- The Washington Times - Friday, July 8, 2005

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Bergens Tidende

The Live 8 concerts

BERGEN, Norway — It wasn’t hard to be jubilant during the weekend’s Live 8 concert. But now both G-8 countries’ leaders and ourselves are challenged to show whether we are willing to sacrifice anything at all for change. …



For many countries, debt relief means a badly needed economic freedom. But for many African countries, more basic reforms are needed. The rich countries can help with some changes. Others, the countries must carry out themselves — the battle against corruption and building institutions and democracy. …

The great challenge … is the debate on trade barriers. … Every day, the rich countries subsidize agriculture with one billion dollars. These subsidies keep many of the poorest countries from building a foundation for managing without the sporadic, alms of the rich.

The New Vision

Aid to Africa, climate change

KAMPALA, Uganda — Just before the summit of the Group of Eight nations, President George Bush said that he is willing to double aid to Africa but is not willing to tackle global climate change.

This is a tragedy for the whole world, Africa and the United States included.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair had wanted the G-8 summit in Gleneagles to commit to increased aid for Africa as well as a concerted effort to end global warming.

But the Bush administration completely denies that climate change is happening, and that carbon emissions are responsible.

Yet the world is undoubtedly getting warmer and climatic fluctuations more extreme. The desert is now predicted to spread in southern Africa, hurricane damage is intensifying in the United States, coral reefs are dying as oceans heat up and glaciers are melting on mountains.

Any benefit from extra aid to Africa will be lost if climate change accelerates further and makes the agricultural environment in Africa even more difficult.

In fact, it would even be better for Africa if Bush flipped his position — if he refused to increase aid to Africa but agreed to start restricting carbon emissions in the United States.

The Hindu

Iraq’s new constitution

MADRAS, India — The travails of the Iraqi government are far from over, even though it has finally succeeded in persuading the country’s Sunnis to participate in the drafting of a new constitution.

The tribal and religious leaders who made the deal with the government do have standing within the community. Several of them are believed to be closely associated with the Sunni fighters who spearheaded the national resistance against foreign occupation. However, there is no indication that this group has agreed to act as a conduit between the government and those waging the liberation struggle. There is reason to doubt that these leaders are capable of playing such a role; in fact, the resistance intensified during the talks.

The constitution-drafting exercise might actually fuel the anger Sunnis feel toward a government made up largely of parties representing Shias and Kurds. The communities do not see eye to eye on issues such as the weight that should be given to Islam as a source of law, and the amount of autonomy the provinces should get. The compromise at the core of the agreement could also become a source of trouble. The Sunnis gave up their demand for more seats on the drafting committee than the 15 offered after the government conceded that constitutional provisions would be adopted by consensus, not by majority vote.

This looks like a recipe for gridlock. There is very little chance that the constitution will take final shape before the Aug. 15 deadline. …

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