- The Washington Times - Friday, February 17, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

The Bangkok Post

U.S. hit on human rights

BANGKOK — The United Nations has concluded … that the situation in Guantanamo Bay, the United States jail in Cuba for alleged terrorists, violates international law and the convention on human rights and torture.

While some of the allegations have been made before, this report is the first to emerge from an investigation made by the reputed U.N. Commission on Human Rights. A draft of the report was forwarded to the White House on Jan. 16 for comment.

The report accuses the U.S. of violating the detainees’ rights to a fair trial, freedom of religion and health.

Five U.N. experts had applied for permission to conduct an inquiry at Guantanamo Bay. The U.S. government denied entry to two and said three experts could visit the facility but could not talk with any detainees. The U.N. panel decided not to accept the U.S. government offer and refused to go. …

Lawyers for two Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo Bay filed court papers on Monday seeking an order for their release. Abu Bakker Qassim and A’Del Abdu al-Hakim were captured in Pakistan in 2001 as they fled a Taliban training camp, where they were learning tactics to use in seeking independence from the Chinese government. The two men have said they have no quarrel with the U.S., and the U.S. military has found that they are not “enemy combatants.”

And in Paris on Monday, Reporters Without Borders, a worldwide press watchdog, urged the U.S. to free two journalists jailed without charges, one in Iraq and one at Guantanamo Bay, and accused U.S. and Iraqi forces of obstructing media coverage of the war.

The Korea Times

The top U.N. post

Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon’s declaration of candidacy for U.N. secretary general marks an epoch for both Korea and the global body. It is like a child who was born and grew up under dedicated parental support has come of age and offers to return the favor.

Of course, the top job at the United Nations is individual rather than national in nature. This only makes Minister Ban a better candidate than most others. A lifetime diplomat and a known U.N. expert, he enjoys … recognition on the diplomatic stage.

If a diplomat cannot be completely separated from his country even in international organizations, however, Ban’s biggest — if not only — handicap would be his nationality. Of the permanent five members of the Security Council, China and Russia may cite Korea’s relative proximity to the U.S. Worse yet, Washington’s intimacy toward Seoul has cooled in recent years. …

For these reasons, the permanent five, including Britain and France, could support other Asian candidates even if they agree on the principle of continental rotations. We think that should not be the case, as Southeast Asia already had a top U.N. official [U Thant of Burma], while a Thai is leading the World Trade Organization. …

Asahi Shimbun

Recycled plutonium fuel

TOKYO — The power industry’s long-stalled project to burn recycled plutonium fuel in conventional light-water reactors has moved closer to reality.

Yasushi Furukawa, the governor of Saga Prefecture, home to Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s nuclear power plant in Genkai, recently said he has become convinced of the safety of the use of plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel at the plant, effectively approving the project.

The town of Genkai is also expected to give the go-ahead for Kyushu Electric’s plan to use MOX at the No. 3 reactor of its Genkai plant. But it will be four to five years until the MOX fuel is ready for the plutonium-thermal project.

Local residents are far from reassured. The local governments and Kyushu Electric need to offer a convincing explanation about the project and address the residents’ concerns. …

The MOX project at the Genkai plant, if it is launched, should be limited to using the plutonium piling up in Britain and France.

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