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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 25/11/2009



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More troops for Afghanistan

More troops for Afghanistan


US President Barack Obama plans to present his new Afghanistan strategy next week. The scenario is expected to include a troop withdrawal plan, but will no doubt mean sending more soldiers in the short term. » more

With articles from the following publications:
Berner Zeitung - Switzerland, Corriere della Sera - Italy, Gazeta Wyborcza - Poland

Berner Zeitung - Switzerland

US President Barack Obama will shortly announce his decision on his Afghanistan strategy. The daily Berner Zeitung conjectures about what form it will take. "In an assessment of the situation General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of the US and Nato troops in Afghanistan, has called for an additional 40,000 soldiers to be sent to avoid a defeat at the hands of the Taliban. Experts reckon Obama will announce the deployment of 32,000 to 35,000 additional troops. According to statements from government circles, the decision has been delayed because Obama wants to present an exit strategy at the same time as a troop surge. That will involve a medium-term plan for transferring responsibility for security to the Afghan armed forces and police, followed by a gradual withdrawal of foreign troops." (25/11/2009)

Corriere della Sera - Italy

Italians must finally understand that sending more troops to Afghanistan is probably the only way to solve the conflict, writes the liberal conservative daily Corriere della Sera: "It may seem paradoxical to send more troops to Afghanistan today if we're just going to pull them out tomorrow. ... Nevertheless this is exactly the American president's strategy. ... It is a high-risk calculation to which the Atlantic Alliance must react quickly, starting with the scatterbrained Italians. Yes, we shed honest tears over our fallen soldiers, but we also have the habit of quickly forgetting the war that killed them. ... It is no longer possible to say we have done our utmost. It is impermissible that we act alone or do less than the others. And if someone could explain that to the Italians perhaps public opinion would finally get a better understanding of why we're in Afghanistan at all." (25/11/2009)

Gazeta Wyborcza - Poland

The anticipated decision by US President Barack Obama to send more troops to Afghanistan could end in a disaster, writes the left-liberal daily Gazeta Wyborcza: "Obama has allowed himself to be won over by the generals who tested a similar strategy in Iraq. There the pressure on the civilian population resulted in a massive increase in violence, and Iraqi popular support for the terrorists and partisans rose considerably. ... With an increase in the number of soldiers in Afghanistan it could be that the terror will decrease, the Afghans - like the Iraqis before them - will start taking care of themselves and the Western coalition forces will slowly pull out. Or the country could sink into chaos." (25/11/2009)


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The Guardian - United Kingdom

Tribunal against Blair futile

The investigation into the Iraq war started yesterday in London. Chaired by Sir John Chilcot, the committee will question former leader Tony Blair and current Prime Minister Gordon Brown. However the daily The Guardian doubts there will be much political fallout: "Suppose Chilcot were to name and blame specific ministers and public servants and call for their impeachment as deceivers or even as war criminals. What does parliament do? There has been no formal trial or even parliamentary hearing. Do MPs call in the director of public prosecutions? Suppose Chilcot blames parliament, as he should. ... Does it again dissolve itself? The answer is that it will do none of these things. Chilcot is performing an exercise in historical research. Parliament will do absolutely nothing with his report, as it is doing nothing about Blair's other war in Afghanistan, even when there is still time to stop more unnecessary bloodletting. To MPs Chilcot is merely a convenience for getting themselves off the hook. ... It is to this that democratic accountability is reduced: long periods of silent inertia interrupted by occasional spurts of blood." (25/11/2009)

Correio da Manhã - Portugal

Socialists would rather fight the press than corruption

After the Portuguese press reported about bugged telephone conversations between Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates and a man charged with corruption, Sócrates himself is now once again under suspicion of corrupt dealings. Members of Sócrates' Socialist Party (PS) have criticised the publishing of the material, which they say violates judicial secrecy. The daily Correio da Manhã says the PS should focus its efforts on fighting corruption instead: "[PS members] are claiming, … judicial secrecy is 'the most grave problem facing the Portuguese judiciary'. … The public prosecutor will use cutting edge technology to listen in on insolent journalists who don't respect judicial secrecy. Or ask the criminal investigation department to use all means at its disposition to track down journalists who don't obey the commands of the emperor and his laws. So now we also know that the PS is not concerned … about the fight against corruption, the abuse of power, the misuse of public money or nepotism." (25/11/2009)

