- The Washington Times - Friday, September 30, 2005

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Asahi Shimbun

Bad news about oil

TOKYO — Just as Hurricane Rita was battering the U.S. Gulf Coast states Saturday, the finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of Seven richest nations held a meeting in Washington. The G-7 economic policy chiefs devoted much discussion to the problem of soaring crude-oil prices.

The world’s oil markets have witnessed a constant supply of bad news that have contributed to pushing up the price of crude. Demand for oil in China and other Asian countries is growing rapidly. Yet the outlook for supplies remains murky because of the volatile situation in the Middle East, with peace and order in Iraq nowhere in sight.

On top of this, Hurricane Katrina plowed directly into the states along the Gulf of Mexico, badly damaging oil facilities centered in the region. The two hurricanes exposed the alarming vulnerabilities of the U.S. oil-supply network.

The statement issued after the G-7 meeting presented eight key steps to stem the rise of oil prices. The document reflected a sense of urgency among the G-7 nations, which are apparently concerned about a potential return of stagflation, that painful combination of high inflation and low economic growth that gripped the world in the 1970s and 1980s.


Israeli-Palestinian strife

OSLO — Two weeks after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, militant Hamas demonstrated the will and ability to unleash violence again. With the weekend’s rocket attack, Hamas provoked strong Israeli reprisals. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, pressed by extreme forces in his own party, gave the military a free rein.

The actions show how easy it is to sabotage any approach to progress and a more peaceful development in the Middle East. Strong forces on the Israeli and Palestinian sides believe they gain most from confrontation. Only then can they achieve their ultimate goal: For some Israelis the dream of a Greater Israel that includes Palestinian areas. For some Palestinians, the goal is removing the entire state of Israel. Neither can achieve their unrealistic goals.

Sunday Mirror

Tony Blair’s blinkers

LONDON — It is an occupational hazard for all prime ministers that after a few years in the job they become isolated from real life by a mixture of wishful thinking and rose-tinted spectacles. Tony Blair is no exception.

Just before the faithful assembled in Brighton for Labor’s annual conference, he gave a pep talk to the Cabinet about where Labor is going. “Our vision is clear,” he said. “A country more equal in its opportunities, more secure in its communities, more confident in its future.”

This is Tony Blair’s 12th conference as leader and those words could easily have come out of the first. The world may well be changing as the prime minister insists, but much of it remains resolutely the same. …

Then there was “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” back in 1993. A fresher, more youthful Blair — in those days Shadow Home Secretary — but the same old Brighton.

We can expect a raft of legislation, he told the Cabinet. … You can’t have much respect for a criminal justice system that manifestly fails to deliver either the criminals or the justice. Tough on crime? Latest Scotland Yard figures show an average Metropolitan Police officer solves less than one crime a month.

And so to the NHS [National Health Service] and social justice. Labor was elected, Blair told the Cabinet [then], because the British people share the party’s values and aspiration for a dynamic and fair country.

But aspiration it remains. There is nothing fair about being denied vital drugs because you live in the wrong postcode. … Nothing fair about being pitched out of a job with reduced pensions by bosses raking in the cash with a golden parachute strapped to their backs.

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