- The Washington Times - Friday, April 21, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Egyptian Gazette

Alexandria church attacks

CAIRO — The weekend attacks on churches in the coastal city of Alexandria have revived talk about alleged sectarian strife. The attacks, which left one Copt dead, came a couple of days before the Copts celebrated Palm Sunday. They were carried out on Friday, which is a sacred day for Muslims.

So religious sentiments on both sides run high. Whether the attacks were timed to exploit and agitate these feelings or not will be determined after the current investigations into the incidents.

It is preposterous to conclude that such condemnable attacks would stoke up sectarian sedition in Egypt, whose Muslims and Christians have long coexisted in harmony. Still, it would be a self-deception to underestimate the impact of such acts on the relationship between both sides. …

The lesson that should be taken from a series of sectarian problems is that handling these problems should not be left to police alone. Muslim and Coptic clerics, as well as educational institutions and the media, have to work hard to disseminate tolerance and nip in the bud any bid to foment religious sedition.

Asahi Shimbun

Iran’s nuclear program

TOKYO — Despite continued calls from the United Nations Security Council to desist, Iran is pushing ahead with its nuclear development program. No matter how much Tehran argues its nuclear intentions are peaceful, if Iran ignores the United Nations, international society will not support it.

International society must keep up diplomatic efforts to defuse the situation. Iran is a major oil producer, so talks of economic sanctions tend to sound hollow. What is needed is a combined, well-planned effort. Russia and China especially, which have close relations with Iran, should work with the international community to ensure peace. …

Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, the United States has enforced its own sanctions against the country, calling Iran a “state that sponsors terrorists.” But such pressure alone is not the only way. We should consider an inclusive approach, one that seeks to bring Iran into the fold with the rest of international society.

The United States is already having a hard time establishing security in Iraq. Washington has said it intends to negotiate with Iran, which wields some influence over Shi’ite Muslims, to encourage a peaceful solution in Iraq. With the nuclear dispute having reached an impasse, we must also encourage a breakthrough via such a channel of dialogue.

La Repubblica

Mob boss Provenzano’s arrest

The slightly mocking smile [Bernardo] Provenzano wore while being arrested and the details that have come to light about his life have raised much interest about his dysfunctional handling of power.

His power did not show through the average instruments used by those that rule, but instead it spread in subterranean and unseen ways, as if he pulled many invisible strings. So strong was the fear he relied on to do this that nobody in 43 years ever dared to betray him.

A second trait of the way he handled power was that he was a stranger to the material benefits of his doings.

Provenzano was forced into … austere management of his power, but it did not seem to bother him. …

But the manner in which he managed the power he had proves that he was very capable of adapting to the circumstances. Fortunately, police have now put an end to his sharp and cunning management of an execrable criminal organization.

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