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EGYPT



Published: Mon, April 25, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



EGYPT

Egyptian Gazette, Cairo, April 19: Last week, Egyptian public opinion was deeply perplexed by the Al-Azhar incident that cost three tourists their lives, as well as the attacker himself, Bashandi.

The perplexity was the fruit of officials' applying their habitual policy of minimizing tragedies and saying that the incident was individual and there is no chance of its recurrence.

The Ministry of Interior excluded the possibility of aiding and abetting, dismissing the idea that the criminal belonged to a religious group or had any links with al-Jihad or its philosophy.

Jihad thoughts

Eleven days after the explosion, we read in the morning newspapers that the criminal, Bashandi, was part of a group who adopted jihad thoughts. They were a group of four, one of them wearing a beard, and Bashandi was lured into the group by the other three.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Interior statement ... contradicted all its previous ones, claiming that the incident was a suicide attack.

JAPAN

Asahi Shimbun, Tokyo, April 18: Sunday's talks in Beijing between Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura and his Chinese counterpart, Li Zhaoxing, failed to bridge the widening gulf of mistrust between the two countries.

As China shifted to a market economy, the Communist Party raised the banner of economic development and nationalism as the new national credo to replace socialist ideology.

Part of the preamble to the implementation guidance for patriotic education announced in 1994 by the party says patriotism is the banner to mobilize, inspire and unite the people and a common pillar for the people.

Nationalism

The Chinese government seems to be bound by its own campaign to spur a new sense of nationalism, and thus finds it difficult to denounce the destructive acts by anti-Japanese demonstrations or offer an apology to Japan for them.

ITALY

Corriere della Sera, Milan, Apr. 20: The Church is relying on a 78-year-old man with the face of a child, a shy person with a great energy and culture. He will be a loved and feared Pope, intellectual but with a shepherd's ways. It never happened that a Pope made his speech to the world 24 hours before his election, during the Conclave's opening mass. In those words addressed to the other cardinals, there is a real pontificate's program, that can be summarized as "Truth and charity."

Humble sweetness

In the wake of his predecessor, (he will continue) with the humble sweetness of his gestures and with severity. But he will run the Church with great determination and many surprises. He promised a reform of the Church.

He will be loved, for his limpid way of dealing, for his cherub eyes, for the intellectual beauty of his language. He's able to talk to people.

BRITAIN

Daily Telegraph, London, April 20: Michael Howard's Tory critics are right when they say that he should stop banging on about immigration and asylum-seekers, and move on to the meatier, everyday issues that divide the two main parties.

The Conservative leader has made the point bravely and well that Britain should be more choosy about which foreign nationals should be allowed to live and work here, and which should be excluded or sent back where they came from. Everybody now knows where he stands on the subject.

Some voters will agree with him, others will say that he is wrong. Nearly half-way through the election campaign, very few in either camp are likely to switch sides on this issue, no matter how much more may be said about it on the hustings.

Right move

What a relief it was yesterday, therefore, when Mr. Howard promised to scrap Labour's plans to revalue every house in England for council-tax purposes -- plans that threaten to land millions of households with bills that they cannot afford, simply because the notional prices of their homes have gone up. This is exactly the sort of policy Conservatives should concentrate on.




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