Cry for Aleppo
We start with reactions to the ongoing tragedy in the onetime Syrian rebel bastion of Aleppo, President Bashar Al Assad’s army has retaken more than 85 percent of the eastern city after pounding it with artillery and air strikes.
La Croix says the total war waged in Aleppo by pro-Damascus forces is not against terrorism, but against the inhabitants of the city.
It warns that by concentrating their forces on the former rebel stronghold the strategy could allow ISIS time to regroup while other pockets of terrorism flourish in other parts of the country.
According to L’Humanité the humanitarian disaster looming in Aleppo takes the number of IDP’s fleeing the country to 8 million, with 4 million more already living abroad and 300,000 others killed since March 2011.
For the Communist daily, it is pathetic to hear US Secretary of State John Kerry a possible solution depending on important choices and a degree of magnanimity on the part of Russia.
Christine Lagarde on Trial
Some of today’s papers comment on the trial opening today in Paris of IMF Chief Christine Lagarde over a massive state payment of 404 million euros to tycoon Bernard Tapie in 2008.
Tapie recieved the money as reparations from a state bank, which he claimed had defrauded him in the sale of his sportswear company Adidas.
L’Alsace reports that Lagarde, who was President Nicolas Sarkozy’s finance minister at the time, faces charges of enabling the colossal embezzlement of public funds through a process rigged in favour of Tapie who had supported President Sarkozy in his 2007 election campaign.
Tapie has since been ordered to repay the money. Meanwhile, Lagarde faces charges of negligence, which carries a one-year prison sentence and a 15,000 euro fine if she is found guilty by the Court of Justice of the Republic, a tribunal that hears cases against ministers accused of wrongdoing in the discharge of their duties.
According to the regional publication, the trial is certain to shine light on Sarkozy’s time at the Elysée Palace, even though as the paper notes he is off the hook for the moment.
Still l’Alsace says nobody can believe that Lagarde decided on her own, to settle by arbitration such a matter concerning a colourful personality such as Bernard Tapie.
Alsace says she is unlikely to answer the questions that matter the most — whether she acted on government orders or misled by her advisers.
Les Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace describes Christine Lagarde’s trial as a rare landmark case in France.
Yet the paper says it doubts that it will be a great moment of justice as the court is itself not exempt from criticism for calling Lagarde up in the absence of other protagonists such a Bernard Tapie.
Macron/Valls/ Socialist Party Primaries
Meanwhile, Le Figaro dismisses Emmanuel Macron, who resigned as Economy Minister to launch his “On the Move” party and his presidential bid as “nothing more than a refreshing face in the political decorum.
For Le Figaro, Macron has nothing to offer apart from his promise to maintain the 35 hour work week and to grant generalized access to unemployment benefits.
The right-wing daily says the ruling party is worn out, exhausted and damaged by a reckless exercise of power in which Macron participated.
Libération examines the continued controversy dogging US President-Elect Donald Trump after he dismissed as “ridiculous the brewing storm over CIA revelations about Russian cyber meddling in the US election so he could win the White House.
More so, the left-leaning paper says his insistence to keep running his businesses during his rule and the fear of a mix of genres between American diplomacy and his business interests could turn his Presidency into a gigantic conflict of interest scandal.