- The Washington Times - Friday, June 9, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Kristeligt Dagblad

U.S. policy shift on Iran

COPENHAGEN — The standoff over Iran’s nuclear ambitions appears to be on the verge of a breakthrough. Along with Germany, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council have put together a package of incentives that encourage Tehran to join direct talks about its nuclear program, and Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has signaled his readiness to consider the proposal.

The shift came about after the United States declared it will join Britain, France and Germany in their talks with Iran. For the United States to alter course now and show a willingness to sit at the same table with Iran represents a historic policy shift.

Nuclear nonproliferation is a goal shared by the international community. In order to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear capabilities, communication with and persuasion of the Iranian leadership are essential. We welcome the Bush administration’s decision to commit itself to negotiation-based diplomacy.

Future negotiations with Iran will probably be difficult. The incentives said to have been offered to Iran include providing it with a light-water nuclear reactor and assurances of nuclear fuel supplies. Iran would also get commercial aviation technology and assurances of regional security. All these steps are surely worthy of Iran’s serious consideration.

We urge Iran to grasp this historic opportunity, and take the first step toward solving the nuclear issue through dialogue with the West.

Financial Times

Slow growth, rising inflation

LONDON — There can be little dispute with Ben Bernanke’s observation on Monday that the U.S. economy is “entering a period of transition.” Understandably, though, the markets alighted on the least ambivalent portion of the Fed chairman’s remarks that inflation was “at, or above, the upper end” of what most economists view as consistent with price stability. As a result, the futures market is now forecasting another quarter-point rise at the Fed’s next meeting in late June.

But things are not necessarily that simple. Recent U.S. data pose a particular challenge because they are pulling in opposite directions. As Mr. Bernanke observed, core inflation — excluding food and energy — has risen to 3.2 percent in the past three months, up from a 2.8 percent six-month average. Some of this can be attributed to the feed through of higher oil and other commodity prices into retail costs. But it could also signify inflationary pressures resulting from a rise in U.S. capacity utilization.

Against this, there is clear evidence that overall U.S. economic growth is starting to slow as the Fed has long anticipated. Last Friday’s non-farm employment numbers looked tepid, with a rise of just 75,000 compared to an average of 125,000 in the past few months. In addition, there are further signs of a weakening in the housing market …

Jordan Times

Debate on public freedom

AMMAN — So far, public freedoms throughout the world have been the first victim of the … war on terror.

From the historic capitals of civil liberties in old Europe, all the way across the Atlantic in the U.S., the self-declared defender of freedom and promoter of democracy worldwide, blatant human rights violations are being committed every day in the name of the fight against terrorism.

Since September 11, most Western democracies have adopted anti-terror legislation largely restrictive of basic freedoms.

If well-established democracies reneged on the principles of the inviolability of the human person, freedom of assembly, right to privacy and presumption of innocence, and have de facto legalized incommunicado detentions and other undemocratic practices, then why should less advanced and much more fragile countries, with political systems that are only close or not even close to real democracies, not do the same?

This is the question that conservatives in the Third World raise in defense of undemocratic or draconian legislation. … The answer is simple: Being less advanced does not authorize one to ignore the principles that constitute the pillars of the society.

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