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from Global News Journal:

Britain prepares to leave Iraq

BASRA - It may not be the end-game Britain was hoping for when it ventured into Iraq, but it's the end of the game nonetheless.

By the end of next May, almost exactly six years after 42,000 British troops joined the U.S.-led invasion and overthrew Saddam Hussein, Prime Minister Gordon Brown says Britain's remaining 4,100 troops will be out of Iraq and his country's role in the war over.

The overwhelming question, after 2,200 days of conflict and 178 soldiers killed, not to mention the thousands seriously wounded and the vast sums of money expended, is clearly: was it all worth it in the end?

Brown, who inherited the conflict from his predecessor Tony Blair and has never been entirely comfortable with taking on the mantle of 'conquering commander-in-chief', has been at pains to say it was, and spent Wednesday reiterating that point.

from Global Investing:

To spend, or not to spend?

A day after Britain unveiled a multi-billion-pound fiscal stimulus package to spend its way out of recession, market analysts have been busy figuring out what it all means, in the context of a sharply slowing economy.

Nick Parsons, head of market strategy at nabCapital, has come to this conclusion:

from Global News Journal:

Ice cream and football on the road to Damascus

    British Foreign Secretary David Miliband hopes his Middle East trip will help nudge Syria away from supporting the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, but on a visit to Damascus he let slip that other Syrian allegiances were troubling him.

    "People on the streets wanted to talk about politics but also about football," he told reporters after a tour in which he sampled ice cream from century-old shop in the heart of the ancient capital.

Are modern cancer drugs worth the money?

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herceptin.jpgWhat price a longer life?

Britain’s National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) reckons four new drugs for kidney cancer are not cost effective, even though they may extend patients’ lives by several months.

The complex calculations used by the watchdog show the drugs, which can cost over 30,000 pounds per patient a year, are just too expensive, given the limited benefits they provide.

Is Vegemite better than Marmite?

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vegemite.jpgAustralian athletes have asked the Chinese authorities to allow them permits so they can take, what some might say, is their secret weapon for success at this year’s summer Oympics – Vegemite.

With just under 100 days to go until the August games, a directive that the Australian Olympic team must source all food supplies within China has been dubbed the “vegemite ban” by local media.

Vive the entente — until July

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anglo1.jpgCommentators are revelling in President Nicolas Sarkozy’s effusive praise of Britain and drooling over the fashion sense of his wife but several see stormier waters ahead — specifically in the second half of the year from July when France takes over the presidency of the European Union.

Leader writers see problems in the two countries’ approach to Europe, particularly over France’s desire for closer European defence co-operation and a permanent EU president.

Vive la difference?

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eiffel1.jpgThe entente hasn’t been quite so cordiale for some time, judging by a ragbag of pointers in the newspapers over recent weeks.

Young French people are coming to live and work in London in record numbers, it seems, to the extent there’s now even an area named after them, in the manner of Little Italy or Kangaroo Valley. The fact that it’s rather rudely called Frog Alley should not diminish the importance of this significant milestone.

Should Britain boycott the Olympics over Tibet?

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tibet.jpgThe idea of a boycott of this Summer’s Beijing Olympics in protest at the handling of events in Tibet is not yet an official policy of any government or major human rights organization.

But actor Richard Gere, chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet, has told Reuters he believes it would be “unconscionable” to attend the Games if China fails to deal with  peacefully with the latest unrest.

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