The world at a glance . . . Europe
ParisSarkozy son in nepotism flap: France is in an uproar over the appointment of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 23-year-old son to head the country’s largest business district. Jean Sarkozy is only in his second year of university, though he is already a local legislator. Last week, he revealed that he had been asked to take over as head of EPAD, an agency that manages development in La Défense, the Paris district where hundreds of companies are headquartered. In response, the opposition Socialist Party urged President Sarkozy “to abandon this disastrous project that has already made France a laughingstock.” Thousands of people signed an online petition asking “Prince Jean” to “finish your studies and get some work experience.” The EPAD board, packed with Sarkozy cronies, is expected to appoint Jean in December.
LondonBrown must pony up: Getting zapped by his own reforms, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown must pay back nearly $20,000 in personal gardening and cleaning costs that he claimed on his parliamentary expense account. The claims were allowed when he filed them, but this summer, after a Daily Telegraph exposé revealed that lawmakers were exploiting loopholes to get reimbursed for redecorating their country homes, Brown appointed an auditor to review all claims. The auditor retroactively imposed new limits on the amounts that could be claimed for cleaning, painting, and other home improvements, and this week he sent lawmakers letters telling them how much they owed. Brown said officials in his Labor Party who refused to pay could be kicked out.
Zurich, SwitzerlandTurkey and Armenia make peace: After last-minute mediation by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, longtime antagonists Turkey and Armenia have signed a landmark agreement to establish diplomatic relations. Swiss negotiators spent years brokering the deal, which was due to be signed in Zurich last weekend when the Armenians suddenly balked. Huddled in her car outside a Zurich hotel, Clinton reportedly spent an hour speaking on two phones simultaneously—one call to the Armenian foreign minister and one to the Turkish foreign minister. “I said to all of the parties involved: ‘This is too important. This has to be seen through,’” Clinton recounted. The two neighbors have been hostile since World War I, when Ottoman Turks killed hundreds of thousands of Armenians. Turkey still refuses to label the massacre a genocide.