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The paper clip

08.01.2013 / 10:20 CET
Round-up of the international news on Tuesday, 8 January.

Silvio Berlusconi has announced he will not seek to return as prime
minister under an alliance with the devolutionist Northern League
after elections next month, the UK's Independent writes. He had been
striving to seal the deal with his estranged former allies to
strengthen the centre-right bloc.

“The euro crisis is over, declares José Manuel Barroso” is the
headline in the Guardian. It writes that the European Commission
president's optimistic comments were in sharp contrast to the New Year
message sent by Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor.

Portugal's President Aníbal Cavaco Silva has warned the failure of the
euro would intensify archaic forms of nationalism. Diário de Notícias
has a report.

The British papers focus on the mid-term review issued yesterday by
the UK's coalition government. The confidence of the two parties'
leaders, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, belies the fact they are the
most trapped governing leaders since those that tried to rule in the
late 1970s, writes a commentator in the Independent.  “Forward, say
Cameron and Clegg. But to where?” is the headline.

The prospect of free-trade talks between the EU and the US is
approaching. The Financial Times writes that a working group led by
the European trade commissioner, Karel De Gucht, and the US trade
representative, Ron Kirk, is likely this month to suggest starting

Switzerland's Le Temps questions the transparency of Switzerland's
debate on its relationship with the European Union.

The patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church has encouraged Russians
to adopt orphans, as the country adjusts to a decision to bar
Americans from adopting Russian children. The International Herald
has a report.

Critics of US President Barack Obama forget that he is stymied by his
foes in Congress, writes a commentator in the Financial Times under
the headline “The myth of the imperial presidency”.

Sweden's Dagens Nyheter looks at the gun-control debate in the US and
notes that nearly 500 Americans have been shot dead since 26 children
and staff were killed in a Newtown school shooting on 14 December.

The Guardian writes on the possibility that lead poisoning may be a
major cause of violent crime. It seems crazy, but the evidence about
lead is stacking up, a commentator writes. Behind crimes that have
destroyed so many lives, is there a much greater crime?

In an interview with the daily Standart, Bulgaria's prime minister,
Boyko Borisov, writes that he received death threats from the
construction mafia while he was mayor of Sofia.

The new Chinese leadership under Xi Jinping is under increasing
pressure from the young, affluent and well-educated to grant citizens
political rights, the Financial Times writes.

Borut Pahor will today visit Brussels during his first foreign trip
since becoming Slovenia's president. Večer says the choice of
destination is no surprise, in part because Pahor is a former member
of the European Parliament.

Slovenia's Večer writes Slovenian couples are heading to the Czech
Republic, Denmark and Israel for fertility treatment because of the
long waiting times in Slovenia.

A list of alleged Greek tax evaders continues to trouble the country's ruling coalition, writes Kathimerini, with the centre-left junior partner expelling two of its parliamentarians for backing a move to investigate Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos.
Borut Pahor, Slovenia's new president, will hear one message above all during his first visit as president to Brussels today, according to Croatia's Jutarnji list: ratify Croatia's accession treaty so the country can join the EU as planned on 1 July.
Spain's banking crisis has returned employment in the sector to where it was 35 years ago, writes El País. Banco de Valencia is the latest to announce job cuts, some 900 in all.
The Washington Post discusses the implications of President Obama's nomination of Chuck Hagel as secretary of defence and of John Brennan as CIA chief.

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