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The paper clip

06.03.2013 / 09:59 CET
A round-up of the international news on Wednesday, 6 March.

The death of Hugo Chávez, the president of Venezuela, fills newspapers. In France, the leader of the hard left, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, writes that what Chávez represents “will never die”, Libération reports him as saying. “Hugo Chávez, the end of a provocateur” is the title of a profile in Le Figaro. Following the death of Chávez, the country's leadership is now focused on ensuring stability, writes Slovenia's Delo. The Neue Zürcher Zeitung describes Chávez as a "Caudillo of the 21st century" – a democratically elected, popular strongman - and retraces his career from officer coup-leader to democratic statesman. His main legacy, according to the New York Times, is a deeply divided country.

The UK was left isolated during a meeting of EU finance ministers on the issue of bonuses for bankers, the Guardian writes. It says that George Osborne, the UK's finance minister, travelled to Brussels for the meeting “in a vain attempt to defeat proposals outlined last week to set a limit of a year's salary on bankers' bonuses”.

Karel De Gucht, the European commissioner for trade, tells Austria's Die Presse that a free-trade deal with the US is urgently needed for the EU to be able to face competition from China.

Le Figaro reports that the US and China have joined forces to impose sanctions on North Korea after its latest test of a nuclear weapon.

For a second day, the Financial Times looks at sweeping amendments to Hungarian law expected to be passed by the Hungarian times next week, focusing this time on the impact on churches. It writes that the amendments set to restore both the bulk of the church law and many controversial parts of the new constitution that the constitutional court or European institutions had successfully challenged.

Moldova's parliament has sacked the reformist prime minister, Vlad Filat, writes Timpul.

“Microsoft faces EU fine for breaking pact” is the headline of a Financial Times report. It writes that the rare European fine represents an unprecedented penalty against a company for failing to stick to a voluntary pact with anti-trust regulators.

Koen Geens, a professor at University of Leuven, has been appointed Belgium's finance minister, taking over from Steven Vanackere. De Telegraaf of the Netherlands and the Financial Times have reports.

Slovakia's Týždeň writes that Austria's defence minister, Norbert Darabos, has stepped down to take up a top party post with the Social Democrats (SPÖ), the largest party in the government. 

The US president's second-term team of secretaries and emissaries – including the major appointment of ‘blank slate' Philip Gordon as assistant secretary of state – augurs a new involvement in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, though not necessarily on the part of President Barack Obama himself, writes Israel's Ha'aretz.

Whatever Mario Draghi may say, the euro's devaluation is a matter of policy, Switzerland's Le Temps writes, referring to the president of the European Central Bank.

Iceland's government faces another vote of no confidence today, the Iceland Review writes. A general election will be held in April.

Václav Klaus will be replaced by Miloš Zeman as Czech president on Friday. Hospodářské noviny asks a range of Czechs in what ways they expect Zeman to be better than Klaus. Switzerland's Neue Zürcher Zeitung profiles the outgoing president.

The leaked transcripts of wire-taps that contributed to the defeat of the last Slovak government continues to have an impact. Sme writes that the ‘Gorilla affair' has led to a set of new criminal charges, this time associated with the privatisation of the country's largest electricity generator.

Israel's Ha'aretz writes that President Shimon Peres has honoured Holocaust heroes during a visit to Belgium.

One million Syrians have now fled the civil war in their homeland, writes the New York Times.

The Moscow Times reports that Russia saw virtually no increase in life expectancy from 1990 to 2010 and lagged behind more than 100 countries in the key health statistic over that period.

© 2014 European Voice. All rights reserved.

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