Kurier - Austria

Climate policy is mass murder

Two weeks before the World Climate Summit begins in Copenhagen the daily Kurier sees little chance of it being truly successful: "There are short and medium-term economic interests in play that put profit above everything else. Then there are politicians who are fond of making grandiloquent speeches but when it comes to the crunch turn all meek and mild and capitulate in the face of the powerful captains of industry and approaching elections. And then there's the all-pervasive (old Viennese) proverb according to which things won't get that bad - based on a few controversial studies. The consequence is a total standstill: So the climate conference in Copenhagen in December won't bring a breakthrough. And this is a true declaration of bankruptcy because the world has been preparing for this summit for four years now, and worse still, it is a slap in the face, especially for the coming generations. This attitude, which can be described as potential mass murder out of negligence, must be corrected as quickly as possible - but there's hardly any time left for that now." (24/11/2009)

De Tijd - Belgium

Plumber and accountant will get Belgium back on track

The Christian Democrat Yves Leterme is to become prime minister of Belgium once again, succeeding Herman Van Rompuy, who has been elected new EU President. Jean-Luc Dehaene, likewise a Christian Democrat and former prime minister, has been given the task of tackling the controversial state reform, the revision of Belgium's state structure, known as the BHV. The business paper De Tijd is confident that the Christian Democratic duo consisting of "plumber and accountant" will be able to lead Belgium out of its current impasse. "In a world which is changing at a rapid pace and has a dynamic global economy the Wetstraat [the government centre in Brussels] can no longer afford to spend months staring blindly at the BHV and chasing its own tail. So it's a good thing that the issue is being put in the capable hands of plumber Jean-Luc Dehaene, which leaves Prime Minister Yves Leterme and the government free to focus on social and economic issues. … [Yves Leterme] is perhaps the right man at the right moment. We need someone who is good at figures because right now the greatest challenge is to reduce the budget deficit bit by bit." (25/11/2009)


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Eleftherotypia - Greece

Pepi Rigopoulou on people without papers

Pepi Rigopoulou reflects in daily Eleftherotypia on the situation of people who lack a residence permit: "People without papers are neither a number nor a category. They are 'dead souls' of the kind Russian writer Nikolai Gogol … described in his masterpiece … . Beyond the soothing rhetoric about foreignness and hospitality, the foreigner remains an enigma, a problem, a challenge. But solving the problems, finding answers to the challenges, can't be achieved with simple slogans, moralistic sermons and weak generalisations. We must understand: even if a foreigner has no papers this doesn't mean he has no identity. He has his own particular story ... which not only separates him from the rest of society but also from the other foreigners we tend … to see as a mass. In a unique way … the foreigner represents a certain personality that demands the sympathy of all those … who humiliate him." (24/11/2009)


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Svenska Dagbladet - Sweden

State shouldn't bail out Saab

The Swedish carmaker Saab is facing the end of the road after Swedish sports car manufacturer Koenigsegg announced it was giving up its takeover plans. The daily Svenska Dagbladet holds out little hope for the General Motors subsidiary: "Koenigsegg gave … crisis-hit Saab hope for the future. But it's not so surprising that the story didn't have a happy ending. The whole deal and the buyers were wrapped up in uncertainties and vague promises. The news is a hard blow for Saab employees - and there's no sign of light at the end of the tunnel. As far as the government is concerned … it must remain firm when the red-green voices [of the opposition] start demanding that the state intervene. It is not the task of the state to produce cars, not even when companies are making losses." (25/11/2009)

