- The Washington Times - Friday, December 9, 2005

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Daily Telegraph

Civil Partnerships Act

LONDON — There is … one shining exception to the best-laid plans ganging agley in spades. It is the Government’s Civil Partnerships Act. …

Thousands of same-sex couples will be trooping into their town halls to give notice of their intention to form a legally binding union — the equivalent of the bans being read. After a 15-day waiting period the registrar will be entitled to pronounce them well and truly hitched. …

Startling progress for a way of life which was illegal well within living memory and which has just been condemned once again by Pope Benedict as “intrinsically disordered.” Even those who in some part of their minds still share that view are reluctant to be thought homophobic (and the pope, too, has subtly softened his line). There is now a public presumption in favor of kindness.

The new law is an interesting mixture of hardheadedness and sentiment. It makes sense to form a civil partnership in order to secure the same pension rights and exemption from inheritance tax that are the last remaining financial advantages of marriage. But the ceremony is also a public declaration of loyalty and affection. …

So part of the idea was to lure young gays out of the clubs and bars and encourage them to settle down in connubial respectability. …

All the research shows that being married, with all its ups and downs, is by far the most effective way of making young men law-abiding and giving them a sense of purpose and self-worth.

The politicians will admit this if pressed, but they still shy away from actually doing anything. Too simplistic, they mutter.

The Hindu

Global imbalances

MADRAS, India — India might be better prepared than most emerging market economies to face the growing global macroeconomic imbalances, but given that the inevitable adjustment will inflict pain there is no room for complacency. The global imbalance has been primarily caused by the propensity of countries with very high savings rate such as China, Japan and South Korea to park their savings in the United States, often at low yields. With many Asian central banks simultaneously investing their foreign currency reserves in U.S. government securities, the U.S. has been able to finance its very large current account as well as fiscal deficits at relatively low costs. Clearly this arrangement is unsustainable. Already there is a strong clamor in the U.S. to trim its deficits. The asymmetry between savings and investment has been accentuated recently by the huge surpluses of the oil producers.

There is a widespread fear that measures to counteract the resurgent global inflation will be the tipping points for the global macroeconomic imbalances to unravel. Countries such as India with a good macroeconomic performance and a tradition of reforms will be able to withstand better the onslaught of sudden and unexpected changes in global interest rates and exchange rates.


Kyoto climate goals

OSLO — Luckily, there is still interest in climate questions. … That is clear from mass demonstrations at several places in the world before this week’s climate summit in Montreal about post-2012, when the Kyoto treaty expires.

The involvement is partly due to the many scientific facts about serious, man-made climate change. But what may have contributed most is our feeling firsthand the effects of global warming.

Many powerful hurricanes in the U.S. and Caribbean, the melting of polar ice, warmer summers and winters in our latitudes, floods in Asia, all indicate a globe out of balance. Despite the remaining skeptics, evidence is building and the world must undertake united efforts. …

The ministers in Montreal need to agree on action. Unfortunately, disputes over Kyoto show that there is no united international stance. Each country thinks of its own economy and interests.

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