Friday, 24 October 2008

Newspapers : 24th October

What the Poles have done for us. Harry de Quetteville, The Telegraph (en)
" ... Increased prosperity in Poland and the prospect of a severe recession in Britain mean that the economic gap between the two countries is closing fast ...
... The pound has slumped against the Polish zloty. Where Polish labourers working here could once depend on an exchange rate of seven zlotys to the pound, they now get about 4.7. Earlier this year, it hovered around just four. Coupled with average wages nearly doubling back in Poland, the incentive to remain has disappeared ...
... "Culture is a thing that always stays behind," says Joerg Tittel from the Polish Cultural Institute. "Polish culture means hard work. Also, family and personal relationships are very important. It's a far less cynical society than here. We [Poles] are importing old-school notions that history has proven work rather well." ...

Libya looks for bargains in plunging European markets. Rowena Mason, The Telegraph (en)
" ... Farhat Bin Guidara, who sits on the board of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), said Europe was the fund's top investment priority, followed by the US, because there are bargains among plummeting equities ...
... "We are going more towards sectors such as pharmaceuticals, telecoms, utilities and food manufacture," Mr Bin Guidara said at a conference in Cairo. "We are targeting companies less affected by the recession. Some banks are good opportunities for investment, even with the current crisis." ...
... Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said last week that certain oil-rich nations may be buying stocks "massively" in Europe, forcing Italy's financial regulator to ask European Union countries if it was possible to stop them ..."

Sarkozy makes new Europe power bid. The Independent (en)
" ... Fears – or hopes – that President Sarkozy wants to use the crisis to impose a more “dirigiste” and less free-market approach on European economy will be heightened by another proposal that he tabled today. France is to create a €175bn “sovereign fund” to invest in “strategic” companies threatened by foreign take-over during the crisis. M. Sarkozy wants all EU countries to create similar state investment funds and to use them jointly to protect European companies if necessary ...
... In his speech at Argonay, near Annecy, in the French Alps today, he said: “The technocratic Europe, the apolitical Europe, the debate-free Europe, the Europe which could not take decisions, which could not act is about to give way to a political Europe which can decide, act and think.” ...
... Successive French governments have campaigned for more political control of the Euro and the “Euroland” economy. Successive German governments have rejected the idea, preferring to leave the management of the Euro to the European Central Bank.
German officials fear that Paris sees European economic government through interventionist eyes which will create, in the long run, more problems than they solve. President Sarkozy’s proposal for European “sovereign” funds to protect strategic industries has already set alarm bells jangling in Berlin ..."

Merkel sees red at Sarkozy's plans . Adam Sage, The Times (en)
" ... We cannot leave business at the mercy of predators,” Mr Sarkozy said. “What oil producers do, what China does, what Russia does, there's no reason that France should not do.”
However, critics said that, with budget debt of €1,200 billion, Paris did not have any wealth to spare. In practice, Mr Sarkozy appears intent on merging a variety of existing state investment tools into a fund under the control of the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, the institution managing state savings accounts and pensions. The French Government said that the fund would be worth about €100 billion ..."

The dark secret in the far Right's closet. Hugo Rifkind , The Times (en)
" ... Seems so. Jörg Haider, wherever you are, you're a big disappointment. For a while, I really thought you were the one we were waiting for. You liked the Nazis, you really weren't fond of Jews. You were an anti-immigrant populist, and finally, you seemed destined for real power. You could have inspired thousands. Oh yes. We really could have hated you.
But no. Because you had to be secretly gay, didn't you? You can still be an evil tyrant and be gay, of course. Just ask the Emperor Hadrian, but the secrecy of it, the wife and kids, well, that sadly points towards a degree of inner conflict. It makes you sound like a victim, Jörg. Not a bully. It's bloody annoying ...
... Perhaps the problem is that we don't hear enough from the far Right. Nobody wants to share a platform with them, and nobody wants to invite them on telly. Scrutiny doesn't happen. There is quite a gulf between the guy whom 30,000 people felt they were mourning at his funeral, and the guy who went to bed with his spokesman in the spare room while his wife slept alone ..."

Transcript challenges UK position on Iceland.
"... transcript of a conversation between the UK chancellor, Alistair Darling, and his Icelandic counterpart appears to question the British government’s claim that Iceland had refused to compensate UK savers.
The transcript, obtained by the Financial Times, is of a telephone conversation at the height of the crisis on October 7 between Mr Darling and Árni Mathiesen, Icelandic finance minister ..."

Sarkozy plans new French wealth fund. Ben Hall, The FT (en)
" ... The new fund will focus on shoring up smaller French companies judged strategically important because of their technology or sector. It could take short-term equity stakes or provide reimbursable loans. However, Mr Sarkozy did not say how large the fund will be. It will be financed from the CDC’s own resources, but could receive additional public resources if necessary, he said. CDC’s long-term equity investments were valued at €43bn at the end of 2007 ..."

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