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Dear Sir

This conversation was heard at Palma Airport.

"It has been a nightmare holiday break! There were no taxis, coaches or buses. The hotel could not collect us either. After several hours delayed, we arrived at our hotel. It was our first visit to Majorca. The accommodation was satisfactory--just!. It was a Four Star rating ( Majorca Rating). I felt it should be two star. In fact there should be an international controlling body that rates hotels.

The food was poor, it was international cuisine, because of the numerous international guests. The drink was poor, and only available at certain times. As were the three all- inclusive meals. My family became ‘Prisoners’ of this Hotel. If we wanted to go out and explore the Island, we would miss the food and drink, we had previously paid for!.. Friends said don’t have the sandwich packed lunch, if you go on an expensive day out on a coach.

We, rather foolishly did not have much spending money. Because we had paid for all- inclusive. Friends at the hotel had come with the same erroneous mistake. They had an accident, could not pay for the private ambulance, and had major problems affecting their travel insurance (Contacting UK -etc.).

We did not go anywhere, and did no shopping, or trying out the local food, bars and restaurants. Another big mistake. The weather was fairly good, but you can not guarantee the sun etc. So - what did you see of Majorca? The Airport --for along time ! The roads to our hotel. The roads back to the airport. The airport again. Our flight was delayed outbound, and we have just been informed it is delayed for our inbound travel. Oh-yes, the wait for our luggage on arrival was over an hour. I do hope we get it back --when we eventually return to UK!"

"So--will you visit Majorca again?" "I doubt it. It is an expensive place. The euro rate in the resort and at the hotel was very poor. The hotel was poor etc. The staff were surly and dis-interested both at the airport and in the hotel. So I do not expect to return to Majorca again !"

Yours faithfully

Mr. F.S.Jessop

Grantham

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Dear Sir

Hugh Ash’s Sunday comment "Paranoid Putin wants a Ukraine Poodle" gives a realistic summary of the Crimea/Ukraine crises. The Economist had earlier this year a cover story on Putin "The triumph of Vladimir Putin" with Vladimir dressed up as an Olympic Figure Skater doing a skating pirouette reaching for the sky and clearly revealing his proud satisfaction with the success of his "Russian Winter Olympics", proudly proclaiming that "at last Russia has returned to the world arena as a strong state – a country that others heed and that can stand up for itself".

But there is more to the figure of Putin on the cover of Economist as it also conveys vulnerability.

He is of short stature about a head shorter than most of his international adversaries and the pose and orientation has a subtle lack of the macho image he likes to portray of himself, - that of the strong virile man, - riding bareback and shirtless on a white horse, or dressed up as a professional hockey player, or in a full scuba diver outfit with bottles and all etc. This revealing portrait of the President should worry Europe as it helps to explain his erratic and unpredictable behaviour in his handling of the Crimea/Ukraine crisis. The crisis is still being played out but its conclusion will most likely be that Russia maintains the occupation of Crimea, but it "loses" Ukraine to the West.

This outcome may force Putin into early retirement, (remember General Secretary Nikita Krushchev ?)

So Putin trying to save his own skin urgently needs the help of the Chinese President Xi Jimping and in panic fly out to Shanghai and within hours sign a "historic" agreement to supply China gas at a secret price (?) for 30 years starting 2018.

President V. Putin should have realized that his trump card from previous Ukraine crisis – European Dependence on Russian Gas – today scares nobody!

Fredrik J.Munch

Oslo