Monday, 24 November 2008

Newspapers : 24th November

France stuck in the past . The Telegraph (en)
" ... The chaos is a disaster for a party whose decline has been easy to measure at the ballot box. Since the socialist president François Mitterrand left office in 1995, the PS has never regained the keys to the Élysée Palace ...
...After all, the Socialist Party is all about ideas, not implementation; dogma, not pragmatism. Mr Sarkozy promised to do, not to ponder, and so was richly rewarded by voters. Meanwhile, the elephants risk taking their party down the path of the dinosaurs ..."

Why the French maid is about to clean up – and save her nation from economic ruin. Adam Sage, The Independent (en)
" ... Mrs Gomes Ricardo, 38, costs €25 a hour, but 50 per cent of that can be deducted from income tax under the government policy of promoting domestic services. She is paid about €12 an hour by her agnecy.
“Frankly, with people working longer and longer hours and more and more women working, I can only see this service growing,” she said.
Julien Moineau, the chief executive of Axeo, agreed. “The English understood a long time ago that we had to move to a service society. We’ve only just realised that in France and that’s why the Government is trying to accelerate the change.
“In the 19th century, the French were reputed for these sorts of services, but today we’ve got a lot to learn from the Anglo-Saxons.” ..."

Avant-garde – at last. Laura Henderson, The FT (en)
" ... Nowhere does nostalgia quite like Paris. The gothic buildings, the ornamental fountains, the gilded walkways across the river Seine – all are intricate reminders of a city inextricably linked with its past. But take a closer look at the French capital today ...
... “The capital is literally running out of space, particularly in the inner districts, [and] pressure has been mounting on the government for ages,” says Brendan Macfarlane of Paris-based architects Jakob & Macfarlane. “The one-size-fits-all approach – uniform buildings and tree-lined boulevards of the Haussmann era – has all but paralysed the urban grid, with limited scope for developers to design something visionary ...
... But others see the audacious new projects as linchpins of the capital’s future. “Key-note projects of this stature give Paris creative scope, a means of escape from the quixotic vision the rest of the world has of it,” says architectural consultant Nicolas Libert of estate agency Ateliers, Lofts et Associés. “For the first time utilitarian use of space is creeping in among the formalist beige and stone as a 21st-century solution to the city’s housing shortage. Add to this a new generation of investors demanding arty, designer real estate stock and it’s not too hard to predict where the metropolitan landscape is heading.” ..."

Germany’s president lashes out at bankers. James Wilson and Ralph Atkins , The FT (en)
" ... Investors had chased profits while the US Federal Reserve had kept money artificially cheap, Mr Kohler said in comments that seemed aimed at German and other European banks. “But too many of you ... ignored the multiple warnings and preferred to play along, rather than going against mistaken developments.”
Mr Kohler warned banks not to let down “our Mittelstand” – the country’s strong sector of mainly family-owned industrial companies. “They deserve trust. Even in the crisis. A panicked slashing of bank balance sheets does not help anyone. Bank supervisors should also be aware of that.” ...
... On Friday he called for bankers to return to simpler banking practices. “Do not only rely on computer models, and test what sort of investment banking really creates value,” ...
... he said the benefits of a European economic model, emphasising social equality, were proved and should be more widely adopted. “We in Germany do not need to reinvent the wheel,” said Mr Kohler. “The social market economy can now break through internationally. We have the chance of globalisation that is to everyone’s benefit.” ..."

Iceland thaws over clash with UK . David Ibison, The FT (en)
" ... Secret talks between the UK and Iceland governments may strengthen London’s case in the dispute over its use of anti-terror legislation to freeze Icelandic assets, according to the chairman of the board of governors of the central bank in Reykjavik.
“Not all conversations concerning this matter have been made public . . . When the matter is investigated, other conversations will have to be made public. I am aware of what they are about and I am aware of what in fact determined the position of the UK authorities,” said David Oddsson, former prime minister and one of Iceland’s most influential power brokers ..."

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