- The Washington Times - Friday, March 4, 2005

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Guardian

Tried and tested

LONDON — After months of politicking — in which the final outcome was never assured — the government [Wednesday] scrapped the BBC’s governors, but guaranteed the future of the corporation and its license fee for 10 years. …

If the proposals contained in the green paper contain few surprises that is because the BBC has anticipated the sort of changes it felt public — and political — pressures demanded. … In fact the BBC had already announced big staff cuts and an independent board of governors (now renamed trustees) to remove the conflict arising from the board being the corporation’s cheerleader and regulator. The outcome is a workable framework for the BBC that broadly reflects the wishes of the country at large rather than those of a couple of peers.

… It is one of the few corporations in the country with an esteemed, global reputation for quality and independence which has responded very impressively to the challenges of the digital age. It is unfortunate that the review of the future was tainted by the row between the government and the corporation over the Iraq war which led to the resignations of its chairman and director general. It is to the BBC’s credit that it has preserved its independence during this traumatic period.

Asian Age

Death of courtesy

NEW DELHI — With muscle power now firmly ruling politics in the Hindi heartland, it is inevitable for political courtesies to die a natural death. [Uttar Pradesh] minister Vinod Singh of Samajwadi Party unabashedly threatened a legislator inside the state Assembly, using unparliamentary language, and then actually smiled when the Opposition went hoarse demanding an apology. …

[In the 1970s and ‘80s] … parliamentary courtesies were strictly adhered to and even the bitterest rivals took care to ensure that not a word fell out of place.

Language, it is said, is the mother of culture and, therefore, this sea change in the behavior of today’s politicians is not entirely unexpected. What else can you expect when criminals charged with 30 to 40 murder cases get to occupy a place of pride in Houses of Parliament and state legislatures?

Guardian

100 years of Rotary Club

LAGOS, Nigeria — Rotarians throughout the world are celebrating the centenary of their club this year. As the world’s first humanitarian service club, Rotary has become the universal symbol of community and voluntary service. …

The first Rotary club in Africa was that of Johannesburg, established in 1921. It was introduced into Nigeria a few months after independence, when the Rotary Club of Kano was formed in April 1961. Since then 72 clubs have been established across the country, with about 1,600 members. As it happened, it was the pioneer club, in Kano, that had the privilege of producing the first African president of Rotary International, Rotarian Jonathan Majiyagbe.

Considering the degree of underdevelopment in the country, it should be expected that a club consumed by service to community would be in the vanguard of organizations involved in ameliorating the people’s social conditions. And that, indeed, has been the history of Rotary in Nigeria. The club has played a significant role in the provision of humanitarian services in Nigeria in the last four decades. It has provided equipment to schools and health care centers, boreholes [water wells] to communities, scholarships to needy students, and start-up capital through its microcredit schemes. The most significant has been the organization’s involvement in the polio eradication program. …

Since Nigeria is one of the countries in which polio is endemic, the local Rotary clubs have played an active part in the campaign to eradicate the disease in the country. … That the disease is yet to be eradicated in the country (70 percent of the total global infections, 786 cases, reported at the end of 2004 were in Nigeria) is not for want of effort by the Rotary clubs, which are still committed to achieving the dream of a polio-free world in this their centenary year.

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