Monday, 3 November 2008

Newspapers : 3rd November

The gigolo, the German heiress, and a £6m revenge for her Nazi legacy. The Independent (en)
" ... What is now revealed is the stratospheric wealth of Ms Klatten, and the massive hole the affair has punched in the privacy of one of Germany's most discreet business dynasties. But also because Mr Sgarbi – if leaks from the interrogation of his partner are to be believed – was much more than just a staggeringly effective extortioner. He is said to be a man bent on exacting revenge for the crimes of BMW against his father, a Polish Jew and, during the war, a slave labourer in a BMW factory. The group made munitions, aero engines and batteries for U-boats and V2 rockets. One of their salesmen was Herman Goering, later head of the Luftwaffe. When Mr Sgarbi said he bedded Ms Klatten in posh hotels in Monte Carlo, Munich and elsewhere, he was sleeping with the enemy, with a cruel vengeance in mind ..."

Vichy gets chance to lay ghost of Nazi past . Charles Bremner, The Times (en)
" ... With the sun bathing its elegant gardens, the great spa town of central France is a picture of autumn beauty. Less visible is the enduring blight from which it suffers: the name of Vichy.
Now, 64 years since it was home to the pro-Nazi regime of Marshal Pétain, Vichy is hoping to soften the infamy that has long tainted the name of one of the most fashionable resorts of prewar Europe ...
... Vichy, on the Allier river, is to host ministers from the 27 EU states on Monday as they seek to harmonise immigration policy. They are to meet in the same Second Empire building where the parliament of defeated France abolished the Republic in July 1940 and handed power to the ageing Pétain ..."

Collapse of the pre-1914 world is still felt. Michael Gove , The Times (en)
" ... Ferguson's ultimate conclusion is that the war was an error, that Britain would have been better off standing aside, that German victory would have simply given us an earlier version of the European Union, without the horrors of millions dead, without the loss of our maritime Empire, and with the Kaiser rather than Peter Mandelson as the most glamorous representative of the pan-European governing class ...
... But it does seem increasingly clear to me that the Great War was a tragedy whose dimensions we still struggle to comprehend. In August 1914 it was possible to travel, and trade, freely across a Europe run, mostly, in a tolerant and liberal fashion. The ramshackle empires of the first decade of the last century may have offended nationalists and utopians of every stripe but they were delivering increased material prosperity and greater personal freedom at a steady rate. It took us nearly 80 years to recover from the shock of their demise. More than that, in so many areas of our intellectual and cultural life the Great War signalled a wrong turning ..."

France’s invitation to overseas wealth funds. Ben Hall and Scheherazade Daneshku, The FT (en)
" ... Augustin de Romanet de Beaune, the head of the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC), which will manage the new investment vehicle, said it would be open to outside investors, as long as they committed for the long term. “If the sovereign funds of China, Singapore and the Middle East want to come and invest with us, to become co-investors, they are welcome” ...
... Created in 1816 as an independent body to restore trust in the public finances after the Napoleonic wars, the CDC is one of the country’s most powerful and prestigious institutions, with assets of €400bn ($509bn) at the end of 2007 ...

Balkan states set to launch EU bids. The FT (en)

Merkel’s decisive reputation challenged. Bertrand Benoit , The FT (en)
" ... Yet while Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, and Gordon Brown, British prime minister, are seen to have tackled the financial crisis in their countries with determination, analysts and opponents think Ms Merkel’s comparatively mixed performance has cast doubt on her ability to lead under pressure and might have undermined her re-election prospects next year ..."

Iceland, Mired in Debt, Blames Britain for Woes. Sarah Lyall, The FT (en)
" ... In a volatile economic climate, in which appearance matters almost as much as reality, being associated with terrorism is not a good thing. “The immediate effect was to trigger an almost complete freeze on any banking transactions between Iceland and abroad,” said Jon Danielsson, an economist at the London School of Economics. “When you’re labeled a terrorist, nobody does business with you.” ... "

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