- The Washington Times - Friday, May 25, 2007

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Independent

The Litvinenko murder

LONDON — A frost is about to descend upon relations between Russia and the UK. And quite right too. The decision by the director of public prosecutions that there is sufficient evidence to charge a Russian former KGB officer, Andrei Lugovoi, with the murder of Alexander Litvinenko is bound to send an icy wind blowing from London to Moscow.

Britain has begun extradition proceedings, even though the Kremlin has already announced that Russia’s constitution does not allow its nationals to be extradited.

… Some things are not negotiable. To enter the territory of another sovereign state and commit a murder is not acceptable. It opens you to prosecution under the law of the land where the crime was committed. All the more so when the weapon used to poison Mr. Litvinenko was a radioactive isotope which threatened the lives of a large number of innocent bystanders.

Asahi Shimbun

On hedge funds

TOKYO — The stock markets in New York and Shanghai are flying at dizzying heights and the repercussions from a possible crash in either market are vast — even though the damage would be limited if all investors were able to cover the risks out of their own pockets.

In fact, the global financial system could be plunged into crisis if a hedge fund that uses vast sums collected from investors to make highly speculative and heavily leveraged market bets were to collapse.

Hedge funds perform important functions for markets, by spreading risks and ensuring smooth transactions. Keeping a tight leash on hedge funds because of the speculative nature of their investments would hinder the efficient development of financial markets.

Leaving them unregulated, however, is even more dangerous because a hands-off approach makes it impossible to assess the risks posed to markets by the positions taken by hedge funds.

Daily Star

Violence in Lebanon

BEIRUT — The violence in Lebanon … including the clashes in the North and the bombing near a shopping mall in Beirut, ought to serve as a wakeup call to any Lebanese leader who harbors illusions about the state of affairs in this country. Any honest assessment would conclude that the domestic political context and the security situation have progressed well beyond what could appropriately be termed “difficult.” …

Lebanese leaders simply can no longer afford the luxury of doing nothing to resolve the country’s six-month-old political crisis. The events in Tripoli and Beirut over the past two days have had repercussions on every aspect of the political sphere and will impact matters ranging from relations with Syria and the Palestinians to the regulation of weapons inside the country and the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701.

Hindustan Times

On Islamic clerics

NEW DELHI — When is a hug not a hug but a great sin, an obscene and un-Islamic act? When hard-line clerics from Islamabad’s Red Mosque decree it so. Pakistan’s Tourism Minister Nilofar Bakhtiar appears to be paying the price for not keeping people at arm’s length. Miss Bakhtiar has had to resign because a fatwa was issued against her for getting up close and personal with her French paratrooper trainer after she successfully completed a course in parachute jumping. No sooner were the photographs published of the so-called embrace, than clerics jumped into the fray to “defend” the honor of Pakistani women.

Never mind the fact that the 71-year-old instructor did nothing which could be remotely construed as obscene. The event was organized last month to raise money for victims of the October 2005 earthquake. But then charity does not always begin at home if the clerics have their way.

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