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SWITZERLAND



Published: Mon, July 30, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Neue Luzerner Zeitung, Lucerne, July 24: The Kyoto Protocol has been rescued. But those who warned of the catastrophic results of the greenhouse effect are not going to be silent after the Bonn climate summit. Because what the delegates from 178 countries did with the protocol is sobering. They only passed a minimal version of things which four years ago were considered to be urgently necessary for rescuing the global climate.

Yet for all that, the compromise deserves strong praise, because the alternative would have been a climate policy which was a complete mess -- a la George Bush, who followed the demands of those who financed his election and declared the Kyoto Protocol dead. After the slap in the face from Bonn, the U.S. president is definitively isolated on climate policy.

Pollution: Besides, the countries that are rich in forests will be motivated to stop widespread deforestation. And even if the targets for reduction of carbon dioxide are minimal, the industrialized countries must now make earnest efforts to reduce their pollution. At least for the first time there will be less climate-changing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

A small but important step against global warming was taken in Bonn. But starting something new is hard, and that will not only be seen on the international stage. The departure from beloved habits costs money, and everyone will have a few victims. A summit agreement does not yet guarantee a good climate.

SOUTH AFRICA

The Star, Johannesburg, July 25: After Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980, Robert Mugabe's government bought most of the country's newspapers from the South African Argus group, with money donated by Nigeria. It then set up the Mass Media Trust to manage the papers on its behalf. The Ministry of Information, which tried to maintain that the trust was independent, indignantly denied any foreign press report that suggested the press was state-controlled.

The lie -- if anyone ever believed it -- has long been exposed; today there is no pretense that these newspapers are anything other than a Zanu-PF government organ. And not a few editors have found to their cost that following the party line isn't enough: it must be done with enthusiasm beyond the call of duty. In the past few months alone, five of the six Zimbabwe newspaper editors have been replaced because they did not measure up to this requirement.

Tough task: Their successors face a tough task as the autocratic and reckless Mugabe persists with policies that threaten to bring Zimbabwe to its knees despite the reported lifeline thrown to him by Moammar Gadhafi. But it's impossible to feel sympathy for political lickspittles who besmirch the name of journalism.

FRANCE

Liberation, Paris, July 25: Aside from the pain of the families, which has not abated, one year has been enough for all obstacles to be overcome so that the Concorde can fly again. It is both exceptionally short compared to other investigation and compensation procedures that have followed crashes of regular commercial jets, and unusually long for the flight interruption of an entire series of aircrafts after the failure of one of them.

Technical changes: The origin of the accident has been detected rather rapidly, the compensations for the families seem acceptable, and the technical changes to prevent such a disaster seem sufficient to authorize Concorde to fly again.

ISRAEL

The Jerusalem Post, July 20: Yesterday the Group of Eight foreign ministers gave Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat the prize he has been looking for. The Bush administration's support for the G8's call for international monitors is worse than the evenhandedness inherited from the previous administration -- it is a slap in the face for Israel's policy of restraint.

Punishment: The "arbitrary evenhandedness" that Secretary of State Colin Powell pledged to end not only continues unabated, but has been confounded by something much worse: a statement that punishes Israeli restraint by rewarding Palestinian violence. Arafat now has more reason to continue attacking Israel than at any point since his offensive began. Thanks to the Group of Eight, including the United States, Israel and the Palestinians are today another step closer to war.




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