Jane Evelyn Atwood has focused her work upon portraying the excluded and the outcasts of society. Her haunting images capture the eclipsed conditions of the sick, the blind, the handicapped, but also those of prostitutes and prisoners, revealing lives and worlds that are largely kept hidden from view. An exhibition celebrating her photography, spanning more than 30 years, is now on in Paris. Here, Clément Sénéchal presents Atwood's work and interviews the photographer about her approach and experiences.
  • Shadow chaser Mofokeng arrives in the City of Light

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     © Santu Mofokeng. © Santu Mofokeng.
    Over a period of 30 years, celebrated South African photographer Santu Mofokeng has documented apartheid and its aftermath in dramatic, black-and-white stills, latterly turning his lens on many other contemporary issues. The Jeu de Paume museum in Paris is this summer hosting a world-tour retrospective exhibition of his stunning photos entitled Chasing Shadows - a reference, the photographer says, to the idea that "you can't see spirits". Clément Sénéchal reviews the powerful images on display and talks to Mofokeng about how he approaches subjects and why he shuns fast-lane "digital bulimia".
  • The cloud hanging over EDF's nuclear workplace accidents

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    SK SK

    A court hearing in Normandy earlier this month provided a revealing insight into official secrecy over the dangers to which are exposed many of the 125,000 people employed in the nuclear industry in France, one of the world's leading operators and exporters of civil nuclear power technology. It centres on the case of a welder exposed to nuclear contamination at a local power plant, but whose employer refuses, like others in the industry, to consider the incident as a workplace accident. Mediapart has obtained exclusive access to an internal document from French utilities giant EDF instructing nuclear power plant directors when not to declare incidents of on-site irradiation and contamination. Jade Lindgaard reports.

  • Bettencourt battle back after L'Oréal heiress signs away 143 million euros

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    Inspirational? Liliane Bettencourt during a French TV interview. © France 3 Inspirational? Liliane Bettencourt during a French TV interview. © France 3

    Following a six-month family truce, the daughter of L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt (photo) has re-applied to have her mother placed as a ward of court amid fresh concerns over the management of the 88 year-old's personal finances, including suspicions of conflicts of interest in a business deal brokered by her newly-appointed legal protector and wealth manager. Karl Laske reports.

  • Another Icelandic eruption set to end in ashes

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    Two years ago, as the international banking crisis swept the world, Iceland's economy collapsed through the floor. Thousands of Icelanders regularly took to the streets during the winter of 2008 to drive out their government, disgraced by revelations of corruption. Amid an atmosphere of revolution, and excited talk of remodelling society, the unprecedented mobilisations held high hopes of creating a new democratic platform on the island. So just what has changed since? Ludovic Lamant reports.
  • The 'middle' France losing hope in mainstream politics

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    The median individual income in France is, after tax and welfare payment deductions, 1,500 euros. Half of income earners earn less, the other half more. Mediapart travelled to the town of Dijon to interview people who fall into this category, and who come from widely different backgrounds and professions. Here they talk frankly about their daily preoccupations, living conditions and political views. While nationwide local elections this month showed record abstentions, and barely a year before the French presidential elections, they offer a startling insight into a widening social malaise that mainstream political parties appear unable to address.

  • Tensions run high at the gates of Abidjan

    Tensions are running high in Ivory Coast, where Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent president defeated in November elections is refusing to hand over power to his newly-elected rival Alassane Ouattara. A delegation of African leaders returned to the country Monday January 3rd to persuade Gbagbo to quit, amid reports they are offering him an amnesty in exchange. If he refuses, West African states have warned they will employ force to oust him. We report from a spot just outside the economic capital Abidjan, where a divided population feverishly await the next development in the crisis.

  • Muslims in France: Jennifer, a convert, now has 'duties to God'

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    This is the fourth in a series of portraits of French Muslims. The men and women interviewed live in La Courneuve, a suburb north of Paris notorious for the difficult living conditions in its huge, high-rise social housing projects. Jennifer, 28, raised in a Christian family, recently converted to Islam, initially via the internet. Islam "seemed like the most sensible religion at the moral and practical levels".