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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 August, 2003, 05:28 GMT 06:28 UK
European press review

In today's review France feels the heat, a tobacco and health conference takes place in Finland and a Danish paper calls for a paedophile association to be banned.

And the Azeri president's son becomes prime minister, while a Russian man dies trying to protect his beloved Lada.

France feels the heat

It may be "the hottest summer since 1949", according to the front page headline in France's Le Figaro, but the current hot spell, with temperatures over 40C in parts of the country, is a mixed blessing.

"This heat wave is delighting holidaymakers at the seaside as well as ice cream and soft drinks manufacturers," the daily writes.

"However, this summer has also caused a drought which is hitting farmers hard".

The paper says water restrictions have been introduced in parts of the country because of a lack of rain, while fishing and swimming have also been banned in places.

Call for ban on paedophile group

Copenhagen's Berlingske Tidende calls for the Danish Paedophile Association to be outlawed following the murder of two underage girls this summer.

"Denmark occupies an unbecoming special position as possibly the only Western country that has a fully legal association for paedophiles," the paper says.

"According to its articles, the association seeks to promote 'voluntary emotional and sexual relations between adults and children'," it adds.

Referring to freedom of association in the constitution, the daily says a broad majority in the Danish parliament, the Folketing, and the justice minister have up to now dismissed any question of proscribing the association.

"Banning the association would deny potentially dangerous people a recognised meeting place," Berlingske Tidende concludes.

Gay marriages

Hungary's Nepszabadsag considers the Vatican's statement on legalising gay marriages.

"Since the first gay married couples are celebrating their tenth wedding anniversaries in Scandinavia ... obviously, the Vatican also realised that a chain reaction has started."

"The main aim of the Vatican is to show Catholic politicians the way to enforce the stance of their church as state constraint," it says.

"It makes it their conscientious obligation to take a stance and vote against laws allowing homosexual marriages," the paper adds.

Anti-smoking Finns cut tobacco duty

As a world conference on tobacco and health takes place in Helsinki, the Helsinki Hufvudstadsbladet says "it can't be completely easy for the Finnish hosts to explain why Finland is choosing to cut duty on tobacco.

"In principle the explanation is simple... the intention is not to increase tobacco consumption in Finland. Of course not."

Duty is being cut because "otherwise the cheap tobacco in the new EU countries, particularly Estonia, would be dangerously attractive to Finland's smokers."

The paper says Finland is "top of the class" in anti-smoking measures, but that the country still loses 1.2 million work days every year because of smoking.

Azeri heir

This means that in effect the controlled transfer of power from the current president to his heir has begun
Nezavisimaya Gazeta
Azeri President Heydar Aliyev on Monday appointed his son Ilham as prime minister. Russian Nezavisimaya Gazeta says "the parliament confirmed the decision at an emergency session."

President Aliyev is seriously ill in a Turkish hospital.

According to the Azeri constitution, "the prime minister is second in the hierarchy of state power, and assumes the duties of the president if the latter dies or is seriously ill."

"This means that in effect the controlled transfer of power from the current president to his heir has begun," the paper concludes.

Moskovskiy Komsomolets believes the "hastily-convened parliament sitting" can mean only one thing: "President Aliyev is in a bad way."

Gazeta reports that an opposition rally was held in Baku calling for "a live Aliyev to show himself, for free elections and the liberation of Karabakh".

"In reply," the paper adds, "Ilham Aliyev called the opposition leaders 'talentless and amoral', and promised that he would not let these 'uneducated fruit traders' come to power."

Komsomolskaya Pravda reports that "Ilham's candidacy was supported by 101 of the 102 deputies present at the parliament session."

"Aliyev junior said that 'the support of the deputies was unexpected', as his own 'Yeni Azerbaijan' party only has 77 of the 124 seats in parliament," it concludes.

Lada for ever

Vremya Novostey carries a story of a 43-year-old resident of Yekaterinburg, north-western Russia, who died at the wheel of his car on Sunday night while attempting to install an anti-theft device of his own design.

Police, called by neighbours, arrived to find his body with multiple bullet wounds.

His invention was a four-barrelled firearm, the remains of which the police found in the car, it says.

"The owner thought the miniature artillery piece would keep the local joyriders away from his precious Lada for ever," concludes the paper.

The European press review is compiled by BBC Monitoring from internet editions of the main European newspapers and some early printed editions.


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