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Europe is changing. Here's how. A reported blog.

In a world going through an epochal transition to something no-one can foresee, the news is frequently grim and it is easy for a foreign correspondent to become permanently cynical writing about all that is going wrong. 

Susan Boyle, doesn't appear in the bio-musical of her life, but she does sing the encore. (Bethany Clarke/AFP/Getty Images)

Susan Boyle, the Simon Cowell discovery with the big voice and compelling back story, is now the subject of a bio-musical.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for many in Greece nothing she says or does will ever be right. (JOHN MACDOUGALL/Getty Images)

Nothing German Chancellor Angela Merkel says or does will ever satisfy some Greek politicians and their constituents. In a BBC interview today Merkel says, "We have taken the decision to be in a currency union. This is not only a monetary decision, it is a political one. It would be catastrophic if we were to say to one of those who have decided to be with us: 'We no longer want you'."


The Guardian's Larry Elliott is as sharp a newspaper economic commentator as there is who hasn't won the Nobel Prize.

This thought provoking essay is in today's paper. Elliott notes that people are too focused on when to raise interest rates as the U.S. economy staggers back to its feet and slogs forward in the Great Stagnation.

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British Prime Minister David Cameron was on a charity run yesterday when word of a serious Tory party fundraising cash for access scandal erupted around him. (LEFTERIS PITARAKIS/AFP/Getty Images)

UPDATE: Bowing to pressure, David Cameron has published a list of Conservative party donors who have had dinner with him privately.  Details here.

Just two weeks ago British Prime Minister David Cameron was riding high. He had learned everything there was to know about basketball at President Obama's side during a highly photogenic and successful trip to Washington.

Despite continued tough economic news his Conservative party's poll ratings were up.

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There's plenty of ambulances out most nights in British towns as the heavy-drinking culture in this country leads to health emergencies and violence. (Matt Cardy/AFP/Getty Images)

British Conservative politicians rail about the "nanny state" all the time but that has never stopped them acting like nannies when they are in government.

Today the Conservative-led coalition government announced it would introduce minimum price rules on alcoholic beverages. The reason for the move is Britain's undoubted alcohol problem. Deaths from liver disease are up 25 percent in less than a decade.

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A hard drinking, hard smoking people, with a shockingly low life expectancy: that's the medical view of the Scots. Now Scotland will be the site of a major trial of a new early cancer detection test. (Jeff J Mitchell/AFP/Getty Images)

The bad health habits of the Scots has provided fodder for articles for decades. They are portrayed as a nation that drinks too much, eats too much fried food and collectively smoke like chimneys.

It is, of course, not true. But those who grow up in deprived areas of Scotland do fit the stereotype. Their life expectancy is shockingly low for a western country: 57.5 years for men and 61.9 years for women.

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A rehearsal at the Royal Ballet in Covent Garden (Peter Macdiarmid/AFP/Getty Images)

Culture vulture alert:

Starting tomorrow morning (March 23) the Royal Ballet is live streaming its work day on youtube. The whole day. Cameras will be showing rehearsals and backstage preparations for the evening's performances. (I don't know whether they will show diva behavior and minor hissy fits.)

In any case, if you love ballet or are fascinated by the reality behind the make-believe, it might be worth a few minutes of your on-line day.

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Demonstrations against neo-Nazis in Germany are important but quantifying the problem of extremism - in all its manifestations - is even more important. (ROBERT MICHAEL/AFP/Getty Images)

Mohammed Merah is dead. In France, in the press and in private, there will be much discussion about how many French Muslims share his extremist world view.

But think back to Monday, when the police said they were investigating the Toulouse murders on a twin track, looking for either a neo-Nazi or jihadi. Suppose the murderer had been inspired by Anders Breivik, the same question would be asked: how many Frenchmen share this extremist world view.


The 30th anniversary of the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina continues to cause rumbles. As I've mentioned here before, Sean Penn has weighed in and Prince William has recently been deployed there with the RAF causing Argentine hackles to be raised.