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The signing into law of the Lisbon Treaty by Czech President Vaclav Klaus and the confirmation David Cameron will not hold a referendum on the Treaty dominate the political agenda. The Times describes it as leading to a “new dawn in Europe”, paving the way for Tony Blair to become president of the new European Council, with the Guardian, Independent and Telegraph all focusing on the impossible position Mr Cameron was placed in. The Guardian says he will use a speech today to outline plans to “repatriate social and employment powers to Britain”, the Independent says the Conservative leader “will now face charges of betrayal from Eurosceptics on the party’s backbenches” and the Telegraph reports on the online outrage of the Tory grassroots, quoting a poster on ConservativeHome who wrote “DC is a Vichy Tory” and another who said “The EU is a Socialist DICTATORSHIP, anybody trying to talk up or defend a Dictatorship is a complete and utter indoctrinated moron, there are no plus points of being in a Dictatorship, there are no benefits of living in a Dictatorship. England OUT of the EU! whatever it takes!”
The Times reports on a US ultimatum to newly re-elected Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sideline his brother and take an axe to corruption or risk losing their support. “If he doesn’t meet the conditions within six months, Obama has told him America will pull out,” an official with access to Mr Karzai’s inner circle told the paper. “Obama said they don’t want their soldiers’ lives wasted for nothing. They want changes in Cabinet, and changes in his personal staff.” The Independent reports the President’s pledge “to reach out to opponents and tackle the corrosive corruption which has deeply tainted his government” while the Guardian carries an interview with former Labour minister Kim Howells in which he says it’s time “to bring home the great majority of our fighting men and women”.
The Telegraph reports Alistair Darling’s bank bail-out package, which it says will cost each family £4,350, with the Times reporting the Chancellor’s warning that RBS could still need more money – even after their £33.5 billion bailout: £25.5 billion of taxpayers’ funds injected by the Treasury into RBS to prop up the lender, and a new £8 billion pot of reserves intended for emergencies only.
Angela Merkel’s historic speech to Congress is featured in the Guardian. The German Chancellor, speaking as it was announced the climate change bill would be pushed into the new year, said: “We need the readiness of all countries to accept internationally binding obligations … there is no doubt about it. In December, the world will look to us: the Europeans and the Americans. I am convinced once we … show ourselves ready to adopt binding agreements we will also be able to persuade China and India.” The delay means there will be no deal before the Copenhagen summit. “Of course we are not going to have a full-fledged binding treaty, Kyoto-type, by Copenhagen,” European Commission president José Manuel Barroso told the paper. “There is no time for that.”
Staying in the States, and on the anniversary of his triumph, the Times explores the achievements of Barack Obama in his first year in office and looks ahead to the challenges he faces in the next 12 months. “No new President has been the subject of such extragavant expectations, and none has tantalised his admirers with more promises that have yet to be fulfilled,” writes Giles Whittell, concluding that “his ambition has outstripped his record of accomplishment but nothing he has done in the past year rules out redressing that balance in the next three.”
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