Archive for the ‘News bulletin’ Category

1. Like Tammy Wynette, Lib Dems must stand by their man (Guardian)

Coalition has been tough for the party and for Nick Clegg, yet his brave choices deserve our continued support, says Menzies Campbell.

2. British foreign policy should be realist (Financial Times)

Emotion draws the country across the Atlantic but hard calculation pulls it back to Europe, writes Philip Stephens.

3. Nick Clegg still has time to make a gracious exit as Liberal Democrat leader – with head held high (Independent)

The Lib Dem leader has made too many unforced errors for his own good, writes Mary Ann Sieghart.

4. Forget Mr Has-Been. The prize is power (Times) (£)

The future for the Lib Dems can only be as the third party of government, not as a left-wing alternative to Labour, says Philip Collins.

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Newspapers and commentators have been giving their reaction to the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The Times described director Danny Boyle’s creation as a “masterpiece”.

“Adventurous, self-confident, playful, entertaining, and all with a sense of history,” it said.

Columnist Simon Barnes said “London turned down the option to celebrate giants and supermen and power and might and chose instead to celebrate people”.

‘Magic night’

“Brilliant, breathtaking, bonkers and utterly British,” said the Telegraph.

“Danny Boyle captured the spirit, history, humour and patriotism of an expectant nation last night as he pulled off an Olympic opening ceremony like no other.”

Andrew Gilligan in the Telegraph was decidedly lukewarm about the event, describing it as a “bit of a grab-bag”.

“I thought some of it was great, some was rather bad and quite a lot of it will mystify the foreign TV viewers (95% of the audience) who it was supposed to dazzle,” he said.

However, historian Tim Stanley in the same newspaper said it “told many stories about British history.”

He said: “The show was as complex (or confused) as British identity itself. But it was also spectacular, beautiful and funny.”

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-Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered an inquiry into whether enough was done to prevent mass deaths in the southern flood-hit Krasnodar region. Mr Putin demanded to know how much warning people had been given about the impending disaster. Activists blamed the ferocity of the flood on the opening of sluice gates at a local reservoir. A separate criminal investigation is already under way into whether the 155 deaths were caused by negligence.

-French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met in Reims in France’s champagne region – where in 1962 their predecessors Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer officially turned the page on the second World War. After the unveiling of a commemorative plaque, the two attended a special service inside Reims Cathedral, again following a pattern set half a century earlier. The meeting between De Gaulle and Adenauer was a turning point in relations between the two countries that are now seen as the engine of Europe. However differences between Hollande and Merkel over how to tackle the eurozone’s financial crisis have put a strain on relations of late.

-A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (Sana) on 7 July shows naval Syrian vessels during an exercise at an undisclosed location Live ammunition was used during the Syrian military exercises. The Syrian armed forces have been conducting “large-scale” manoeuvres to test their “combat capability and readiness”, Syrian state media report. The exercises showed Syria was able “to defend [its] shores against any possible aggression”, according to state-run news agency Sana. Tensions along the border with Turkey have been raised after Syria shot down a Turkish fighter jet last month. Meanwhile President Assad has accused the US of trying to destabilise Syria.

Egypt’s new president has ordered parliament to reconvene in a move likely to put him at odds with the country’s powerful army. The Islamist-led lower house was elected after the fall of Hosni Mubarak. But generals dissolved it last month based on a ruling from the Supreme Court on election irregularities. That was just days before Mohammed Morsi was voted in as president. Now he has called the MPs back and says they should convene until a new parliamentary election to be held within 60 days.

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European Union leaders are set to examine a “compact for growth and jobs” aimed at countering record unemployment and an economic downturn – a deal pushed by French President Francois Hollande to offset German-led austerity. The summit begins today with the EU parliament president taking part in a debate on the next budget for the period between 2014-2020. A group of pro-austerity governments led by Germany and Britain are fighting the EU parliament’s demand for an increase in the 27-nation bloc’s spending.

-Members of Greece’s new parliament have taken their oath of office at a religious ceremony.Among those being sworn in were 18 MPs from the ultra-right Golden Dawn party. A notable absentee was conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. He is still recovering from eye surgery and is unable to attend the EU summit in Brussels either.

-Movements of troops and armored vehicles along Turkey‘s border with Syria are linked to rising tension following Syria’s downing of a Turkish jet last week, a Turkish government official said today. The apparent bolstering of its border force comes only two days after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country was changing its military rules of engagement.

-The United States Supreme Court has upheld President Barack Obama’s landmark overhaul of the US healthcare system, handing Obama a historic victory and bolstering his chances of re-election. Although the US is the world’s richest nation, it is the only industrialised democracy that until now does not  provide health care coverage to all its citizens.

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-People in Greece weighed their options today as they prepared to vote in a pivotal election that could determine the debt-stricken country’s future in the eurozone and have an impact on the global economy. Two parties, New Democracy and Syriza, are considered to be front-runners going into Sunday’s vote. Campaigning has now ended but in the last official polls they were running neck-and-neck.

-The UN observer mission to Syria has suspended its activities, saying escalating violence is impeding the monitors’ ability to carry out its mandate. “UN observers will not be conducting patrols and will stay in their locations until further notice,” the mission’s chief General Major Robert Mood said in a statement today. 300 observers were deployed in Syria, tasked with monitoring a ceasefire and supporting the full implementation of a six-point peace plan drafted by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, which was supposed to lead to talks between the two sides.

Saudi Arabia‘s Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud has died “outside the kingdom”, the royal court has said. Prince Nayef, who was also deputy prime minister and interior minister, had left the country for a holiday and medical tests late last month. On 3 June, the deputy interior minister said the prince, who was 77 or 78, was in good health and would return “soon”. He was named crown prince in October 2011 after the death of the previous crown prince, Sultan bin Abdul Aziz.

-President Obama has said that illegal immigrants who entered the US as children will no longer be deported and may instead get two-year work permits. The move is seen as aimed at Hispanics whose votes could be crucial in an election year. It affects immigrants aged under-30 who have lived in the States for five years. “Now, let’s be clear: This is not amnesty. This is a temporary stop-gap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people. It is the right thing to do,” Obama told reporters at the White House.

-An initial report into one of Switzerland’s worst coach crashes in 30 years is pointing the finger of blame in some way at the driver. The coach was carrying schoolchildren home to Belgium and the Netherlands from a ski-ing trip in March when it crashed into a tunnel wall on the A9 motorway between Sierre and Sion killing 28 including the driver. The public prosecutor for the Valais canton, Olivier Elsig, said: “An autopsy only takes a few days but we carried out toxicology analyses which take about three months, and then in April when we came to Belgium we asked for the drivers’ medical records and these files were sent to specialists who are making their reports.” Twenty-two of the dead were children aged around 12.

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