Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the Front de Gauche (Left Front) candidate in the French presidential election drew a crowd of between 50,000 and 100,000 to Place de la Bastille in central Paris this Sunday. According to polls, he could win up to 10% of the vote in the first round – a cause for concern for socialist front-runner François Hollande.


Mélenchon makes a place for himself – Libération

Vladislav Kovalyov and Dmitri Konovalov were both executed with a bullet in the back of the head after being found guilty of the bomb attack that left 15 dead and 300 injured in the subway in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, in April 2011. Their confession is likely to have been obtained under torture. According to an independent survey, 43% of Belarusians consider them innocent.


Killed in the Belarusian way – Gazeta Wyborcza

A majority of those who have emigrated in the past few years say they are happier now than when they lived in Ireland, according to an Ipsos MRBI/Irish Times survey of attitudes among recent emigrants.

Quality of life better abroad than home, say most emigrants – The Irish Times

Greek Socialist party Pasok's 200,000 plus members voted overwhelmingly to appoint Minister of Finance Evangelos Venizelos as leader. The only candidate, he succeeds George Papandreou with nearly 96% of the vote. He has promised a "new beginning" for a Greek centre-left in free fall, with elections mooted for April or May.


Nevertheless, Pasok is still here! – Ta Nea

The Portuguese government wants to ban the sale of alcohol to under 18s (it is currently legal to buy alcohol as of 16). It has the support of public health experts, but the association of café owners in the northern city of Porto says that "the measure is perverse and will aggravate excessive consumption".


Alcohol. Prohibition for minors "will increase reckless consumption" – i

British Prime Minister David Cameron will clear the way for a multibillion-pound semi-privatisation of trunk roads and motorways as he announces plans to allow sovereign wealth funds from countries such as China to lease roads in England.

PM unveils plan to sell off the roads – The Guardian

Switzerland's bankers now have six months to prepare for a move to "clean money" demanded by the government – under pressure from the U.S. and EU. It will bring an end to the country's tradition of shielding clients from their governments’ tax regimes.


Bankers helpless against imminent end of banks' tax secrecy – Le Temps