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from Davos Notebook:

London — warmer and cheaper

London is cheaper and warmer, at least compared with Davos, says London Mayor Boris Johnson.

"The fall in the pound is of huge value to London's exports and all sterling-denominated assets. We're seeing a very impressive effect here. We take advantage of the upside and the upside is that the pound is competitive," Johnson told Reuters.

"And everybody in Davos, once they finish this massive negotiation of egos, this complete vanity, should come to London. It's considerably cheaper and considerably warmer."

Vlog: Londoners react to Barack Obama’s election win


I went out today to ask people in the area around my office in central London what they thought about Obama’s win. Despite my best efforts to find some who were not happy about the change of leadership in the United States, I didn’t manage…even the cab driver was enthusiastic. So, this is not meeting the Reuters rules of providing a balanced picture …but it’s a snapshot of what some people in London had to say on this historic day.

If you have problems watching the video on this post, go here.

How safe is your street?


crime-map.JPGEver wanted to know how many crimes were committed in your local area?

Well, by the end of the year you’ll be able to get some idea with every police force required to produce online interactive “crime maps”.

West Midlands and West Yorkshire are two of the forces who have put information about the number of offences in different neighbourhoods on their Web sites and on Wednesday the country’s biggest force, London’s Metropolitan Police, activated its crime mapping site.

There is no substitute for me, says Boris


boris.jpgThe resignation of another key aide to Mayor Boris Johnson has sparked renewed questions over the Mayor of London’s leadership, with opposition leaders at City Hall charging that the “wheels are coming off” his new administration.

Tim Parker , the First Deputy Mayor and Chairman of Transport for London (TfL), has stepped down from both jobs, saying it was inappropriate for him to hold them as an unelected official. His resignation is the third of a key aide in the four months of Johnson’s mayorship.

Paddick promises personality surprise


Brian PaddickLiberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick admits he lacks the name-recognition status enjoyed by Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson in what many regard as a personality contest to be elected Mayor of London.

But the man once styled “the UK’s most senior openly gay police officer” told me at a Reuters Newsmaker event that he plans to boost his personal image in the countdown to the May 1 vote.

Heat is on at Reuters Newsmaker with London mayor candidates


** For full coverage of the mayoral election go to our special report **

Safer streets, better housing, more reliable transport….that’s what Ken Livingstone, Boris Johnson and Brian Paddick all want for London and it’s probably what most Londoners want for their city. But what’s the big difference then between “Red Ken”, “Crazy Boris” and …”Policeman turned Politician” Brian Paddick?

That’s still hard to fathom two weeks ahead of the May 1 London mayor election. But there was an air of tetchiness and getting personal during a Reuters Newsmaker debate at Reuters headquarters in London in front of an invited audience of around 250 people.

Ken narrows the gap


kenlivingstone.jpgLast week in an interview with Reuters Ken Livingstone dismissed his rival Boris Johnson’s 12 point lead in the race for London Mayor in a YouGov poll as a quirk, resulting from its method of surveying voters over the internet.

He said a Guardian ICM poll using more traditional methods — telephoning a sample of voters — would show him in a much better position.

The Ken and Boris show


boris.jpgSitting at the Evening Standard’s London Mayor debate last night, it occurred to me how cosy this election is. Whoever wins the contest on May 1 will lead one of the world’s most high-profile cities with an 11.3 billion pound budget to run public transport, police and fire services and promote the economy of this global financial centre. Yet at times the candidates seem to think they are engaging in some kind of school debating contest.

First there was breathless Boris, who bounded up to the podium like a precocious teenager and raced through his speech to cram in as much as possible during his allotted eight minutes. Then a more nervous, and far less exuberant delivery from the class swot — Brian Paddick — the former policeman turned Lib Dem mayoral candidate, who delivered a serious and earnest “Why I should be head boy” speech.

Ken dismisses negative poll


livingstone.jpgKen Livingstone talks to Tim Castle about standing for a third term as Mayor of London.

He dismisses a recent YouGov poll that shows him trailing Conservative rival Boris Johnson and says his rival candidates are all “Ken Lites” who have moved their policies closer to his.

Paddick: “Not being a politician is an advantage”

Brian PaddickBrian Paddick talks to Tim Castle about his autobiography and his candidacy for the mayoral election in London.

He says not being a politician is a “distinct advantage” when running against Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson.