What in the world: Hollande's foolishness and Bitcoin at risk

French President Francois Hollande pauses during a press conference on January 14, 2014. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption No "secret life" for Francois Hollande

A review of the best commentary on and around the world...

Today's must-read

In Le Monde, Francoise Fressoz wonders how French President Francois Hollande could have been so foolish to try to have a clandestine affair with actress Julie Gayet:

How could Francois Hollande, in the era of smartphones, Internet and social networks, think that simply hiding his head under a scooter helmet would allow him to have a secret life, as former President Francois Mitterrand used to be able to enjoy?

He contends that Mr Hollande is reaping the consequences of using the media and "celebrity culture" to rise to fame and power.

"His personal life was thrown to the mercy of the public because it was, in reality, closely tied to his political life," he writes (translated by Worldcrunch).

BBC Europe Editor Gavin Hewitt gives a run-down of the implications of the alleged affair both for Mr Hollande and the French economy.

"Credibility is the key, and the president's personal life has become bound up with that," he writes.


Heading toward a coup? - Vice's George Henton writes that an impeding commercial shutdown in Bangkok is serious and a coup is "entirely possible", but bloody civil war is unlikely because the protests are being led by "heavily invested, largely middle-class members of society who would have nothing to gain from a crumbling nation".


Arming dependency - The lack of bidding and transparency in US weapons deals with India are making the nation dependent on the US without making it stronger, writes Brahma Chellaney in the Hindu.


From soldier to statesman - Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger writes that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon "symbolised the anguish and dilemmas of Israel".


Priest writes "Allah"; causes government crisis - Bloomberg View's William Pesek writes about the controversy that has ensued after a Malaysian Catholic priest referred to God as "Allah".


'Health is a right guaranteed by the state' - Le Monde Diplomatique's Carina Vane writes that Ecuador's newly achieved stability is giving it the strength to realise the promise of reliable health care that was enshrined in its 2008 constitution.


The Ayatollah loved satire - Iran has a long and rich tradition of humour, writes Author Roya Hakakian, which helps its people tolerate oppression.


Did the Bitcoin market almost get cornered by Ukranians? - A Ukraine-based company nearly acquired 51 percent of Bitcoin's processing power, which would have given it significant influence over the currency. "Bitcoin is now less a currency than a kind of risky bond for which the issuers bear no responsibility," writes Leonid Bershidsky of Bloomberg View. "Investors should be aware that the situation is ripe for abuse."

BBC Monitoring's quote of the day

Tunisia's Arab Spring "experiment": "Tunisia is the answer to all those who have claimed that the Arab Spring is nothing but withering flowers and painful endings. Tunisia is the experiment with the conclusive result; that the Arab political mind, despite all contradictions and interventions, is capable of creating opportunities for coexistence." - Othman Lahiani in Algeria's El-Khabar

One more thing…

Sherlock Holmes is not a vigilante - First, the requisite spoiler alert(!). With that out of the way, in a recent episode of Sherlock, the titular character shoots a villain who does not present a life-or-death threat to him. The Independent's John Rentoul writes that "reincarnating Sherlock as a vigilante is just wrong". He may have shot at the hound of Baskervilles, but the real sleuth of Baker Street is just not the type who would commit an extra-judicial killing.

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