1 Pressure on Europe to reconsider cuts (Andrew Higgins in The New York Times) Unemployment has surpassed Great Depression-era levels in Southern Europe. Recession is drifting to the once resilient economies of the north. Even some onetime hawks on government spending say they cannot cut any more. After years of insisting that the primary cure for Europe’s malaise is to slash spending, the champions of austerity, most notably Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, find themselves under intensified pressure to back off unpopular remedies and find some way to restore faltering growth to the world’s largest economic bloc.
3 Emerging India’s ugly underside (Jason Burke in The Guardian) It is a very discreet neighbourhood. Here high walls mask lawns and villas and guards stand before polished steel gates. Chauffeur-driven imported SUVs and local tradesmen in battered delivery vehicles constitute the only traffic on the leafy, palm-lined lanes.
One morning late last month, the calm of Chatarpur, on the southern fringe of the Indian capital, was broken by three gunshots at one of the largest and most secure homes – that belonging to Deepak Bhardwaj, an aspirant politician and wealthy businessman. Hours later, Neeraj Kumar, Delhi's police commissioner, told reporters how two attackers had gained entry by pretending to have come "for booking the place for a marriage".
The "farmhouses", as the far from rustic mansions in this once rural zone are known, are popular venues for society weddings. Bhardwaj's 30-acre estate, including halls and lawns, was specially constructed to cater for the trade. "They went inside and started talking to Bhardwaj before shooting him twice at point-blank range," Kumar said. As the investigation progressed, it became clear, at least according to the police, that the story of the killing of Bhardwaj had everything that fascinates – and some would say characterises – the emerging modern India: family, jealousy, power, a rags-to-riches story, a "godman" or religious leader on the make, political ambitions and guns.
According to the Indian Express newspaper, Bhardwaj was born, son of a poor carpenter, in a small village in Haryana, a state adjacent to Delhi. When a new airport was built for the capital, he made his first fortune. Judiciously reinvested, particularly in properties snared in India's labyrinthine court processes, the millions began to stack up.
Raju, 62, a knife-sharpener who makes the rounds of the farmhouses on a battered bicycle, said he remembered the area as nothing more than fields and farms when he was young. He did not regret the change though. "Yes, there was space to run around and jungle and all that but we people were very, very poor and there were no jobs, no hope, nothing," he said. "And there were lots of snakes. Life today is much better."