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Latest update : 2011-12-23

'No gifts, no turkey, no tree, no kidding'

Republican House Speaker John Boehner gets a needling after caving in on the payroll tax. Plus, Europe's debt crisis could be heading Washington's way. And, miserabilitis gone mental - economic woes mean some people are scrapping Christmas altogether in a bid to tighten the belt. Bah, humbug. That's the focus for this Friday, 23rd December 2011.

A tax deal in Washington has handed President Barack Obama a rare win against the Republicans. That earns Republican House Speaker John Boehner a front page on Newsweek's The Daily Beast. The paper says the Republicans have handled the payroll tax debate badly and “caved in to pressure” to extend it by two months. Daily Beast contributor Michael Tomasky argues this is "a Christmas" gift for the US President. Obama has had “an awful year,” he says, “but thanks to the politically asinine miscalculations of the House Republicans he is ending it with a bang”. The story here is yet another stand-off on the Hill similar to the debt-ceiling cliffhanger earlier in the year.

In tweets online “pourmecoffee” has Boehner saying: "Go away! I'm listening to Adele and I'm not coming out!" Another tweet by French Ketchup, meanwhile, argues that the Republican House Speaker is more unpopular than ever.

Here in Europe, the debt crisis is on many people’s minds as the holiday season kicks in. Many are hoping the European Central Bank’s move on Wednesday to provide almost 500 billion euros in cheap loans to eurozone banks will help. The Wall Street Journal Europe editorial doesn’t believe it will. It says: "the mammoth lending spree won’t fix what ails the eurozone”. The paper says the move sends “a false signal that Europe’s crisis is over,” adding that this is all about creating time for politicians. The China Daily Europe, meanwhile, has a cartoon with a Beijing perspective. It shows a tidal wave of debt heading America’s way. It’s asking: “Is a Western crisis a new normal?” And  points out that US debt is projected to rise to 88 per cent of GDP in 2016. That's more than France's debt burden which, the paper says, stands at 81 per cent this year. 

And the USA Today International edition focuses on economic woes in its coverage for the upcoming festive season. Its cover story is entitled: “Just Say No to Christmas?”. The paper reports that one divorced mother of three - 41 year-old Susan Lee in New York - is packing her children off to her ex’s. The quote there: “No gifts, no turkey, no tree, no kidding”. The Sun in the UK has a headline: “Santa Car Stolen as he hands out gifts”. It says Santa - in this case a former ambulance man John Stubbs in Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire - was handing presents out to toddlers as his car was being stolen. Sergeant Jo Hodson, investigating the theft, told the paper: “It’s hard to think of a more despicable crime at this time of year”.

By Nicholas RUSHWORTH

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