INTERNATIONAL PAPERS, Monday, 20th December 2010: papers are covering Europe’s snow chaos. Some angles are upbeat: Brits can bet on a White Christmas, Germans will have great snow on the slopes. That, and a biopic to look forward to on the life of Burma’s pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.
Parts of Europe are snow bound and that is getting a lot of coverage in the press, especially in the UK. The Scotsman says Brits are having their severest winter for a century. It headlines: “Snow to wreck Christmas travel for thousands”. The paper quotes a Glaswegian - Scott Allison - in Amsterdam saying: “I’m stranded. When will I get home?” The stress is all the greater because Christmas is just days away, of course. On an upbeat note, the paper says one bookmaker is offering bets of 11 to 10 snow will fall in Edinburgh and Glasgow on Christmas Day. So a White Christmas will be a safe bet.
Still with the UK, The Independent screams: “Grounded”. It says the cost of the gridlock in Britain is one billion pounds a day and the “government is under pressure for lack of preparation”.
Moving over to Germany, the headline in Die Welt is: “Winter travel in Europe is a horror trip”. Despite the chaos, it has an upbeat angle saying this is great for skiing. It quotes one hotel owner at a ski resort saying they are delighted they don’t have to use snow guns to manufacture snow this year.
And Europe’s snow is also making headlines in Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald leads: “Wild Weather - Australian passengers stranded”. It says 1,400 Aussies are stuck at Heathrow in London and the backlog has stranded hundreds more in Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong.
A piece in the International Herald Tribune looks at the winter solstice on Tuesday. It is the shortest day of the year. A report headlined - “There goes the sun” - says virtually all cultures have their way of acknowledging the 21st of December. In parts of Scandinavia, people will smear their front doors with butter for the sun goddess of fertility. And in northern Pakistan, men have cold water and goats blood sprinkled on their heads in purification.
To technology, it’s likely electronic gadgets will be in Santa’s stocking this Xmas for lots of people. The Wall Street Journal Europe has a warning: “Your apps are watching you and sharing the personal data”. It says its investigations show that iPhone and Android applications are breaching the privacy of smartphone users. The paper looked at 101 smartphones “apps” and more than half transmitted the phone’s unique device ID to other companies without the user knowing about it.
And a look at a biopic heading our way. The UK paper The Guardian leads: “Auung San Suu Kyi’s tragic love and incredible life come to the big screen”. The film is called “The Lady”. It profiles Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi. The pro-democracy icon was released in November from house arrest. Prior to that, she had been held in detention by Burma’s military dictatorship for 15 of the last 21 years. The build up in the film is on her choice between country and family when her husband is diagnosed as terminally ill with cancer. Michelle Yeoh stars and France’s Luc Besson directs. Besson says that Auung San Suu Kyi is “more of a heroine than Joan of Arc”. The Guardian says the film will be out in the autumn.
Correction: please note that WSJ Europe tested 101 smartphone "apps" rather than 101 smartphones, as I say in my commentary.