Monthly Archives: October 2011

John Aglionby

People may be forgiven for wondering what European leaders will do this weekend since most decision-making has been postponed. (See 10.25 entry) Photo Reuters

Welcome to our coverage of the eurozone crisis. Compiled by John Aglionby on the world news desk in London, with contributions from correspondents around the world. All times are London time.

This weekend was meant to be the moment European Union leaders came together to end the eurozone debt crisis. But continuing differences between France and Germany, primarily over how to boost the firepower of the €440bn eurozone rescue fund, mean another summit will be required. As one European official said: “We’ve lost the main parachute and we’re on the reserve chute and we’re not sure that will even work.” Read more

Roula Khalaf

Muammer Gaddafi’s end was destined to be bloody. A few months ago, when the rebels were struggling and their western backers were losing patience, he could have saved his skin and that of his children and fled into exile, with the consent of his Libyan opponents and their western backers.

Even the indictment by the International Criminal Court seemed, at least for a while, open for some compromise. Read more

Euro banknotes placed on a map of Greece. Photo: Dado Ruvic, ReutersWelcome to our live coverage of the eurozone crisis, by Esther Bintliff and John Aglionby on the world news desk in London with contributions from correspondents from around the world. All times are London time.

Hopes for the unveiling of a “comprehensive plan” to resolve the eurozone crisis at this weekend’s summit of European leaders have been squashed this afternoon. “No agreements” will be made, officials told the FT, until a second summit, which will probably take place on Wednesday. Read more

From the FT’s Brussels blog:

Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovich, left, and Commission president José Manuel Barroso in March 2010

The European Commission announced today that Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich was no longer welcome in Brussels on Thursday after opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison last week.

Both Yanukovich (who made Brussels his first foreign stop when he became president last year) and Tymoshenko (who attended the pre-summit gathering of centre-right presidents and prime ministers ahead of the March EU summit) have been regular visitors to Europe’s capital as Ukraine tries to finalise an “association agreement” with the EU before the end of the year.

 Read more

Roula Khalaf

Gilad Shalit crossed into Egypt’s Sinai peninsula this morning at the start of a highly emotional day of prisoner exchanges between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas. The 25-year-old soldier captured five years ago by Hamas will be receiving a hero’s welcome in Israel, and Palestinians will celebrate the return of 477 prisoners, the first batch in the 1,000-to-one exchange. Read more

By Gideon Rachman

Recently I met a retired British diplomat who claimed with some pride that he was the man who had invented the phrase, “the management of decline”, to describe the central task of British foreign policy after 1945. “I got criticised,” he said, “but I think it was an accurate description of our task and I think we did it pretty well.”

John Paul Rathbone

Every Sunday for the past eight years a group of elderly women – each wearing white and carrying a white gladiolus – has attended mass and then walked through the streets of Havana in silent protest at their husbands being held as political prisoners.

The Cuban government never quite figured out an internationally-acceptable way of handling the “Ladies in White”. So it let their quiet marches continue, even if they were routinely assailed by pro-government mobs who screamed insults in officially-sanctioned “Acts of Repudiation”. Last Friday, the Ladies in White’s leader, Laura Pollán Toledo, a 63-year old Spanish literature teacher, died in a public Cuban hospital of respiratory complications. The following Sunday, the march went on as usual. Read more

Gideon Rachman

One of the nice  things about the Financial Times is that you have really interesting conversations in the corridors. Yesterday I got chatting to James Kynge, our former Beijing bureau chief, who now edits the newsletter, “China Confidential“. James said that he thinks that political atmosphere inside China feels more unstable than for many years. He cited many little pieces of evidence. But the one the appealed to me most was the story of the “Happy Girls” talent show. Read more

The Financial Times’ View from the Top conference this year focuses on “The future of America”, with business leaders, politicians and economists exploring a variety of factors that will shape America including the economy, the influence of China and power.

While there was an appropriate balance of positive and negative outlooks for the future of America, all the speakers called for an end to the political wrangling that threatens to derail the economic recovery. Read more

John Paul Rathbone

Last month, gunmen dumped 35 dead bodies on the streets of Veracruz, one of Mexico’s busiest Gulf ports, just a short distance from where the country’s state attorneys were due to hold a convention. Last week, another 32 dead bodies were found stashed in Veracruz houses.

And last weekend, the nearby university town of Xalapa hosted an offshoot of the Hay literary festival – a genteel and ruminative gathering of the kind that Harry Eyres writes about in his weekend FT column “The Slow Lane”. It is also the kind of discrepancy that is becoming increasingly common as Mexico grinds through the fifth year of its “drugs war”. Read more