Strauss-Kahn arrest makes front page news in US

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Scandalous news of the arrest of IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn accused of allegedly sexually assaulting a chambermaid in New York was splashed across the front pages of American newspapers Sunday.

Reports that the jet-setting, high-flying Frenchman had been charged with attempted rape jostled for space with domestic news such as the Louisiana flooding, and was perfect fodder for the salacious New York tabloids.

But it was the more serious broadsheet the New York Times which broke the news late Saturday, and it was swiftly picked up by others such as Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.

Strauss-Kahn is not just the head of one of the world's leading financial institutions, the International Monetary Fund, which is seeking to help the debt-ridden euro zone. He is also a French politician known to have his eye on the presidency.

"No matter the outcome of Saturday's episode, it will likely throw the French political world into turmoil and the Socialist party into embarrassed confusion," wrote the Times.

The Post reached the same conclusion that Strauss-Kahn's arrest "seemed likely to change the political landscape in France."

The business daily, the Wall Street Journal, bemoaned the impact the arrest of the politician known by his initials, DSK, will have on the IMF at a critical juncture in its history.

"The arrest of the head of one of the world's most important financial institutions comes at a time when the global economy is still recovering from the 2008 financial crisis, and when Europe is still reeling from a still-unfolding series of government debt crises," the WSJ wrote.

Saturday's incident "will undoubtedly cast a cloud over the IMF's role in addressing the rescues," it said, adding Strauss-Kahn "had been seen as a forceful leader in respondent to the European debt crisis."

There was incredulity too from Americans over breaking scandal.

Shopper Alberto Otero was scanning the news stands outside a New York deli.

"Having the position he has, this is crazy. This guy is somebody, this is ridiculous."

On its website, the Washington Post published more than 400 comments by readers, most of whom seemed shocked by news of the former French finance minister's arrest.

"He thought he and his buddies ruled the world and they were above the law of mere mortals," said one, who signed himself Alance.

Another who called himself Beacon2 said: "Odd behavior. Escorts are cheap. He is an economist. The number of escorts exceeds demand, so why go for a maid and publicity."

© 2011 AFP

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