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The paper clip, 11 April

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Financial trouble in Italy and Spain, a surprise resignation in Germany, and reports from the Syrian city of Homs are among the top stories today in Europe's newspapers...

There is panic selling on European financial markets this morning, with Italian and Spanish bonds at the centre of the turmoil. Spain's El País and El Mundo and Italy's La Repubblica and La Stampa have extensive coverage. The UK's Guardian reports that fears of a double-dip recession are growing. The Financial Times says that Spanish ministers and EU officials have taken turns to deny that the country needs an international bail-out.

A snap election in Greece on 6 May is to be announced today, the Irish Times writes.

The eurozone does not yet agree that competitiveness is necessarily relative, writes a commentator in the Financial Times in an article entitled “why the Bundesbank is wrong”.

The Czech government has survived, after a day of talks between its three parties allayed some immediate tensions. The talks also produced agreement on new deficit-reduction measures, including tax hikes. Lidové noviny has a report.

Süddeutsche Zeitung reports that Gesine Lötzsch has resigned as leader of Germany's The Left party. The paper says that the surprise decision was due to her husband being ill. The paper speculates that the party's former leader, Oskar Lafontaine, could make a shock return. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung also has this story. It says that her resignation is all the more startling because it comes midway through two local election campaigns.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports that Germany's government has admitted that it may fail to meet its 2020 target on carbon emissions. Government sources have told the paper that the current rate of emissions reduction is too slow and that the strong growth of the country's economy is the main reason for the possible failure.

Kofi Annan has said that efforts to secure a ceasefire in Syria will continue, despite claims that government forces killed 1,000 people in the eight days before a truce was due to begin on Tuesday. The Guardian has a report. Syria's regime is doomed, writes a commentator in the Financial Times. Homs' dead did not die in vain, he states. Financial Times Deutschland has a selection of exclusive photographs from Homs. The paper says that even if, as seems unlikely, Syrian authorities do call a ceasefire, it will have come much too late for Homs.

Spain's El País focuses its coverage of the French presidential elections on the far-right Front National and on the claim by its leader, Marine Le Pen, to be the “anti-system” candidate.

Gazeta Wyborcza and Rzeczpospolita remain dominated by yesterday's second anniversary of the Smolensk air disaster in which 96 people were killed, including Poland's President Lech Kaczynski and many members of Poland's political, military and cultural elite.

Liberation reports on the death of Raymond Aubrac, one of the last surviving leaders of the French resistance. He was 97.  
  
The UK's Farmers Guardian reports that a study by  Friends of the Earth (FoE) has found that hand-pollination of crops as a result of a decline in bees could cost the British economy £1.8 billon each year. The FoE, in a campaign called 'The Bee Cause', calls on UK Prime Minister David Cameron to commit to an action plan to save the British bee. FoE says that in recent years, Britain has lost more than half the honey bees kept in managed hives and that wild honey bees are nearly extinct.
 
Le Monde leads with a survey of medical fees in France, which found that rates vary widely. Many doctors in Paris charge more than five times the average rate.

Malta is to get €41.5 million in EU funds to help build an oncology centre, the Times of Malta writes.

The UK Independence Party is a caricature of British Conservatism but it is starting to press disillusioned Conservative voters' buttons, writes a leading Conservative in the Times. To ignore UKIP would be to imperil the Conservative Party, he writes of David Cameron, the UK's prime minister.

Diplomats who are not fluent in the local tongue risk doing their country a disservice, a former UK ambassador warns readers of the UK's Daily Telegraph.

Le Figaro reports that a police sergeant in the anti-crime brigade, aged 32, has died after he was deliberately run over by a car when he intervened in a robbery near Chambery. The suspects fled.  

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