- The Washington Times - Friday, February 23, 2007

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Independent

Overfishing the oceans

LONDON — The madness of the overfishing of our oceans shows no signs of abating. A research paper presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco this week shows that, as fish stocks in coastal waters become more and more depleted, trawlers are moving further out to sea. …

Fishing fleets are also wrecking marine biodiversity in the areas in which they operate. Bottom trawling is responsible for the loss of more than 95 percent of the coral from deep-sea reefs. The dragnets of the trawlers destroy in the space of a few hours pristine ecosystems that have often taken thousands of years to grow. In the process, the homes of countless rare species are lost. The destruction of the coral also destroys a valuable natural record of the Earth’s changing climate. This is ecological vandalism.

What makes this rape of the seas even more outrageous is that our governments are subsidizing the process. … The desire of governments to support fishing is understandable. But it makes no sense to sponsor overfishing. There is only one sane course of action: subsidies should end, bottom trawling should be outlawed, and a system of strict international regulation for high seas fisheries must be established.

The warnings of what will happen otherwise are unequivocal. According to a major scientific study last year there will be virtually nothing left to fish from the seas by the middle of the century if current fishing trends continue. We are at risk of wiping out one of mankind’s oldest sources of food and doing untold damage to one of our planet’s fundamental ecosystems.

Yomiuri Shimbun

China’s aid in Africa

TOKYO — In recent years, China has been stepping up efforts to secure natural resources from African countries in exchange for massive aid and investment.

In its single-minded effort to secure energy resources from African countries, China has kept silent about iron-fisted rule and the suppression of human rights in these nations. Beijing’s diplomatic approach has aroused deep distrust among Japan, the United States and European nations.

Even some African nations have become increasingly cautious about China’s diplomatic drive. China’s exports to Africa in recent years have greatly exceeded its imports from that part of the world, as shown by a deluge of Chinese clothes and electrical home appliances flooding African markets. This has been coupled with a massive influx of Chinese into Africa because of their country’s foreign aid.

The critical attitude taken by the international community toward China must be seen as a reaction to Beijing’s aid-for-resources diplomatic drive. China has never disclosed information about how and where its foreign aid is used. This has aroused global concern about China’s external assistance, which has increased by 20 percent annually in recent years. China must face this stark fact.

Corriere della Sera

War in Afghanistan

MILAN, Italy — Within the next two months, there will probably be war in Afghanistan. Not the asymmetrical war between a conventional military force and guerrilla warfare, but a traditional one between two armies. On one hand, the Taliban — launching an offensive against NATO troops — on the other hand, NATO commands that already have planned their own offensive against the Taliban. There, military planners are preparing their moves to respond to the enemy. In Rome, our political leaders are preparing their words to keep a divided coalition together.

Until now, they said that our contingent was deployed in Afghanistan as a “peace force.” It was not using weapons, even if it had them. Adhering to the same rules of engagement in real war and under a unified command will be difficult, or at least little consistent with other NATO forces that fight with guns.

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