Thursday, 19 February 2009

Newspapers : 19th February

Britain has most expensive train fares in Europe. Nick Allen, The Telegraph (en)
" Average season tickets and day returns in the UK cost almost twice as much as the next most expensive country, according to a comprehensive study by the rail watchdog Passenger Focus ...
... A commuter travelling between 10.6 miles (17km) and 25 miles (41km) each morning to London spent an average £1,859.96 on an annual season ticket, compared with £990 in the next most expensive country, France, and £443,69 in the cheapest country, Italy ... "

Blueprint for EU army. Bruno Waterfield, The Telegraph (en)
" ... The plan, which has influential support in Germany and France, proposes to set up a "Synchronised Armed Forces Europe", or Safe, as a first step towards a true European military force. The move comes as France, a supporter of an EU army, prepares to rejoin Nato and to take over one of the Alliance's top military posts. General Charles de Gaulle withdrew French forces in 1966 ...
... The EU proposals, drafted by Karl von Wogau, a German MEP, envisage a "dynamic to further development of co-operation between national armed forces so that they become increasingly synchronised - this process [should] be given the name Safe" ... "

" Rama Yade's extraordinary choice of words sheds new light on the bizarre relationship the unconventional head of state has with his women colleagues. They follow revelations that Mrs Yade, 33, sent the president heart-shaped chocolates in a bid to keep her job as human rights minister ... "

Hollywood learns a history lesson at last. Andrew Roberts, The Telegraph (en)
" ... Hollywood is finally releasing a movie about a British historical subject that is truthful, intelligent, nuanced and pro-British. Here, at last, is a film in which a cut-glass English accent does not denote colonialist evil, sexual perversion or serial killing.
For decades Hollywood has treated its audiences like morons, straitjacketing complex historical issues into goodies versus baddies. A classic example is the recent release Valkyrie, in which the German generals' assassination plot against Hitler is presented as having been launched in order to promote human rights and the decent treatment of minorities. The fact that Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, the undeniably brave would-be assassin described Poles as "an unbelievable rabble" of "Jews and mongrels" is conveniently forgotten ..."

" ... Mr Sarkozy believes that rejoining the command structure – giving France many senior Nato positions and influence over military planning – would hand Paris and Europe more influence in the alliance, remove a source of distrust between France and its US and European allies and add impetus to efforts to develop a strong European Union defence ­policy Opponents say it would curtail French autonomy and, as Mr Bayrou put it, end “an element of our ­identity in the concert of nations”. Ironically, whereas de Gaulle’s decision to withdraw France in 1966 was ­criticised at the time by ­centrists and the moderate left, it is they who have become the standard-bearers of Gaullism ... "

With Swipe at U.S., Iraq Builds Ties to French. Marc Santora and Allan Cowell, The NYT (en)
" ... Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq signaled a desire to gradually diminish American power over Iraqi politics and increase ties to other Western powers, during a visit ... resident Nicolas Sarkozy of France ... According to political advisers, Mr. Maliki is intent on changing the nature of Baghdad’s relationship with Washington, shifting Iraq’s role from a client state to a more equal partner ...
... The French overture came at a time of intense jockeying among the world’s leading oil companies for contracts in Iraq, with France’s Total among the major competitors ..."

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