The US press features a lot of stories on President Barack Obama’s announcement that most American troops will withdraw from Iraq by the end of August 2010. One very interesting article appears in the New York Times: instant reaction from US soldiers on the streets of Baghdad. Although it’s clear these interviews may not be representative, some very interesting opinions come across. Apparently not many soldiers actually expected the combat mission to end as soon as 2010, and for Obama to stick to his election promise. Some soldiers don’t seem eager to come home at all – one sergeant quoted said he’d invested a lot of effort in Iraq, and so didn’t want to “cut and run”.
Until now, there’s not been very much coverage of the economic crisis in Russia. According to French newspaper Libération, that’s because, while the rest of the world’s been wallowing in doom and gloom, Russian authorities have been hushing up problems. But now Libération reports that Russia’s chief medical officer has asked people to literally tighten their belts – advising special “crisis diets.” The paper also says that the Russian pawn-shop industry is on the rise, with many exchanging their silverware and jewellery to raise a few rubles.
Quite a different version of events is portrayed, though, in the Russian English language paper The Moscow Times. Like several other publications around the world, this newspaper reports comments made by Vladimir Putin yesterday. The Russian prime minister is quoted as saying that, while the coming year is set to be difficult, there’s no economic catastrophe on the horizon.
The UK newspaper The Guardian has a story about low-cost Irish airline Ryanair. As the Guardian says, it could soon cost you a pound to go to the toilet on a Ryanair flight. The article cites one analyst as saying such a measure could actually backfire on the air firm, because passengers may be more unwilling to buy onflight drinks! The coin-slot toilet plan hasn’t yet been confirmed.
London’s daily evening newspaper, The Evening Standard, has a story about 90-year-old Stanley Murphy, who took a wrong turn on his electric mobility scooter, and instead of heading home turned onto the A27 – a major three-lane road. The Standard reports that another driver spotted Stanley and pulled him over. Police then took the pensioner home, bewildered but unhurt.