The first ever presidential election with universal suffrage is to be held on January 12-13. Among the nine candidates, the favourites to reach the second round on January 25-26 are Miloš Zeman and Jan Fischer, two former prime ministers, and also Karel Schwarzenberg, the current minister of foreign affairs, who benefitted from a surprising surge in support during the final days of his campaign.

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To whom will the Czechs entrust Prague Castle? – Mladá Fronta DNES

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond was cleared of claims he misled the public in saying he had sought legal advice over Scotland’s entry into the EU when he had not. An official investigation said he made a “muddled, incomplete and confused” statement when he said Scotland would not have to apply for EU membership if it was to split from the UK. The inquiry criticised his statement but said it had not breached the ministerial code.

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Salmond cleared in EU legal advice wrangle – The Scotsman

Prime Minister Victor Ponta has presented a budget proposal which favours social spending. His objective is to reduce the budget deficit by eliminating waste and improving the state’s revenue collection system, instead of implementing cuts. According to Ponta, Romania has a debt of 34.7 per cent of GDP, or €2,500 for every Romanian.

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Romania’s ‘new budgetary equity’ according to Ponta government – România libera

In the daily Magyar Hirlap, Zsolt Bayer, a journalist closely associated with Hungary’s ruling party, has called for "elimination of gypsy animals". Now the scandal prompted by his remarks has taken on a European dimension. Commission Vice-President and European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Viviane Reding has described Bayer’s words as "unacceptable".

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Fidesz’ Bayer even upsets Europe – Népszava

Two academics who studied the manner in which three decades of research on racism has been conducted in Denmark have concluded that researchers tend to view immigrants as victims and describe Danes’ behaviour as racist. Henning Bech and Mehmet Ümit Necef claim, for example, that preventing immigrants from entering nightclubs is not necessarily racist because statistics show that members of certain ethnic groups behave in an oppressive manner towards women and have a negative impact on nightclubs’ business.

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You are not racist after all – Berlingske Tidende

Three Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) activists, who were reportedly shot in the head, were assassinated on January 9 in Paris. The three victims were employed by the Kurdish Institute. The killings, which investigators have termed ”executions”, have come at a time when the Turkish government is involved in talks with the PKK to put an end to a conflict that has caused 45,000 deaths since 1984. Viewed as a terrorist movement by the EU, the PKK is the main Kurdish political force in Turkey.

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Execution in the heart of Paris – Milliyet

Consuming an average of 60kg of meat per year, Germans are among the world’s biggest carnivores. In the course of his or her life, each of them eats an average of 945 chickens, four cows, four sheep, 12 geese, 46 turkeys and 46 pigs. A new atlas of meat consumption published by nature conservation group Bund Naturschutz and Le Monde diplomatique warns against the consequences of fatter livestock animals.

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Every German eats 1,094 animals – Die Welt