- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 13, 2002

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Svenska Dagbladet

U.S. accounting scandals

STOCKHOLM Undoubtedly, the accounting firms are experiencing a crisis of confidence, but there are more explanations to the swindles. One is that the American companies' income-tax returns are not public, which of course makes it more difficult to check the bookkeeping. So therefore it is not surprising that there are voices raised in favor of making the companies' income-tax returns available for the public or at least for the New York Stock Exchange. Easily accessible information together with more competing actors are decisive for a working market.

Sueddeutsche Zeitung

The assassination of Qadir

MUNICH Politics is a murderous business in Afghanistan.

The attack to which Vice President Abdul Qadir succumbed just provides new evidence of this old state of affairs, which still holds true in the new Afghanistan.

Qadir was the third minister this year to be the target of an attack.

The fact that the two previous attacks the tourism minister was killed and the defense minister escaped failed to halt the country's new start and was, for all the concern about stability, a kind of encouraging sign.

But the killing of Qadir could destroy such confidence.

The Pashtun from Jalalabad was a key figure in the concept of President Hamid Karzai to unify the country.

In June, Karzai managed to persuade Qadir to leave his power base in the east and put himself at the service of the government in Kabul a signal to the other warlords and provincial rulers.

But the murder reverses the signal. It will reinforce local powerbrokers' desire to keep their distance from the dangerous capital.

The Times

On the African Union

LONDON African leaders yesterday formally buried the Organization of African Unity, a discredited and moribund body that has outlived its original purpose and proved ineffective in dealing with the continent's challenges today. In its place they will today unveil the African Union, an organization modeled on the European Union, which they claim will be better equipped to promote economic integration, fight corruption, improve political government and stop the wars, disputes and man-made disasters ravaging Africa.

African leaders have, at least, understood what needs to be done.

A pan-African organization that reduces political rhetoric and steps up support for informal networks, democratic self-help and social development could play a useful role. AIDS is killing Africans and Africa. Before embracing such distant goals as a single currency, the AU needs to focus on ways to make Africa safer, fairer and richer, and respond to the pandemic that is clouding its future.

The Jordan Times

Possible U.S. attack on Iraq

AMMAN, Jordan The region appears to be heading toward further conflict and instability. On the Iraqi front, talks between Baghdad and the U.N. on the return of weapons inspectors have failed.

The inability of Iraq and the United Nations to reach an agreement that would open the door for the return of inspectors will strengthen the case of American hard-liners advocating a military strike. They must have taken a deep sigh of relief that the Baghdad-U.N. conflict remained unresolved.

The problem is that these same right-wingers in the Bush administration don't seem to grasp that the bigger threat to the stability of the whole region emanated from the persistence of Israeli oppression of Palestinians and their rights.

Straits Times

China, Taiwan and the WTO

SINGAPORE Both China and Taiwan are now in the WTO. The state of play: China is patient, probing and gradually softening its hectoring tone, whereas Taiwan tries to preserve its political separateness while conceding that economic integration with the mainland cannot be slowed down.

China used to be overbearing in pursuing direct links, as it saw integration as advancing its ultimate goal of political union. But, regardless, such has been the flood of investments from Taiwan in the last decade that China feels time is on its side. Yet, it has signaled that it will not be denied indefinitely.

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