La Nacion, Buenos Aires, July 27: Iran just announced it will resume production of parts needed to assemble P-2 centrifuges used to make enriched uranium. This regrettable declaration has inspired distrust among European diplomats, who succeeded last year in having Iran suspend its work in this field, as part of an agreement governing Iran's controversial nuclear program.
Iran had decided to suspend its program and arrange close cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the worldwide organization that is charged with controlling this field. In reality, Iranian authorities, far from collaborating with the IAEA, suspiciously attempted to confuse its investigators. Iran continues to state that its plan is to cooperate with the IAEA. But the United States and other governments believe that, given certain characteristics of the nuclear program, that they cannot be sure the plan doesn't have some unstated final goal of turning Iran into a new nuclear power.
This is all very worrisome, and shows Iran's low international credibility. ... Satellite photos have detected the dismantling of nuclear production facilities northeast of Tehran. After the dismantlement, the land was leveled, with the clear of intention of covering up what had occurred. Iran sustains that it has nothing to hide. Still, Iran's recent announcements have failed to dispel the growing suspicions of the international community.
Berlingske Tidende, Copenhagen, July 27: The answer to the many kidnappings (in Iraq) could be to make use of chip technology.
Exposed people could, through a simple process, be equipped with a chip that makes it possible through satellite surveillance to track where a person is being held.
Having a tracking chip won't prevent terror actions or murders, which are aimed at creating an enviroment of total fear, but the technology could prevent terrorists from using abductions as a way to extort publicity and political influence they don't deserve.
In the joint effort to put terrorists on the defensive, it is necessary to remove their most efficient weapon, namely the chance to use a helpless hostage to garner televised publicity.
Implanting a tracking chip would make it impossible to hide a hostage and could eliminate hostage taking as a form of blackmail.
It's the worth the effort to at least try it.
The Japan Times, Tokyo, July 28: The government's economic and fiscal report for 2004 deserves attention for two reasons. First, it focuses on the regional economy, a subject that has been more or less overlooked in the past. Second, it deals with economic globalization, a trend that conflicts with regional economic development.
The recovery is characterized as the most robust since the bubble economy collapsed in 1991. Yet, economic growth in local regions, home to agriculture and small business, is lagging behind that in the three largest urban regions where big business is concentrated.
The central authority should do its utmost to help promote regional development. In this regard, an economic white paper has its task cut out for it: making an in-depth analysis of the hows and whys of regional stagnation. By so doing it can make effective and specific proposals for reviving the regional economy.
The report's second feature -- the focus on globalization -- is worth noting, especially at a time when Japanese agriculture faces mounting pressure for import liberalization.
Although export possibilities are extremely limited at present, a number of products are already making a splash. Sales of apples and strawberries, for example, have jumped three to eight times in the past three years, in spite of their relatively high prices. Why? Because they are more attractive to consumers in other essential aspects, such as safety, taste and appearance.
In fact, consumers around the world now put a higher premium on health and safety factors. For producers, this means, among other things, using less chemical fertilizers and more organic ones. In other words, the competitiveness of agricultural products depends increasingly on nonprice factors.
Japan lags behind in the international drive for free trade agreements, or FTAs. Global trade-liberalization talks under the World Trade Organization have not made much headway, either. In both cases, agriculture is the main obstacle.