The Guardian (UK)
A long picture of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama dominates the British daily's front page. Alongside it, an opinion piece by Oliver Burkeman starts with the following words:
“A naïve and irresponsible politician prone to distorting the facts, awarded a crucial role in his cabinet yesterday to a deeply flawed has-been who is neither honest nor trustworthy - or so you might have imagined had you relied on the character judgments that each had previously made of the other.”
With a quick reminder of how the pair regarded each other just a short while before, Burkeman asks just why US President-elect Barack Obama would elect Hillary Clinton to the post of US secretary of state and how the two, until recently bitter rivals, might work together. He finishes up by saying that some cynics will see the appointment as a way for Obama to keep control over a rival Clinton power structure, a point picked up in many papers around the world.
Jerusalem Post (Israel)
Joy in Israel: The Jerusalem Post says that leaders and people there are pretty happy with the choices Barack Obama made in constructing his national security team. For them, the men and women appointed represent more continuity rather than change as far as the Middle East is concerned. Hillary Clinton in particular gets the thumbs up, since she is seen as a friend and has shown strong support for Israel in the past.
The National (United Arab Emirates)
Hillary Clinton's appointment has made many in Israel smile; but it's bringing less joy to Palestinians, says this paper. The article quotes an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who acknowledged that at least Clinton is aware of the issues in the region. Yet, the text goes on to give a voice to other analysts, who say that while anyone would be better than Bush, it’s unlikely the new administration will change much. An overall expression of disappointment that Barack Obama's change is unlikely to come to the Middle East.
The article continues with reactions by other political analysts from Saudi Arabia to Syria. Some strike out at outgoing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. At least, they argue, Clinton, will have a relatively good knowledge of the conflict, if only thanks to her husband.
The front page headline of the French left-leaning daily reads "Sarkozy called into question." Inside, the first two pages of the papers are devoted to the so-called "Affaire Liberation": referring to the arrest of former director Vittorio de Filippis over a commentary posted on the paper's website two years ago.
The paper offers a reminder of the facts, inlcuding how de Filippis was taken in by the police and then strip-searched. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he understood the uproar sparked by the case, and pledged to look into plans to avoid a repeat of the situation. Yet, for a union of French lawyers, the affair looks like an attempt to intimidate the press.
Moscow Times (Russia)
The crisis in Thailand is not putting off Russian tourists, says this Russian daily. After the 2004 tsunami, Russian continued to sunbathe, nor was anyone put off by the bombings in Abkhazia. The Foreign Ministry in Russia has issued a warning against travelling to Thailand, but Aeroflot, the Russian airline, says very few have cancelled their trips, with many people simply finding ways around the crisis, such as changing airport.
New York Times (USA)
Some beautiful pictures of what hell looked like. The first 700 million years of Earth's 4.5-billion-year existence are known as the Hadean Period or Hell. Until now it was generally accepted that the situation on earth was unlivable, with plenty of steaming hot lava and little or no water or vegetation. This article tells us about new research by scientists in Australia who have examined crystallized rocks that show a not so nasty side to the World's beginnings. On top of the article, a painter's impression of what earth may indeed have looked like, a pretty placid place with both land and oceans.