- The Washington Times - Friday, April 20, 2007

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Postimees

Demonstrations in Russia

TALLINN, Estonia — It has been astounding to read the news of the crackdown on demonstrations by opposition forces in Russia. …

While such events would not be considered unusual in Belarus, mass arrests can be regarded as something of a novelty in Russia. But it could be that these incidents are not so surprising after all.

For many years now, Russia’s Foreign Ministry, as well as the Kremlin, have tried to make it clear that it is not possible to import democracy from outside. It is true that Russia succeeded in introducing capitalism and organizing … elections.

Perhaps the point is that some of the basic truths of democracy, such as transition of power and transparency of administration, do not please [President Vladimir] Putin’s inner circle. … The basis of Russian democracy is built on two kinds of freedom: the freedom to be silent and the freedom to agree.

Asahi Shimbun

Virginia Tech shootings

TOKYO — The shooting incident that occurred in the state of Virginia — where rural scenes spread — is the deadliest in U.S. history in terms of the number of victims. It portrayed again the aspect of U.S. society where tragedies caused by guns can occur anywhere. …

The question of how to protect school safety is a grave problem for any society.

Nonetheless, why can’t the United States reduce shooting incidents? …

The lobbying activities of the National Rifle Association are said to be behind the reason why gun control cannot be strengthened. …

We hope for efforts in gun control by the U.S. government, the Congress, and the public as well.

Daily Telegraph

On British inflation

LONDON — It is the best of times, it is the worst of times.

For the bankers feasting on the biggest takeover boom since the dotcom bubble, the owners of rapidly appreciating houses in leafy suburbs and consumers gorging on a surfeit of easy credit, life could not be happier. …

Unfortunately, every economic silver lining comes with a cloud attached. Yesterday’s shocking inflation figures are a stark reminder that one man’s bumper bonus is another’s rising food bill. Invariably, the people enjoying the party are not the ones who feel the pain of picking up the tab. …

While the boom benefits a small fraction of the population, the price is paid by everyone. The rise in prices in March was driven by life’s necessities: higher food bills, furniture costs and petrol. Rising gas bills and university tuition fees played their part too. …

Yet this is not a time to panic. The Bank’s central case is that inflation will fall quite sharply later in the year. We are a long way from the stagflationary conditions of the 1970s. But the pain of the early 1980s was the result of a misguided belief that a little bit of inflation wouldn’t hurt.

It did, and the Bank of England must do whatever is necessary to ensure that this modest inflation scare remains just that.

Al-Ahram Weekly

Riyadh summit

CAIRO — The results of the Riyadh summit, which have set the Arab agenda for the forthcoming phase, merit close inspection. In keeping with “the Arab commitment to a just and comprehensive peace as a strategic option,” the summit resolution on the Arab-Israeli conflict opens with an affirmation that “all Arab states adhere to the peace initiative adopted by the Beirut summit of 2002.” …

Unfortunately, the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian cause cannot be resolved simply by clinging to the Beirut peace initiative, which over the past five years led to no progress whatsoever. …

Credit is due to the summit participants for not adding “the only” to the phrase “strategic option.” But does that change anything? … The official Arab order may not currently have the required military strength to push its agenda, but certainly it has other cards to draw on, many of which have never been used.

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