Diário Económico - Portugal

Rescue packages needed even after the crisis

No sooner has the global economy shown signs of recovery than the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) have started bickering over whether further rescue packages make sense. The governments for their part see further aid as mandatory, writes the business paper Diário Económico: "The IMF maintains that even in future rescue packages are necessary, because [economic] reconstruction can be thwarted by the wrong political decisions. ... The statements by [IMF director Dominique] Strauss-Kahn contradict the warnings of the ECB, according to which such packages should be discontinued. ... Despite all of the differences between the heads of the IMF and the ECB, it seems the majority of the European governments don't doubt that the economy must continue to receive support to come out of the red. ... Now that the worst global economic crisis since 1930 seems finally to have been surmounted, it is time that the countries once more put their minds to fighting the scourge of unemployment by growing by more than 2.5 or 3 percent." (25/11/2009)


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Blog Del alfiler al elefante - Spain

Chirac's memoirs as the decline of a genre

Lluís Bassets describes the memoirs of former French President Jacques Chirac as "disappointing" in his blog. He writes: "Not even in France: the genre seems to be irretrievably lost. Memoirs are no longer written, they are dictated. At great speed, commissioned by an editor, and in a strange symbiosis with a collaborator who does the writing. This is a sign of the times. The public figure who has distanced himself from the tough life of politics thus evades an examination of his conscience, the castigation of laborious writing with which he could purge his sins and errors. And he also evades the satisfaction of remembrance and the pleasure of settling old scores using the art of literature as a medium. It all boils down to listening to a few questions and erasing the inconveniences in a straightforward 'photoshopping' exercise on one's own historical image." (25/11/2009)

Sme - Slovakia

Dubček not a symbol of the Velvet Revolution

Pavol Paška, Speaker of the Slovak parliament, has called Alexander Dubček, the leader of the Communist Party during Prague Spring in 1968, a symbolic figure of  the 1989 Velvet Revolution. The liberal daily Sme cannot agree: "Dubček simply can't be compared with Václav Havel. The latter was a dissident, the former a dyed in the wool communist. ... Dubček never managed to free himself from of the fetters of communism. He never outgrew the year 1968. He never put in doubt the leading role of the party. And he never gave other parts of society more attention than the ex-communicated communists. ... Socialism ended in November 1989. For that reason one of its chief exponents cannot be called a symbol of the Velvet Revolution. Otherwise November 17 couldn't be a holiday, at least not for those who never belonged to the Communist Party." (25/11/2009)


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La Vanguardia - Spain

Crisis turns families into squatters

In these times of economic crisis an increasing number of empty houses are being squatted by needy families, the liberal daily La Vanguardia reports: "The current situation shows that Article 47 of the constitution, which guarantees the right to 'decent and adequate housing', is not being applied in practice. Because many people are not in a position to rent or purchase such housing, even when it's subsidised. In such a situation we are witnessing the appearance of a growing number of family squats. These have nothing to do with the squatting movement per se, which is highly motivated by ideological concerns but which is also shrinking by the day." (25/11/2009)


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Cyprus Mail - Cyprus

Social networks change journalism

In view of a video recently published on YouTube showing the stoning of a Somali woman, the daily Cyprus Mail examines the phenomenon of citizen journalism: "Throughout the social media - from Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube - photos and film are posted every minute that breach codes of conduct, laws of copyright, personal privacy and government laws…. There is no way of authenticating the photos and films and without informed analysis we cannot always make sense of what we see, but what is certain is the revolution taking place is accelerating beyond all borders and changing the face of news journalism forever. A stoning in Somalia can be seen on a sofa in Seattle in the time it takes to press the Enter key. …However we measure the effect, 'citizen journalists' are going to play an increasingly powerful role in how we get information." (24/11/2009)


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Metropol - Hungary

Betting scandal defrauds fans

In one of the biggest betting scandals in the history of international football, investigators say that around 200 European games are suspected of having been manipulated. The free newspaper Metropol considers itself to have been duped: "All of this has nothing ... to do with football. It isn't about breathtaking dribbling, wonderful cross passes or unstoppable goals. No, it is simply that our trust has been shattered. We've known for a long time that who wins a professional boxing title doesn't depend on talent, but on the amount of money that changes hands. ... Now football has received a kick in the face. ... UEFA is saying this is the biggest betting scandal of all times. Everyone who was involved in it has earned massive amounts of money. We, however, who have nothing to do with sport betting but simply love fooball, are all the poorer for having lost an illusion." (24/11/2009)

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