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In the press

'Centenarians divorce' in love twist

The violence in Syria during a visit by an Arab League mission dominates. Comment writers also look more broadly at the Arab Spring as we head in to the New Year. There's a preview of the Iowa Republican caucus on Tuesday, and two Italian "centenarians" head to the divorce court after 77 years as Mr and Mrs. That's the focus for Friday, 30th December 2011.

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Britain’s Daily Telegraph headlines: “Anyone moves, they shoot at them”. Those words are by a Syrian rights activist in Damascus who tells the paper troops opened fire on a crowd of more than 20,000 people awaiting Arab League monitors.

Amid concerns about the credibility of the Arab League mission, France’s Le Figaro asks just how could the Arab League have appointed Sudanese general Mohammed al-Dabi as mission chief?

Al-Quds Al-Arabi, the London-based pan-Arab paper, has a piece by analyst Subhi Hadidi, who condemns the “paternalist” attitude of the West as it follows events in the Arab World.

Raghida Dergham, a columnist for London-based pan-Arab paper Al Hayat, writing in the UK’s The Independent, urges Arab women to “Rise Up and Be Heard”.

Meanwhile, in the US, the Iowa caucus approaches. It’s normally seen as the first real insight as to who’s in and who’s out among Republican candidates. Columnist Gail Collins in The International Herald Tribune disagrees though: “Feel free to Ignore Iowa”.

The cartoon in USA Today’s international edition shows an Iowa farmer petting reassuring his pigs saying: “Now, now … it will be over soon” as the candidates vie for attention.

Finally, the Italian paper Corriere del Mezzogiorno reports on a couple in Naples - Antonio and Rosa - who are definitely not Romeo and Juliet. They are splitting up after 77 years of marriage. He is 99 and she is 96. The headline there: 'Centenarians divorce'.

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