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The paper clip, 3 April

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Hungary's president, Pál Schmitt, has resigned after months of speculation about his fate. A government commission recently concluded that he had copied a couple of hundred pages of his doctorate. Népszabadság has a range of articles. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will name a candidate on 16 April.

The European Commission has warned the Italian government not to water down proposed labour-market reforms, writes La Stampa.

Youth unemployment has risen to over 50% in Greece and Spain, the UK's Daily Telegraph writes.
If Greece leaves the eurozone and is plunged into chaos, the rest of Europe will be sucked into the resulting mess, writes a commentator in the Financial Times, under the headline “the time bomb no one can defuse”.

Turkey last year became the fastest-growing country in Europe and in the OECD, a rich nations' club, with 8.5% growth, writes Today's Zaman.

Two members of the Polish parliament from the ruling centre-right Civic Platform (PO) have decided to join the anti-clerical and socially liberal Palikot Movement, Rzeczpospolita reports. The switch leaves the government with a majority of just one seat, with 231 deputies out of 460.

The junior partner in the Czech government, Veci verejné (Public Affairs, VV), has decided not to leave the government. The emergence of efforts by the other two governing parties to widen rifts within VV had raised the possibility of the government collapsing. Lidové noviny has a report.

Die Welt reports that the dispute with Switzerland over investigations into the use of confidential data by German tax inspectors continues. The Swiss authorities have issued arrest warrants for German tax officials for receiving stolen CDs containing bank account information. Handelsblatt carries an interview with the head of Germany's tax officials' union, saying that Switzerland should issue an arrest warrant for Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany's finance minister, because he took the decision to obtain secret details of bank-account holders.

Michalis Chrysochoidis, the minister handling immigrant affairs in Greece, has appealed to the European Union during talks in Brussels for help with illegal immigrants, writes Kathimerini. Cecilia Malmström, the European home-affairs commissioner, said that the EU had provided sufficient financial support for better border controls and a stronger asylum system but that Greece had been unable to make use of them.

Russia's outgoing president, Dmitry Medvedev, has refused to pardon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the jailed oligarch. Medvedev said that Khodorkovsky would first have to ask for a pardon. The Czech daily Hospodárské has a report.

There is cause for hope about Myanmar's future after the victory in elections of the Nobel Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi, a commentator in the UK's Guardian writes – but the government's attacks on ethnic minority populations illustrate how far Myanmar (Burma) has yet to go.

Syria has said that its military will withdraw troops and heavy weapons from populated areas by 10 April, the Guardian writes. Kofi Annan, the Arab League ambassador, is said to have received a letter from Syria's foreign minister on Sunday with the 10 April pledge. 

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Argentina's president, has criticised the UK for refusing to discuss her country's claim to the Falkland Islands, calling British control of the territory “a leftover story from the 19th century”. The Guardian has a report.

The Tuareg rebels who have taken control of swathes of northern Mali are a disparate group pursuing different goals, writes the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

Proposals for real-time monitoring of email and social media show the UK's government has caved in to the security services, the UK's Guardian writes.

The French presidential elections remain the firm focus for newspapers in France. Le Monde reports on the latest opinion poll which shows support for Nicolas Sarkozy, the current president, slowly increasing. In fact, the latest poll indicates that he would now win the first round of the ballot. However, his Socialist challenger, François Hollande, would win by a clear 10 percentage points in the second round. Libération leads on Sarkozy's “insult” to the French trades unions. The newspaper describes Sarkozy's outburst as a “diatribe designed to please the extreme of the electorate”. Le Figaro also reports Sarkozy's criticism of the unions, but is a little more sympathetic to the president's stance. The newspaper says that Sarkozy “reproached” the unions for their role in public life. He said that France “deserved better” than the current behaviour of the unions.

Support among German voters for the Pirates, a party campaigning for internet freedom, has risen to 12%, according to an opinion poll reported in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Elections are being held in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state, in May. The poll figures put the Pirates just behind the Greens on 13%, Handelsblatt reports. The Pirates won 7% of the vote in recent elections in Saarland. Support for the liberal Free Democrats (FDP), one of the parties in the governing coalition, has slumped to 3%, below the 5% threshold for being represented in the regional parliament.

British universities will be given powers to set A-levels for the first time in 30 years because of fears that the qualification is failing to prepare teenagers for the demands of higher education. The Daily Telegraph has a report.

The far-right is planning to march towards Roma homes in the Czech town of Chanov this Saturday, Romano Vod'i writes.

The Czech government's plan to return property to the Catholic church is the most valuable one-time sale of property in the Czech Republic since the fall of Communism in 1989, and it has unlocked a Pandora's box of historical enmities and social anxiety, writes the New York Times.

Seven people were killed and three more were injured when a gunman opened fire at a small Christian university in Oakland, California yesterday. The UK's Daily Telegraph has a report. 

Ukraine's jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko will be allowed to leave prison to receive medical treatment for a back problem, officials say. The Kyiv Post has a report.

The Washington Post has an article that explores Bulgarian Muslims' recollections of the forced name-changing campaign under the communist regime in the 1980s. 


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