Monday, 17 November 2008

Newspapers : 17th November

Silvio Berlusconi denies reports of ill health. The Telegraph (en)
" ... Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, 72, denied reports that he had taken ill on a flight back from Washington and insisted that he had the health of a 20-year-old man ..."

German troops in Afghanistan drunk more than 1.8m pints last year. The Telegraph (en)
" ... Almost 70,000 litres of wine and seat, a German sparkling wine, was also shipped to the soldiers, the defence ministry figures showed. The figures imply that the 3,600 German troops in Afghanistan as part of Nato's ISA operation are each drinking around 490 pints or beer as well as 128 normal measures of wine ..."

What makes a Londoner a Londoner? Leo Hollis, The Telegraph (en)
" ... Dr Johnson was a Londoner amongst Londoners - which is to say that like most Londoners he was born outside the city. He is famous for his judgment that 'when a man is tired of London he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford' ..."

Suspected ETA military chief arrested in France. The Independent (en)
" ... The suspected military leader of Basque separatist rebel group ETA has been arrested in south western France, the French interior ministry said today, the biggest blow to the organisation in months. Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina, known by his alias "Txeroki" or "Cherokee", was arrested in France's mountainous Pyrenean region, near the Spanish border, said the interior ministry statement, which misspelled his surname as Asiazu ..."

Poles savour British flavours. Martin Hickman, The Independent (en)
" ... Polish nationals working in Britain in the past few years have picked up more than their wages – with many developing a taste for British brands of food and drink. Poles and other eastern Europeans returning home have increasingly been ordering premium British products such as dark chocolate, tins of shortbread, specialist teas, and even bottles of honey-infused bitter. Sales of British chocolate in Poland, for example, increased 185 per cent in the first six months of the year ... "

The summit which marks the changing of the old order. Leading article, The Independent (en)
" ... Nothing emerged from the G20 meeting in Washington at the weekend that gives the financial markets great cause for bullishness today. There were no promises of co-ordinated interest rate reductions, or global tax cuts. There was support from the leaders present for "fiscal measures to stimulate domestic demand", which is likely to give Gordon Brown the cover he needs to cut taxes in a week's time, but nothing more definite. There were also some warm words on reinvigorating global trade talks, but nothing earth-shattering ...
... One of the most significant consequences of the credit meltdown since last year is that the old "West" has shed a considerable degree of economic authority. Sovereign wealth funds from the Middle and Far East have taken a sizeable share of some of the top banks in Britain and America. Those same players have been asked to fill the coffers of the International Monetary Fund to bail out emerging economies stricken by sudden capital withdrawals. The communiqué made clear that this new economic reality will be reflected in the governing arrangements of the IMF and the World Bank ..."

Andreas Whittam Smith: Putin's energy threat should be risible. Andreas Whittam Smith, The Indepedent (en)
" ... though, to compare the natural gas market with the oil market. Why does the former give rise to political considerations whereas the latter does not? Think of the world's large oil suppliers, from Venezuela to the countries of the Middle East to Indonesia. Not one of them issues threats based on denying supply. Russia is also a significant exporter of oil to western Europe, but it never uses that as an instrument of its foreign policy. Yet it does so with gas ...
... This international oil market is now 140 years old, but natural gas only got going in the 1970s. In western Europe, trading began in a monolithic way appropriate to the period. State owned, monopoly gas undertakings in France, Germany and Italy, signed separate supply agreements with the Soviet Ministry of Gas. They secured large volumes for 20 to 30 years ahead under rigid contracts designed to support massive investment in infrastructure, especially the 5,000km pipelines from west Siberia to Europe. These contracts were government-to-government agreements, whatever the names on the documents ..."

Spy in Nato sparks alarm over secrets . Roger Boyes, The Times (en)
" ... A spy at the heart of Nato may have passed secrets on the US missile shield and cyber-defence to Russian Intelligence, it has emerged. Herman Simm, 61, an Estonian defence ministry official who was arrested in September, was responsible for handling all of his country's classified information at Nato, giving him access to every top-secret graded document from other alliance countries ...
... The longer they work on the case, the more obvious it becomes how big the impact of the suspected treachery really is,” according to Der Spiegel magazine. A German official described the Russian penetration of Nato as a "catastrophe" ... "

UN spends aid money on £12m office ceiling . John Follain , The Times (en)
" ... £12m decorative ceiling for a United Nations building in Geneva has come under fire after it was disclosed that it was partly paid for by Spain’s overseas aid budget. The decision to hire Miquel Barcelo, 51, one of the world’s most highly paid abstract artists, to redesign a 14,000 sq ft dome has prompted furious protests from campaigners who believe it is an extravagant misuse of development funds ...
... The work, at the headquarters of the UN Human Rights Council, will be unveiled this week by Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain and Jose Luis Zapatero, the Spanish prime minister ..."

Sarkozy calls for rethink over US defence system. David Charter, The Times (en)
" ... Mr Sarkozy, speaking at a joint press conference with Mr Medvedev, said: “I have suggested that in mid2009 we could meet within a framework to lay the foundations of what could possibly be a future pan-European security system. This would bring together the Russians, the Americans and the Europeans ..."

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