France and Egypt

Insight, wit and analysis from BBC correspondents, journalists and writers from around the world. Presented by Pascale Harter. In this edition:

Hard-knock life

France's last President, Nicolas Sarkozy, won votes - as well as criticisms - for claiming his government would 'clean the scum off the streets' of the no-go suburbs. In the aftermath of the explosive riots of 2005, there was much talk of job creation in the most deprived city areas - as well as of hardline police action.

But seven years on there are still places in France where the only work in town is crime - which pays worryingly well. And even under the new, Socialist President Hollande, there is still political mileage to gain by promising stricter law and order measures after unrest in the streets.
The BBC's Paris correspondent Christian Fraser has been to Amiens and Marseilles - two towns at opposite ends of the country, with very similar problems of social exclusion.

Brewing up trouble

The month of Ramadan can be a dramatically different experience depending on where in the world you spend it. In Morocco, the whole country almost shuts down as families feast together behind closed doors. The police are prone to arresting citizens caught smoking or drinking during daylight hours. And to buy alcohol you have to produce a passport to show you are not Muslim.

In Tunis, in contrast, the city comes alive. The book shops on Avenue Bourgiba open well into the night and coffee drinkers overflow from the cafe terraces. And even if you wanted to break the daytime fast, or have something stronger, well, that was your decision. But with a new, religiously-dominated government things are changing. One Tunisian blogger has been arrested for drinking alcohol in Ramadan.

So what about a north African country with its own brands of alcohol, and a substantial Christian minority, but where the Muslim Brotherhood has just been elected? Over the past month, Edwin Lane has been pondering how much longer the new Egyptian government will keep its cool when it comes to bars and beer.

(Image: French gendarmes patrol in the northern area of Amiens on August 14, 2012, after a riot in a deprived area of the city left 16 police officers injured. Credit: AFP / Getty Images)

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Thu 23 Aug 2012 03:50 GMT

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