- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 20, 2002

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

The Sowetan
Muzzling Zimbabwe's press
JOHANNESBURG On Monday, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe told reporters in Cuba the fate of Mr. Andrew Meldrum, an American journalist with the U.K.'s Guardian, would depend on the courts. Meldrum, who was acquitted this week, was tried for violating one of the new repressive press laws passed by Mr. Mugabe's government.
Normally, this would be a reassuring remark. After all, in a constitutional democracy, court rulings are respected. But not in Mr. Mugabe's Zimbabwe, where they have, like other democracy-supporting institutions, been cowed into submission.
In spite of his acquittal, Meldrum is now being hounded out of the country as part of a campaign to muzzle the media. As his paper said, even if it were possible for him to stay, it would not be safe.

Corriere della Sera
The strengthening euro
MILAN, Italy Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan is not as worried about the strength of the euro against the dollar as he is about how he described as an "irrational exuberance" the Wall Street boom at the end of the 1990s. That's because he now has to suggest that it is irrational to be pessimistic about the current slump.
While Greenspan declares that the U.S. stock market will grow, Wall Street's agony seems to contradict him. Few people still believe in the financial reports compiled by Wall Street listed companies. While Greenspan and President Bush risk looking like a couple of comedians with their positive declarations, the stock market keeps dropping.
Europe's situation, however, is no less delicate. European Commission President Romano Prodi expresses delight with the euro's surging value, but the stock markets are still not showing any benefit and 2003 forecasts for European stock markets are negative.
Europe, in the wake of the strong euro, now has to prove that its exuberance is rational. Perhaps by showing that public investment counts more than foreign and that income redistribution counts more than high profits. That's because the world of frenzied enrichment on the other side of the Atlantic doesn't seem to work.

S. China Morning Post
Death sentence in Pearl case
HONG KONG The most chilling parts of the court proceedings [Monday] were the comments by Ahmed Omar Saeed, the 28-year-old British Asian with a history of involvement in radical Islamic movements.
There was not a trace of repentance for the wanton killing of another human being. Instead, we heard only the expression of a violent, intolerant fanaticism that is completely at odds with the modern world. It is ironic that the man who uttered these chilling threats was not born and raised in an intolerant theocratic state but in modern Britain, one of the world's most open, tolerant and pluralistic societies.
So what sparked this anger against all that is not Islamic in an intelligent, well-educated person? For the flames of religious fanaticism to be doused, it is important to try and understand the underlying causes that fuel this hatred.

Jordan Times
The "Quartet" meetings
AMMAN, Jordan [Jordanian] Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher and his Saudi and Egyptian counterparts are right to stick to the Arab peace initiative as the term of reference in their talks with the Quartet and President Bush. The initiative is relevant, comprehensive and offers a certain path to Middle East peace.
By attempting to center their critical discussions with U.S., European, Russian and U.N. officials on the initiative, the Arab ministers will be bringing Middle East efforts back into focus.
Since President Bush spelled out his peace blueprint late last month, such efforts have been diluted by Israel into a propaganda exercise aimed at discrediting the Palestinian leadership.
The Israeli government will once again try to ensure the failure of the talks. The last thing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wants [is] serious negotiations that will address real obstacles to progress.
The United States doesn't have to follow the lead of the Israeli government whose policies are damaging to peace and harmful to Israelis, too. Israel shouldn't succeed in reducing Bush's initiative to a plan to topple the Palestinian leader. It is an initiative of peace. It must remain so and be dealt with as such.

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