The Times, London, Jan. 9: The manner in which George Carey let his retirement as Archbishop of Canterbury be known was an accurate reflection of his tenure. His statement was brief, simple, dignified and he deliberately resisted the temptation to put his own stamp on his era. It will be said by some that Dr. Carey was an almost accidental incumbent who, while a decent soul, was not a charismatic figure. This understates his performance and underestimates the extraordinary difficulties that he inherited.
Vindication: The Church of England ended the 1980s faced with an identity crisis. It fell to Dr. Carey to restore diplomatic relations between state and church and to seek to manage change within the Anglican community without prompting a serious schism. The strategy adopted by the archbishop has been largely vindicated by events. His own instincts on women priests -- a firm but moderate preference for reform -- met the approval of most Anglicans. His personal style helped to smooth the transition. The seemingly relentless fall in the numbers attending church in England has begun to be arrested, while Anglicanism overseas, especially in Africa, has expanded vigorously.
Yomiuri Shimbun, Tokyo, Jan. 9: Japan has maintained close relations with the founding members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations -- the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.
The international political landscape has been undergoing great changes since the terrorist attack on the United States on Sept. 11, as shown by a newly formed antiterrorism alliance among three military powers -- the United States, Russia and China.
In this sense, it is a critically important task for Japan to shore up its relationship with Southeast Asian nations in mapping out a diplomatic strategy. The significance of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's ASEAN tour lies in this.
Regional peace: Japan should take the lead in working to ensure regional peace and prosperity as an Asian leader. To accomplish this goal, this country must further increase its cooperative ties with the ASEAN countries in security, economic and other areas, while also basing its diplomatic strategy on its alliance with the United States.
Al-Akhbar, Cairo, Jan. 8: It is clear for everyone the aims behind this fabricated fuss which is propagated by the government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the butcher, with the participation of Israel's military chief Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz on seizing a ship in the Red Sea waters carrying weapons allegedly destined for the Palestinian Authority.
It is not a coincidence that the announcement of the act of piracy, carried out by the Israeli navy, takes place as the American envoy Anthony Zinni arrives in the Middle East to cool off the tense situation resulted from the continued barbaric Israeli aggression against the Palestinians.
What Sharon does, to impede the application of all Middle East peace agreements, has become known especially that he unhides his criminal aggressive anti-peace strategy based on expansion and settlement citing Israel's security as a justification.
Naked pretext: The tale of the arms' ship is but a naked pretext to abort Zinni's mission which gained momentum due to the Palestinian Authority's success in controlling a cease-fire by all Palestinian factions.
Expressen, Stockholm, Jan. 7: After the November elections, the U.S. Congress may very well be dominated by Democrats. This would do both the world and the United States good. The Democrats in every way hold a more up-to-date and modern view of the domestic and international roles of the American state. President George W. Bush has merits when it comes to issues as education and immigration and he did manage last fall's crisis very well.
One-sided ideology: But his blunt Texan ideology is and remains too one-sided for such a complex and very important country as the United States His party ended up in a political meltdown during the Clinton years and has not yet found its way back to reality. Make the process short.
The Independent, London, Jan. 9: The news from Zimbabwe only gets worse. When the parliament convenes again today, a clampdown on the media will top the agenda. A new bill threatens jail sentences for reporters who publish news "likely to cause alarm and despondency" (i.e. the truth about Robert Mugabe's regime). President Mugabe has tried to portray all critics of his regime as tools of the old colonial powers. In reality, the embattled opposition provides a reminder that civil society has not been cowed.
Fear: The presidential elections are due in March. Morgan Tsvangirai, whose Movement for Democratic Change came close to ousting Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party in elections in June 2000, is now challenging the 77-year-old Mr. Mugabe as president. The climate of fear and violence means that Mr. Tsvangirai and the MDC still face a difficult task to wrest power. There are glimmers of good news.
Thus, despite Mr. Mugabe's best efforts, some judges have retained their independence. The odds are still, to put it mildly, stacked against Mr. Tsvangirai and the opposition. There can be no surprise about Mr. Mugabe's attempts to link the democrats with the old racists.