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They never learn

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the fighters France is battling in northern Mali are some of the very same ones it helped arm in Libya.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he favored the idea of arming Syrian militants.

French poverty

A plea for help by the head of a French charity, struggling to cope with an “explosion” in demand, has highlighted the increase in poverty in France.

Olivier Berthe, president of Restos du Cœur (Restaurants with Heart), which hands out food parcels and hot dinners to those most in need, reported a 12 percent rise in the number of people coming through its doors, which, according to Berthe, represents an extra 100,000 compared to this time last year.  “We know that the situation we are in is going to deteriorate and we will have to take measures to manage it. If our donors do not react then we will not be able to cope,” Berthe said.

In the winter of 2011/2012 the charity distributed 115 million meals compared to just 8.5 million in 1985,

Fact of the Day

Nearly half the French people consider themselves poor or fear they soon will be, said a survey.

Salaried employees, manual labourers and independent workers felt the most exposed to poverty, while executives and professionals felt the least exposed.

 Unemployment numbers stand 10%—the worst since 1999. Youth unemployment hit 24.9%, the highest since the data series began in 1996.

Increasing misery

Jérôme Sainte-Marie, director of the political opinion department at the market research firm CSA, which had conducted the survey, was worried that France has “entered a new era.” This was now no longer a question of “lowered status but of pauperization.” Many French people not only had the impression of being “worse off than their parents or worse off than hoped,” but they worried “that they could be thrown into misery, if they aren’t already in it.”

The property ladder

Research by the Bank of Scotland, found that young people faced a financial struggle to own property, with the average price paid by first-time buyers soaring 113% from £57,929 in 2002 to £123,213 this year. With the threshold set at £125,000, many first-time buyers paying more than the average price of £123,213 will have to find an extra 1% of their property price on stamp duty.
The average property is now out of reach of first-time buyers in 95% of places, according to the fifth annual First Time Buyer Review. Edinburgh and Helensburgh are the least affordable places for first-time buyers and properties there are 8.2 and 7.5 times the average income of a first-time buyer household. The deposit required by first-time buyers has soared 238% since 2002 and the average amount put down for a first property in Scotland is £25,951 - 95% of an average full-time worker's salary. Five years ago it was only 35% of an average worker's full-time earnings.

"It is beyond the reach of pe…