- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 8, 2003

Excerpts of editorials in newspapers around the world:
Asahi Shimbun
The breakup of Columbia
TOKYO The midair breakup of the space shuttle Columbia Saturday consumed the United States in frustration and grief. … Seventeen years earlier, the space shuttle Challenger exploded just after blastoff, killing its crew of seven. The shock of this second tragic accident is even greater.
Attention will turn to investigating the cause of the accident. The United States has a body of experience to draw upon. In the Challenger probe, Richard Feynman, the physicist, and not a rocket expert, had a central role. His team determined that faulty rubber O-rings in seals of the craft's solid-fuel rocket were at fault.
Technicians knew the potential risk for more than three years and had said so. But NASA at the time tended to put more emphasis on keeping its overstuffed organization going, and because of that, negative information never got to the management.
Investigators who pursued the Challenger investigation and reported their findings emphasized the biggest failing was in structural fatigue of NASA itself, and in the minds of people. The report became a text for streamlining organizational management and establishing reliability critical for big, complex systems.
Now for Columbia, such a diverse and thorough investigation will be needed again.

La Repubblica
NASA's credibility is dead, too
ROME The Columbia crew members did not die on the first of February. They died 16 days earlier, 30 seconds after the launch, when a piece of thermal insulation tore a fatal gash in the left wing, marking the fate of the Columbia mission. The sixteen days in orbit served only as a final pilgrimage of seven people unaware they had been condemned to death. With them, however, dies the credibility of a space agency, which, over 42 years, managed to obtain our unconditional trust, our admiration, and our gratitude.
It is our duty to ask NASA, and above all the American government which has slowly strangled it, about a space program where the safety margins have been reduced, while safety risks have multiplied exponentially. The aging of the fleet, government stinginess and "Pentagon wolfs" who want to militarize NASA have pushed the agency to take greater risks, hazarding a game in which the human beings on board have no chance of survival if something goes wrong.

Dagens Nyheter
The United Nations and Iraq
STOCKHOLM The U.N. option to use military force is one of the linchpins in the international system. He who claims otherwise has probably never even looked at the U.N. charter.
"Just as U.N.'s authority is undermined if people act on their own accord, the Security Council's authority will be undermined if we exclude the possibility for the United Nations to use military means," [Swedish] Foreign Minister Anna Lindh has said …
And this is what it is about. Now the train has started to roll.
Today [U.S. Secretary of State Colin L.] Powell will address the Security Council. Next week, chief weapons inspector Hans Blix will submit his second report to the council.
If they speak the same language, the next chance Saddam Hussein evidently will get from the Security Council should also be the last.

Straits Times
On combating terrorism
SINGAPORE … The Indonesian security authorities are to be commended for their dispatch in arresting a terrorist suspect, the wanted Singaporean Jemaah Islamiyah leader Mas Selamat Kastari. They acted on information given by the Singapore police.
The various operational and intelligence branches of the Indonesian military and police had, in common with some senior political figures such as Vice President Hamzah Haz, been under fire before for not taking seriously the terrorism danger confronting the country …
It was regrettable that Indonesia had to endure its own September 11, in Bali on Oct. 12 last year, before the threat was acknowledged.
… The thoroughness of the Bali investigation, and a number of key arrests resulting, show Indonesia is intent on making up ground in going after known cell leaders so as to disrupt regional links in terror networks. … Quick action in detaining Mas Selamat at the request of the Singapore security services is fresh proof.

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