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Editorial Roundup

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Asahi Shimbun

On the earthquake:

TOKYO — Monday's earthquake off the Sea of Japan demonstrated anew the vulnerability of nuclear power plants when nature unleashes its fury. The temblor had an intensity of upper 6 on the Japanese seismic scale of 7.

Some reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) automatically shut down.

Although TEPCO assured the nation that the radiation in the spilled water was too negligible to have any effect on the environment, it was nevertheless deeply disturbing that radiation leaked in such an unforeseen manner.

The site of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant has been the source of controversy because it may sit on a potentially dangerous active fault. Now, as matter of some urgency, this situation must be addressed. We also believe that this and other nuclear power plants again need to be checked for structural safety against temblors.

Some support nuclear power, saying that unlike thermal power generation plants that emit massive amounts of carbon dioxide, nuclear power plants, which generate clean energy, are useful in preventing the expansion of global warming. However, what occurred Monday at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa should be taken as a warning over hasty moves toward dependency on nuclear power generation.

Winnipeg Free Press

Van Doos soldiers going to war:

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Two hundred soldiers from the Royal 22nd Regiment left for Afghanistan this week. They will be deployed in Kandahar, the hot zone of that war. By summer's end there will be 2,000 Van Doos, as they are famously known, in Afghanistan, forming the bulk of the Canadian combat group there. There is nothing unusual in this. Canadian soldiers have been going to the war in Afghanistan for years, as Manitobans know. ...

That contribution continues today, as the departure of the Van Doos attests. The conflict continues, too, with protests in the streets of Quebec and public opposition to the Afghan war higher than in any other province. ...

Quebec may be ahead of the march here. As the list of casualties from Afghanistan grows, the number of Canadians uncomfortable with this country's role in the Afghan war increases. ... That Quebec would be uncomfortable with the war in Afghanistan is no surprise — it is not always at ease with Canadian wars.

That the rest of Canada is beginning to emulate Quebec is perhaps a signal of an unfortunate shift in the understanding of what this country's role in the world should be. The Van Doos, the Patricias, all the other soldiers who have bravely done their job there, know what their role is and what their country's should be. This is a time when Canadians should perhaps listen to their soldiers rather than political opportunists and pundits.

Politiken

Britain expelling diplomats:

COPENHAGEN — Russia replied yesterday in a surprisingly moderate way to Britain's expulsion of four diplomats as a reaction to Moscow's refusal to hand out Andrei Lugovoi, who is suspected in the radioactive murder of Alexander Litvinenko.

Russia will "very soon inform Britain" about the Russian countermeasures, according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry in Moscow.

The unusual moderate official tone indicates that the Kremlin needs a thinking break while media faithful to the Kremlin direct violent attacks at Britain.

... Was the expulsion of the diplomats the correct British reaction?

Yes, if we're talking about people who worked for the Russian intelligence service FSB which monitors Russian critics in Britain.

And London had to react following the arrogance that Moscow has shown in a murder case where all the leads go back to Russia.

The big problem, not only for Britain in this case but for everyone with relations to Russia, is the country's president who cannot grasp why the rest of the world is concerned about his critics being murdered.

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