A 52-year old man is talking to police about the leaking of a question in the recent Baccalauréat final exams for French secondary students.

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Fifth person questioned in exam leak case

A 52-year old man is talking to police about the leaking of a question in the recent Baccalauréat final exams for French secondary students.

The Baccalauréat, often known simply as the Bac, is taken by most French 18-year olds at the end of their time at secondary school. 

The question in the maths exam, about probability, was circulated online and by phone before the exam was taken by 165,000 students last Tuesday.

According to Europe 1, the man is an employee of a company that repairs the printers that were used to print the exam papers. His 19-year old son had been questioned earlier in the day.

The man’s wife told Europe 1 that she did not believe her husband was involved.

“He’s been repairing machines that print confidential documents for 30 years. He never talks about it at home and the security controls are so strict that he never sees the documents.”

Le Figaro reported a source close to the enquiry saying that the son of the man had given the exam paper to another boy who had taken a photo of it.

This photo eventually found its way on to a video game website on the 20th June, the day before the exam took place.

While the investigation continues Luc Chatel, the education minister, has decided to cancel the question concerned as the papers get marked. Instead, points will be used from the other three problems in the paper and the pass mark will be lowered from 10 to 9. 

This decision has sparked outrage among many pupils and parents who have complained that the approach is unfair. Some are demanding that the exam should be taken again while others think the full four points for the question should be awarded to all. One parent has launched a legal challenge.

Bac season has been marked by a series of problems this year. Rumours have also circulated of similar leaks in the physics and English exams. 

President Sarkozy yesterday gave his backing to his minister, saying that there was no “good solution” but the “most respectful” way of ensuring fairness had been chosen. Results from the Bac are due next week.

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Author attacks the Queen’s Swedish

Last week the press focused on the discrimination faced by immigrants when potential employers hear their foreign name or accent. This week, one immigrant's Swedish slip-ups earned her a very public language lesson.

The immigrant in question is Queen Silvia, and Thursday’s Expressen carried a harsh attack on her linguistic ability by the author Björn Ranelid.

“She has never even formulated a metaphor,” he complained, speaking at a seminar on justice.

Ranelid pointed out that thousands of immigrants in Sweden struggle alone with the language, and find it very hard to be accepted in Sweden if they don’t speak it perfectly. Even when they crack the grammar, he said, many still don’t get jobs.

In contrast, the queen, who moved to Sweden in 1976, “has had special lessons at [the royal theatre] Dramaten and personal speech therapists”, according to Expressen.

“But her speech is full of grammatical errors,” said Ranelid, citing the occasional failure to give an adjective its correct form – something The Local is certainly in no position to criticise.

“She is a bad example for everyone who is cleaning and toiling away,” he said of the woman who grew up in Brazil and Germany and apparently already spoke six languages before she came to Sweden at the age of 32.

While Ranelid may have been trying do his bit for integration, he perhaps ought to have considered the fact that the queen’s occasional slips probably do more for furthering the acceptance of immigrants in Sweden than perfect grammar ever would.

And nobody complained about her grammar or pronunciation on Wednesday when she opened a conference on Motor Neurone Disease, attended by some of the world’s leading researchers. In her speech she referred to the popular TV presenter Ulla Carin-Lindquist, who died of the disease in March of this year.

“The disease was given a very clear face through Ulla Carin-Lindquist’s open and brave fight,” she said.

Meanwhile, another of the king’s friends caused the royal household minor embarrassment this week when he locked himself in his house with “a lot of weapons” and had to be talked out by special police units.

Expressen reported that the 68 year old captain and former royal chamberlain refused to come out peacefully until the police referred to him by his title.

“You will call me baron, or else I’m not coming out,” he said.

The man, who shares the king’s interest in fast cars and is apparently in his hunting team, was taken by police to St Göran’s hospital in Stockholm after they agreed to his demand.

A spokesman said they confiscated a shotgun and five rifles from the man.

Sources: Expressen