- The Washington Times - Friday, April 7, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Yomiuri Shimbun

Splitting the Okinawa bill

TOKYO — How should Japan and the United States split the bill for the planned transfer of 8,000 U.S. Marines from Okinawa prefecture to Guam?

The transfer … will provide a great opportunity to reduce the burden imposed on Okinawa prefecture. Given this, Japan has good reason to pay its fair share of the costs of the relocation.

However, the U.S. demand for Japan to foot 75 percent of the bill should be seen as extremely disproportionate.


Planned nuclear reactor

TALLINN, Estonia — It would be wonderful to not be dependent on Russian energy supplies over time, which is what is expected of the nuclear power plant. But when you consider that Russia is the closest place where nuclear waste can be stored, would we, after all, achieve the degree of independence we desire?

An even more serious problem is that there are three generations of people in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania who associate nuclear power plants mainly with Chernobyl. …

Naturally, these kinds of fears can sound ridiculous to experts. After all, the Ignalina nuclear power plant currently operates in Lithuania. Furthermore, people are right to expect improved technology and better operational safety.

Winnipeg Free Press

Effect of fertilizers

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Yards all over Winnipeg are emerging again from under blankets of winter snow. They don’t look like much, but without doubt gardeners are starting to think about how they might look as spring advances. …

One thing many will be considering is the purchase of fertilizers to green up grass. As John Morriss argued … on Saturday, however, Winnipeggers should keep in mind that at least some of that fertilizer will find its way into drainage systems and eventually into Lake Winnipeg. …

Mr. Morriss, the publisher of a farm weekly, argues that new regulations to protect the lake by requiring farmers to have nutrient management plans and soil tests to measure nutrient needs should be extended to cities, where fertilizers are used more for cosmetic rather than economic and environmental reasons. It’s an argument that seems to make common sense and should be explored …

The Lake Winnipeg Water Stewardship Board, in fact, has already recommended the province consider the imposition of restrictions on cosmetic use of fertilizers. …

[In Minnesota] … laws have been passed that limit the use of phosphorus for cosmetic purposes…

Critics of the measures pointed out that phosphorus runoff from lawns was not a significant contributor to nutrient loads in lakes. In fact, runoff contributed less to the problem than did the creation of grass clippings. But the measures appear to have carried the day for other reasons.

The Times

The pension problem

LONDON — The spat between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown over the future of pensions is easy enough to explain. One man wants to secure a legacy of long-term reform that all political parties can agree upon, and the other is worried about picking up the bill. But, while affordability is a genuine issue, the chancellor’s objections to Lord Turner of Ecchinswell’s Pensions Commission report should not be allowed to block the full implementation of what is an eminently sensible package. …

We have now reached the point at which the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, the Pensions Commission, the Blairite wing of the Labor Party and much of old Labor are agreed that the basic state pension should be linked to earnings again, means-testing should be reduced, employees should be automatically enrolled in a pensions scheme, employers should contribute more, and women should be better looked after in retirement. There is, as Mr. Brown might put it, a “progressive consensus” on Lord Turner’s proposals. At last, a reluctant chancellor is coming round too.

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