- The Washington Times - Friday, July 29, 2005

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

London Daily Telegraph

China’s rising prices

Be careful what you wish for, Charles Schumer. He is the Democratic senator who has been jumping up and down, accusing the Chinese of foul and unnatural practices and of flooding the world with cheap goods.

Mr. Schumer did not like the fact that for 10 years the Chinese had fixed their currency at a low rate to the U.S. dollar. …

Now he has withdrawn his bill and the Chinese have obligingly dismantled the currency peg. The yuan now tracks a basket of currencies. As a result, it has risen by 2 percent. …

Freeing up foreign exchange has an important political effect: For the first time, Chinese citizens can enjoy one of the most fundamental rights of all, the right to leave, taking their assets with them. This is the ultimate sanction individuals hold over any state. And the signs are that some are doing just that, as Chinese businesses start to prowl around looking for Western investments, such as Rover, or American coal companies.

If the Asian central banks, by dumping their holdings of U.S. Treasuries, do not now drive up long-term interest rates, then a steady increase in the price of Chinese exports, pushing up inflation in the West, could do so. …

If China is really serious about liberalization — as it now seems to be — there might be a serious shake-out over the next few years, in which unprofitable enterprises go bankrupt and asset strippers move in.

The Hindu

Sparing the whales

MADRAS — A large group of countries led by Japan has again failed in its campaign to pressure the International Whaling Commission (IWC) into lifting the 19-year-old ban on hunting whales for commerce. However, the victory for the anti-whaling countries in the 66-member body at the recent annual meeting in Ulsan, South Korea, is far from emphatic: The ban was retained by a wafer-thin margin of six votes. Japan is an aggressive whaling power that opposes ocean sanctuaries and kills whales ostensibly to advance science …

The IWC has been subject to intense reactionary lobbying, but with support from several enlightened governments and public opinion around the world, it has been striving to strengthen its conservation credentials. … Australia and New Zealand, which have displayed commendable concern for conservation, demand fundamental reform at the IWC to strengthen ethics. Their worry, shared by other protection-minded countries, is heightened by Japan’s announcement, after losing the vote at Ulsan, that it would issue more scientific permits for killing minke, humpback, and fin whales. The available evidence points to a decline in the population of many kinds of whales and a parallel rise in human pressures on the environment. The IWC must work hard to put in place a complete ban in perpetuity.

Daily Nation

On FIFA sanctions

NAIROBI, Kenya — The jury is in, and the verdict is that Harambee Stars will play their next home World Cup qualifier against Tunisia in an empty stadium.

FIFA (Federation of International Football Associations), soccer’s world governing body, meted out this punishment [on Monday] as penalty for the stampede during a match between Kenya and Morocco in which a teenager died.

It is for this reason that the FIFA disciplinary committee ordered Kenya to play their next home qualifier without fans from either side, and also fined the Kenya Football Federation [the equivalent of U.S. $19,737].

This sanction comes less than a month after the government ordered an inquiry into the incident.

The FIFA penalty should serve as a wake-up call to the government to look at the safety issues that organizers of public events face every day.

For instance, are the entry and exit routes displayed and well-lit in our stadiums and concert halls? Are the personnel controlling crowds trained on proper evacuation procedures should the need arise? And to what extent do we screen those who enter stadiums? These are issues that the government must face up to urgently.

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