- The Washington Times - Friday, October 14, 2005

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Belfast Telegraph

Irish smoking bans

BELFAST — If the speculation is accurate, it looks as if Northern Ireland will follow the Republic by imposing a total ban on smoking in pubs, clubs and restaurants, in response to public demand. There would be widespread disappointment if next week’s announcement fell short of an outright prohibition in enclosed public premises.

The choice was whether or not to confine the ban to places where food was being served, but Health Minister Shaun Woodward would be advised to listen to the voice of the people, as well as health experts and many trade unions. In a consultation exercise this year, 91 percent of 71,000 respondents wanted a comprehensive ban and, if anything, opinion is hardening in its favor.

People have seen the results of the ban in the Republic, where fears of widespread breaches of the law or boycotts have not been realized. Pubs are more attractive to the nonsmoking majority, tourism has barely been affected and staff have welcomed a much healthier working environment.

The Age

Men and their health

MELBOURNE, Australia — American writer P. J. O’Rourke once said: “There is one thing women can never take away from men. We die sooner.”

This should come as no surprise to anyone who has cast even a cursory glance over health statistics. As the most recent Victorian Population Health Survey shows, male lifestyle decisions place them at greater health risk than females. In an age when takeaway food has become a regular choice for those too busy (or incompetent) to prepare healthy meals, only 3.6 percent of men were found to eat the recommended five servings of vegetables each day. … Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward blames traditional views about masculinity for men’s poorer health. While there may be some truth in this, it is no excuse.

A man’s health is his own responsibility and deserves at least the same attention he lavishes on his car — proper daily care, regular servicing and careful diagnostic testing to ensure optimum performance. … There should be no reason that a boy born in 2000 should be expected to live to be 77, while a girl born the same year can expect to reach 82.

Moscow Times

Anti-terrorism programs

In case you missed it, the government just wrapped up a monthlong nationwide anti-terrorism program with the slogan: “We won’t allow the Beslan tragedy to be repeated!” The highlight of the program was a forum called “A Future Without Terrorism. No Future for Terrorism,” which featured a fiery speech by Aslanbek Aslakhanov, who serves as President Vladimir Putin’s adviser on the North Caucasus. … The schools were “not doing their part to help tackle the biggest challenge facing the state and society: Counteracting terrorism,” he said. …

There’s another little problem, however — providing security for our schools and kindergartens. In Orenburg, people decided to take matters into their own hands. Orenburg Deputy Mayor Lyudmila Marchenko told Itar-Tass that “over the course of a month, local residents, organizations, businesses and private firms deposited money into a special account.” In the end, Orenburg raised 1.33 million rubles “to acquire additional equipment and to install alarm systems,” Mrs. Marchenko said.

Hang on. That means that Orenburg’s schools currently have no alarm systems or “additional equipment,” and it’s unlikely that Orenburg is an exception.

So where is all the money going that has been allocated in the federal budget for security, prevention and the war on terrorism?

In 2004, after the tragedy in Beslan, we were told that the 2005 federal budget would contain a record 3 billion rubles to fund these activities. …

So why isn’t a major city like Orenburg seeing any of this money? There’s no way to find out. This section of the budget is secret.

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