Cartoons cast an ironic but also grim look at the impact of the rollercoaster ride in global markets. The turmoil has made Italy's domestic politics even tenser than usual. And a London mum turns in her "Olympics girl" daughter after seeing TV footage of her taking part in the riots. That's the focus in the international press review for Friday, 12th August 2011.
Global markets have been fluctuating wildly over the last few days and most of us have little choice but to look on and wonder when the yo-yoing will calm down. The USA Today International Edition has a cartoon of a couple doing just that. The father looks at his daughter popping a penny into a piggy bank and says: “she is doing better than my 401(K)”, which is his retirement savings account. More grimly, another cartoon in the pan-Arab daily Dar Al Hayat shows a famine victim eating the ink of a graph of plunging indices.
The main editorial in the International Herald Tribune (aka the global edition of the New York Times) is headlined: "Summoning the Will for Economic Growth". The paper believes the focus in the US and EU on cutting budgets is “misguided” and could lead to another recession. It points out developing countries are forecast to grow by over 6%, but that in the current climate they are also vulnerable to financial turbulence. That means, it says, that the US and EU must carry the burden of spurring growth.
Italian politics, meanwhile, is in uproar as a result of market pressures and European Central Bank intervention. The Corriere della Sera reports that Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition partner, Umberto Bossi of the Northern League, wants to see a letter from the ECB making further austerity a condition of propping up the Italian economy. The paper says Bossi has raised the possibility that it was written not at ECB headquarters in Frankfurt, but in Rome by Mario Draghi: “forse e stata scritta a Roma”. Draghi has been selected to replace Jean-Claude Trichet at the head of the ECB.
The Guardian is covering that story too, in its headline: “ECB accused of trying to throw out government”. The paper reports Bossi’s comments and explains that Mario Draghi is touted as a possible leader of a non-party or cross-party grouping to stand into the fray if the Berlusconi government falls.
Riot coverage dominates in the UK. There is page after page of it, so much so that a photo in The Independent stood out for me. It shows a row of paparazzi trying to get shots of rioters in a prison van outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court. The Sun, and several other UK papers, are leading on one person appearing there, Chelsea Ives. Its headline: “Olympics Girl is London riot yob”. The 18-year old athlete is involved with promoting sport in the run-up to the Olympics. Her mum saw footage on TV of her throwing bricks at a police car and called police. It’s pretty unbelievable a mother would turn in her own daughter. Mum Adrienne, 43, says: "I love her. But look at what she's done. These riots have cost people their jobs and even lives.”