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from Global News Journal:

Cometh the hour, cometh Van Rompuy?

van rompuy2Three months ago, Herman van Rompuy might have struggled to be recognised on the streets of his native Belgium, let alone Paris or London. The bookish former prime minister, a fan of camping holidays and Haiku poetry, was nothing if not low-key; a studious consensus builder in the world of Belgian politics.

Three months on and Van Rompuy, 62, may not outwardly have changed much, but his title and the expectations surrounding him certainly have. In November he was chosen to be the first permanent president of the European Council, the body that represents the EU's 27 leaders, and on Thursday he will host those heads of state and government at an economic summit in Brussels -- the first such gathering he has chaired.

With Greece under extreme pressure with its mounting deficit and debt problems, and Portugal, Spain and Italy threatening to go the same way, the summit comes at a critical time. It is perhaps the most serious test of Europe's monetary union since the euro single currency was introduced 11 years ago.

"Cometh the hour, cometh the man", some might say, even if one wonders whether Van Rompuy would have been the first name on most European leaders' lips at such a pressing time.  But Van Rompuy it is, and he has his work cut out if he is going to seize the moment and tackle one of the EU's biggest problems.

from Funds Hub:

A question of trust?

Signs of big-ticket investments from pension funds -- New York State Common Retirement Fund has backed emerging market debt manager Finisterre Capital with $250 mln.

RTXQPR6Despite 2008's losses, pension funds are obviously keen to invest, perhaps because equity mutual funds lost them even more money than hedge funds during the crisis.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Life in the presidential fast lane…

Blog Guy, I read that President Barack Obama is on vacation in Hawaii. But I guess if you're the President, you're still busy all the time. I mean, the pressure, the demands. What did he do yesterday, for example?

shaved ice combo 490

Let me access his schedule. Um, it looks like the big project for yesterday was "decide on shaved ice."

from Changing China:

Chinese get creative with Obama

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Hey kid, where can I get a haircut like that?

We have some photos of President Barack Obama speaking at a middle school, where a member of the audience has the word OBAMA shaved in his hair.

Presidential haircuts are a time-honored tradition in this country, and today's students don't know how lucky they are to deal with a five-letter name.

from UK News:

Is Blair the man for the EU job?

BLAIR/Once he was regarded as an obvious front-runner for the job of EU president, then it was pointed out that it was unlikely anyone would be chosen from a country that is not in the eurozone, not in the Schengen border-free area and which has an exemption to the bloc's charter of fundamental rights.

Ah, but if you don't choose someone with proven political clout to fight Europe's corner, a G2 of China and the United States will have things all their own way soon, declared Foreign Secretary David Miliband over the weekend.

from The Great Debate UK:

Is Blair the man for the EU job?

[CROSSPOST blog: 19 post: 4659]

Original Post Text:
BLAIR/Once he was regarded as an obvious front-runner for the job of EU president, then it was pointed out that it was unlikely anyone would be chosen from a country that is not in the eurozone, not in the Schengen border-free area and which has an exemption to the bloc's charter of fundamental rights.

Ah, but if you don't choose someone with proven political clout to fight Europe's corner, a G2 of China and the United States will have things all their own way soon, declared Foreign Secretary David Miliband over the weekend.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Must stay awake… Must look interested…

Oh Dear Lord, will this doofus NEVER stop talking? Blah blah Afghanistan, blah blah Afghanistan... Somebody PLEASE hit me with a ball-peen hammer!

Oooh, if I push my fist against my lower lip like this, it hurts enough to keep me awake... Good to know...

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Hey, who barfed on the president’s rug?

Blog Guy, I want some White House insider information. What do guests normally drink when they go to an Oval Office meeting?

Well, I've blown up a portion of a high-resolution photo released by the White House, and you can see a typical tray of drinks being passed around. I can try to guess what they are, unless you expect accuracy...

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Boy, we sure need one of these!

Blog Guy, as someone who is interested in government, I'm wondering if you can find me a photo of President Barack Obama and his whole cabinet together.

Heck, I can find you an OFFICIAL one! Here is an OFFICIAL photo of Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and the whole cabinet, taken just a few days ago.

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