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 Press review

AUGUST 13, 2007

Le Monde reports on the latest development in the scramble for the Arctic.

You might remember a Russian intervention in the frozen north last week.

Moscow claimed ownership of a big chunk of the Arctic ocean, and planted a flag on the ice to show they meant business.

Now the Canadians are getting in on the act.

The Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper has announced plans for a naval base and a military training centre on his country's northern coast.

Harper didn't mention the Russian moves but everyone reckons there's a connection.

He declared his intention to "reinforce Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic".

The new Arctic base will be found at the entrance to the legendary North West passage.

The onset of global warming has opened up fresh opportunities for money-making in the Northern ocean.

With ice retreating, the passage through the Arctic may become a valuable route for commercial trade over the coming years.

But an academic quoted by Le Monde fears that we are about to see the militarization of the Arctic.

He calls for a treaty to prevent that from happening – similar to the one already in effect that protects the Antarctic.

Elsewhere the centrist paper reports on the visit of Nicolas Sarkozy to the United States.

Sarko has been going down a storm with media apparently, who like his blunt, aggressive style.

And he seems to have influenced George Bush in one matter.

The French leader has urged his compatriots to spend more time working and less time slacking off.

That message has been taken to heart by President Bush, who has cut back on his summer vacations.

Critics have never liked the President's habit of taking five weeks off in Texas every summer.

It's not long since Bush chided the Iraqi parliament for awarding itself a generous break.

Some diplomats unkindly noted that he could hardly do the same himself afterwards.

Whatever the reason, Bush will be taking fewer days off this year and keeping his oar in by meeting a few international leaders during the month of August.

Daniel Finn