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Geopolitics

Dominique Strauss-Kahn Will Talk To The French People -- As Soon As Possible

Advisors say the former IMF chief will publicly offer his "regrets," but won’t address details about what happened in the infamous Sofitel hotel room in New York. And if all goes right, he will reclaim his role as a global authority on t

DSK at a Socialist rally in 2007
DSK at a Socialist rally in 2007
Raphaëlle Bacqué

PARIS – His friends and family were unsure whether he should speak right away. The public stir is too recent, the media circus still perceptible. Besides, they thought, what could he possibly say? Apologize like he did at the IMF last week? Tell his side of the story? "He might not have considered just how confused French people are about what happened," one of his friends said.

But Dominique Strauss-Kahn made up his mind. He wants to talk to the French as soon as possible. It doesn't matter if he still faces a civil suit from his New York accuser, or if he still has to deal with the complaint filed in France by Tristane Banon, a French writer, who has accused Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape in 2003.

Since May 14, DSK's close relatives, his party allies, his enemies, the media –and with it, the political barroom that the Internet can sometimes be– went on and on about his personality, his alleged obsessions, his relation with his wife, how he wasted his political career... without the man himself being able to say anything.

Television time

Now it's his turn to speak. Now it's his time to say he's "sorry" and to offer his "regrets' to his family and loved ones, as he already did before his former International Monetary Fund colleagues in Washington on August 29. Then he shall try to restore his image and regain some credibility by talking about the country's political and economic situation. Doing so, says one of his advisors, is also the best way to show that he has no interest in talking about himself.

His relatives say he will most certainly make a French TV appearance in the next ten days. Its impact will be scrutinized by polls, before DSK moves on to the next step: a press conference.

Talking about what happened in the Sofitel hotel room is out of the question. DSK has not even made a public statement about his version of events yet. "Journalists are the only ones who get excited about it, and there's no use for bordering on indecency", one of his advisors insists.

Another political aide lays out DSK's challenge: "Above all, we want to know if we can re-establish enough trust with the public, we want to know if people think DSK can still serve the country."

But some members of the French left party feel that DSK deserted them, and there is still a strong feeling of resentment and defiance from many women. People used to put faith in his ability on economic matters, but now they tend to wonder how vulnerable the man is and how professional his behavior can be.

So what's next for the 62-year-old politician, who just blew all his chances to run for the French presidency? For the past few months, the French Socialist Party has been learning to carry on without him, and several former allies have distanced themselves from the former IMF chief. Even Martine Aubry, the current French Socialist Party leader and presidential candidate, declared on French television last week, that she shared many women's concerns "about Dominique Strauss-Kahn's attitude toward women."

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Economy

Why More Countries Are Banning Foreigners From Buying Real Estate

Canada has become the most recent country to impose restrictions on non-residents buying real estate, arguing that wealthy investors from other countries are pricing out would-be local homeowners. But is singling out foreigners the best way to face a troubled housing market?

Photo of someone walking by houses in Toronto

A person walks by a row of houses in Toronto

Shaun Lavelle, Riley Sparks, Ginevra Falciani

PARIS — It’s easy to forget that soon after the outbreak of COVID-19, many real estate experts were forecasting that housing prices could face a once-in-generation drop. The logic was that a shrinking pandemic economy would combine with people moving out of cities to push costs down in a lasting way.

Ultimately, in most places, the opposite has happened. Home prices in the U.S., Canada, Britain, Germany, Australia and New Zealand rose between 25% and 50% since the outbreak of COVID-19.

This explosion was driven by a number of factors, including low interest rates, supply chain issues in construction and shortages in available properties caused in part by investors buying up large swathes of housing stock.

Yet some see another culprit deserving of particular attention: foreign buyers.

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