- The Washington Times - Friday, May 11, 2007

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Asahi Shimbun

The French elections

TOKYO — French voters have chosen a tough go-getter for their new president. Former Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, a conservative, defeated former Environment Minister Segolene Royal of the Socialist Party. …

At 52, Sarkozy is a much younger “face” of France than his predecessor Jacques Chirac, 74. A high jobless rate among the younger generation and deteriorating security are among woes that have beset France in recent years. Sarkozy called for tougher security measures and greater competition under a market economy. His message — “Work harder in order to earn more” — won the hearts of voters. …

Sarkozy’s diplomatic skills are still unknown. What sort of relationship does he intend to forge with the administration of President George W. Bush, which is struggling with the Iraq debacle? What change of course will there be for Chirac’s pro-Arab policy? We will watch the new French president closely.

Svenska Dagbladet

Europe-Iran dialogue

STOCKHOLM — … It is obvious that many world leaders still hope for dialogue with Iran. Their foreign minister’s [recent] European tour — by invitation — cannot be interpreted in any other way.

When Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki visited Stockholm to lecture on “multilateral diplomacy and global security,” it became Carl Bildt and Maud Olofsson’s turn to attempt to influence. Iran has ignored international demands. And the dictatorship watched as strong U.N. Security Council sanctions were blocked, thanks to [Iran’s] smart relations with Russia and China. …

Sweden, the EU and the U.N. lack — compared to the U.S. and possibly Israel — the military muscle to influence the regime by force. We can only hope that our resolutions, conventions, sanctions and sharply formulated letters might, in the best case, bore the mullahs into submission.

Hindustan Times

Family and environment

DELHI — Having large families, it seems, is not only bad for privacy and savings, but also for Mother Earth. A study conducted by the Orwellian-sounding Optimum Population Trust (OPT) states that couples with two children instead of three cut their family’s carbon dioxide output by the equivalent of 20 London-New York return flights a year. So switching lights off at home and conserving water aren’t good enough any more. Having extra children is an ecological crime.

… The problem with an environmental think tank telling individuals to stop having more than two children to save the planet is twofold. At one basic level, people rightly or wrongly put individual happiness before global unhappiness. Which is why smokers are not sent to Siberia and washing machine owners are yet to be shot by a firing squad for eco-crimes. On another level, having a fixed limit on the number of children a couple can have can only be suggested, not imposed upon unless, of course, you live in China.

The correlation between the amount of carbon dioxide emissions, not to mention methane ones, and the number of children per family is a strong one. But then, one wonders what would have happened if those wanting to impose a two-children family were not allowed to be born as their parents were already saddled with two kids. Who would have warned us?

Daily Telegraph

Northern Ireland power sharing

LONDON — The blizzard of backslapping platitudes that greeted [the] re-establishment of a power-sharing government in Stormont could not disguise a profound sense of unease.

… A process that commenced with the Downing Street Declaration brokered by John Major (who was churlishly snubbed and left off the guest list for the ceremonials) has, 13 years later, produced something that has the potential to be a lasting settlement. But it has come at such a high price. …

If [this] does mark an end to the vicious tribalism that has disfigured Northern Ireland’s politics for decades (and that has to mean an end to the gangsterism into which the paramilitaries have diversified), there will be a big vacuum to fill.

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