Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Newspapers 12th November

EU to allow 'wonky' fruit. Bruno Waterfield , The Telegraph (en)
" ... The European Commission will on Wednesday tear up bureaucratic "marketing standards" that set precise measurements for the appearance, weight and size of 26 types of fruit and vegetables – including the Brussels sprout ...
... An estimated 20 per cent of the British harvest is thrown away to comply with the EU regulations, rules which have been calculated to add as much as 40 per cent to the price of some vegetables, such as carrots.
"Nature does not always comply with a perfectly rounded apple and poker straight carrot. People should be given the chance to buy odd shaped fruit and veg as they taste just as good," said NFU Horticulture board chairman Richard Hirst ...
... The rule changes will be implemented from July 1 next year ..."

Why did the West ignore the truth about the war in Georgia? Mary Dejevsky, The Independent (en)
" ... The journalists travelled to the region separately and by different routes. They spoke to different people. But their findings are consistent: Georgia launched an indiscriminate military assault on South Ossetia's main town, Tskhinvali. The hospital was among the buildings attacked; doctors were injured even as they operated.
The timing of the Georgian attack, as of the arrival of the first Russian reinforcements two days later, coincides for the most part with the original Russian version. It was only then that the Russians crossed into Georgia proper in the invasion of sovereign territory that has been universally decried. For the record, it should be added that Russia has now withdrawn from uncontested Georgian territory, in accordance with the agreement mediated by President Sarkozy ...
... What has now transpired, however, is that the US and Britain had no excuse for not knowing how the war began. They were briefed by the OSCE monitors at a very early stage, and those monitors included two highly experienced former British Army officers ..."

Moscow signals depreciation of rouble. Charles Clover, The FT (en)
" ... Russia’s central bank signalled on Tuesday it was prepared to allow a sharp depreciation of the rouble as it lowered the floor at which it would defend the struggling currency, while capital outflows from the country took their toll on foreign exchange reserves ...
... A large depreciation could expose the government to serious political consequences ... But holding the rouble stable may ultimately be futile as the price of oil, Russia’s main export, falls and international credit markets dry up, analysts said ..."

Danes ‘bearing the cost’ of being outside euro. Robert Anderson, The FT (en)
" ... Denmark is paying the price for not adopting the euro, Nils Bernstein, governor of the country’s central bank, said on Tuesday, even though last month’s rise in interest rates has been successful in stopping pressure on the krone. “It is first and foremost a political question whether to join [the euro],” the Nationalbank chief said in an interview, “but as we now see there is an economic cost to being outside the eurozone.”

French agency to make debut in bail-out funding. Anousha Sakoui , The FT (en)
" ... A new French agency will make its debut in the international bond markets this week to raise bail-out funding for the country’s banks, marking the latest entrant to a growing investment class.
Banks running the bond sale for the Société de Financement de l’Economie Française (SFEF) are hoping to sell between €3bn and €5bn in three-year bonds this week.
The bonds are of the kind with which investors in Europe and beyond are going to become increasingly familiar – government sponsored debt issued either directly by or on behalf of the battered banking industry ...
... SFEF will provide up to €265bn in new loans to France’s banks, to ease lending conditions. The SFEF will use an explicit state guarantee to raise debt of up to five years maturity on the markets and pass it on to banks at a commercial rate plus a 20-basis-point fee for the government backing ..."

After U.S. Breakthrough, Europe Looks in Mirror. Steven Eslanger, The NYT (en)
" ... Mr. Obama is the only black in the current Senate, and unless he is replaced by an African-American, the new Senate will have none. The new House has 39 black representatives, about 9 percent. Blacks make up about 13 percent of the country’s population.
But Rama Yade, the Senegal-born state secretary for human rights, called herself “a painful exception” in the French government, despite President Nicolas Sarkozy’s appointment of three prominent black or Muslim women to his government. As for the political elite’s embrace of Mr. Obama, she said, “The enthusiasm they express toward this far-away American, they don’t have it for the minorities in France.”
It is not only immigrants who are pondering what Mr. Obama’s victory says about Europe. France’s defense minister, Hervé Morin, called the Obama victory “a lesson” for a French democracy late to adopt integration ...
... But the conservative Le Figaro blamed French minorities themselves for part of their exclusion. The paper noted that Mr. Obama’s success was based on his upbringing, education and success at integrating into the larger society and articulating its values, including patriotism.
“From this point of view, Obama should be the model to follow for young immigrants who have come to doubt their feeling of belonging to the nation,” the paper said. “Minorities, who have chosen their exile, in contrast to black Americans, still have a lot to prove.” ..."

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