- The Washington Times - Friday, October 27, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Observer

No-fault divorce

LONDON — Take two antagonists, a black hole of a marriage, hotshot lawyers, a voracious press and a public hungry for dirt. Add a little girl caught between warring parents and you have the ingredients for a “divorce of the century.” …

Despite a move away from assessing conduct, divorce is strictly blame-based, demanding proof of irretrievable breakdown. …

No-fault divorce will never happen, though, until society gets over its undue veneration of marriage. Commercialized at the entry stage (all those gift-wrapped electric woks) and at the exit (all those lawyers’ fees), it is invested with fake dreams. While many marriages are long and happy, some are little more than a charade in which the irreligious make promises they will not keep to someone else’s god. Even those who marry in civil ceremonies are bound by the same legal strictures.

In France, where the “pacte civil de solidarite” (civil union) gives tax and immigration breaks to heterosexual and same-sex couples alike, marriage is plummeting. The option of civil partnerships allowing for simple, non-adversarial dissolution must be better for men, women and children than a system that offers nothing between the insecurity of informal bonds and a contract still prone to end in feuding.

Good laws should reflect private behavior, not dictate it. More couples favor commitments shorn of blame and a capacity for emotional carnage unaltered since the time of Henry James.

Yomiuri Shimbun

Pressure on North Korea

TOKYO — U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s recent four-nation tour should be regarded as unsuccessful in terms of achieving its goal of placing North Korea under international siege in the wake of the country’s nuclear test.

The United States and four other nations — Japan, China, Russia and South Korea — have failed to announce specific measures to carry out economic sanctions unanimously adopted by the U.N. Security Council. This could spark concerns about whether the five nations will be able to take coordinated actions against the reclusive state.

The five countries have been unanimously adamant in protesting North Korea’s nuclear test and its possession of nuclear weapons. However, their inability to implement forceful and specific actions against Pyongyang means they have failed to send a strong message to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

We believe the five nations should implement necessary sanctions against Pyongyang under the U.N. resolution as swiftly as possible.

The imminent challenge facing Japan — a nation directly threatened by North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles — is to unite with other nations in placing the belligerent country under an even more powerful international siege.

Dagens Nyheter

Iceland’s commercial whaling

STOCKHOLM — The battle over Icelandic whaling is in essence cultural. A traditional hunting culture is pitted against modern eco-tourism. The two have to be combinable.

In the Nordics’ westernmost countries you can buy T-shirts with the text “If We Had Dolphins, We’d Kill Them Too.”

The jokesters are of course referring to the contested whale hunt, and illustrate a deep rift between those who are for and against this bloody tradition.

… Negotiations are needed, since the issue of whale hunting has received an unnecessary emotional charge. For Icelanders and Norwegians, the hunt has become a symbol of independence and national pride. Hundreds of people applauded by the pier when a dead fin whale was towed in last Saturday.

Opponents sometimes display equally irrational traits. Europeans and Americans who gladly eat hamburgers refuse to accept even the hunting of whales that are not endangered.

The Icelandic fishing authority’s permit to hunt 39 whales, including nine red-listed fin whales, can serve as a starting point for a more enlightened debate. The hunting of endangered species is of course deplorable, but there is no reason to outlaw all whaling for all time.


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