- The Washington Times - Friday, October 17, 2003

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Asahi Shimbun

On the Mideast

TOKYO — The world is being rocked by two deepening crises in the Middle East. In Iraq, there is no end seen to the occupation by U.S. and British forces in nearly a half-year since the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime. The bloody Palestinian conflict is actually worsening, as demonstrated by Israel’s recent attacks on enemy facilities within Syria. But the reaction to these deepening crises among neighboring Arab nations has been surprisingly muted so far.

The United Arab Emirates has notably urged other countries in the region to commit to support of Iraq’s reconstruction. UAE points out that the support of Arab neighbors is essential to bring about early establishment of a new government for Iraq and the withdrawal of U.S. and British military forces. …

Only by demonstrating such willingness to be actively involved in the effort to resolve regional issues, can the Arab nations possibly find effective alternatives to the Bush administration’s effort for “democratization of Arab countries,” that was put forth in support of the war in Iraq.

Le Figaro

On China and space

PARIS — But what exactly are the Chinese going to do in space? Last night, while we were sleeping, one of their compatriots left the Gobi Desert and flew over our heads hundreds of kilometers above. Exactly like Yuri Gagarin 42 years ago: one trip around the Earth completed in 90 minutes.

But what was revolutionary last century, in both the real and figurative sense, is no longer so today. And why do it all again, especially when the country concerned is a nation where 200 million of its inhabitants aren’t able to feed themselves sufficiently, and is barely capable in dealing with the sick following a medical epidemic? …

The mission given to its taikonaut was primarily to bring back information for military use. The badly named “Divine Vessel” was not launched to help the progress of humanity. No giant leap for mankind. The millions of Chinese that live in oppression and poverty are not quite ready to jump over the moon.

Helsingin Sanomat

On the Vatican and AIDS

HELSINKI — The extremely reactionary attitude of the modern Roman Catholic Church has reached even higher realms of incredulity with its claims about condoms in the fight against AIDS. The Vatican strictly opposes birth control and hence also the use of condoms, and the stance has merely hardened during the tenure of Pope John Paul II.

Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, who heads the Pontifical Council for the Family, told the British Broadcasting Corp. that the HIV virus is able to pass through “the net” formed by a condom.

In developing countries, people listen to the teachings of the Vatican in a totally different way than in developed Catholic countries, and the irresponsible comments by church leaders simply strengthens other similarly superstitious beliefs about this plague of our time.

Dagens Nyheter

On Cuba

STOCKHOLM — About 3,000 people born in Cuba live in Sweden, but despite its name, the Swedish-Cuban Association is an association without Cubans.

The association has, however, close contacts with and receives economic support from the Cuban Embassy in Stockholm. This is not illegal in our country, but had Sweden functioned like Cuba, the members of the Swedish-Cuban Association would have run the risk of more than 20 years in prison.

In Eastern Europe, this social system was called “a people’s democracy.” The Swedish-Cuban Association calls Cuba a “democracy based on personality votes.”

That’s an ill-termed definition. Cuba is a dictatorship.

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