- The Washington Times - Friday, March 10, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

The Herald

Historic or histrionic

BUENOS AIRES — Yesterday’s vote-by-vote verdict by the 15-strong impeachment panel to decide suspended Mayor Anibal Ibarra’s fate proceeded much like a penalty shootout in soccer, and had a similar flavor of lottery about it. In the end the two-thirds majority was achieved with nothing to spare (10 votes to four) and this historically unprecedented verdict can only be seen as a fitting end to an incompetent mayor, even if on the worst possible basis. …

Ibarra’s ouster for general negligence [in connection with a fire at the Cromagnon nightclub] can be defended as rough justice but it is also a dangerous precedent which might return to haunt an able mayor attempting to implement unpopular policies with long-term benefits — even if Ibarra’s talk of an “institutional coup” last week was an exaggeration. If Ibarra could be removed on the basis of an emotional and media outcry after having been twice comfortably elected, no mandate is safe for any official — democracy thus risks becoming subordinated to mob rule.

The mayor’s ouster predictably appeased the fury of the bereaved … but they would be cheapening their own crusade if they settle for the trial and punishment of Ibarra as a scapegoat. The bereaved should not regard the battle against impunity as won but seek to submit to justice everybody with questions to answer about Cromagnon — they know the names better than anyone else.

The Age

No deep analysis needed

MELBOURNE, Australia — After the launch of our new uniquely Australian tourism campaign last week, everyone has had a lot to say, from cartoonists to everyday Australians, editorial writers, and even some of our visitors. And that’s a good thing.

We should care about how we promote ourselves to attract tourism, because tourism generates more than 500,000 jobs across Australia and last year delivered more than [Australian] $17 billion to our national economy, from tourists … alone.

… In the first few days of the campaign, the advertisement has been downloaded and played more than 79,000 times from within Australia and in places such as Namibia, Slovenia, Pakistan and Peru and our major markets in the United States, Britain, Canada, Germany, China and New Zealand.

And this is before it has been launched in any overseas market. This is in addition to the ad being run on many major networks, including the BBC in London. The ads are also being distributed through Tourism Australia’s Web site.

Moscow Times

The Spirit of Giving

This has probably happened to you. Say, if you have a child in a Russian state school. At some point or another you will hear something about a “donation.” The better the reputation of the school, the more you will have to “donate” and the more frequently. The best state schools, which are officially tuition-free, charge as much or more as the average private school — except the money is procured as ostensibly voluntary donations, which is to say, these schools do not charge; they extort. If you do not pay, your child risks being penalized or even expelled.

If you own or run a business in Moscow, you are accustomed to mild-mannered men who call or come by to tell you that all the businesses in your area are “donating” to the construction of a church down the street, or some similarly honorable cause. If you do not pay, your business risks being penalized by the city; you may even lose your space.

There is an important difference between the unpleasant tuition-collecting practices of Moscow’s public schools and the extortion practiced by people working for or otherwise seemingly affiliated with the city …

The schools collect money through pretend donations and elaborate structures such as “friends of the school clubs” because they are forbidden, by law, to charge tuition. The city, on the other hand, collects taxes and various fees, the payment of which is never pretend-voluntary. Extorting additional taxes on top of the legally collected taxes is … a mob-style way of running a city.

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