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GREAT BRITAIN



Published: Mon, August 1, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



GREAT BRITAIN

Daily Telegraph, London:Be careful what you wish for, Charles Schumer. He is the Democratic senator who has been jumping up and down, accusing the Chinese of foul and unnatural practices and of flooding the world with cheap goods.

Mr. Schumer did not like the fact that for 10 years the Chinese had fixed their currency at a low rate to the US dollar.

Now he has withdrawn his bill and the Chinese have obligingly dismantled the currency peg. The yuan now tracks a basket of currencies. As a result, it has risen by two per cent.

Freeing up foreign exchange has an important political effect: for the first time, Chinese citizens can enjoy one of the most fundamental rights of all: the right to leave, taking their assets with them. This is the ultimate sanction individuals hold over any state. And the signs are that some are doing just that, as Chinese businesses start to prowl around looking for Western investments, such as Rover, or American coal companies.

If the Asian central banks, by dumping their holdings of US Treasuries, do not now drive up long-term interest rates, then a steady increase in the price of Chinese exports, pushing up inflation in the West, could do so.

INDIA

The Hindu, Madras: A large group of countries led by Japan has again failed in its campaign to pressure the International Whaling Commission (IWC) into lifting the 19-year-old ban on hunting whales for commerce. However, the victory for the anti-whaling countries in the 66-member body at the recent annual meeting in Ulsan, South Korea is far from emphatic: the ban was retained by a wafer-thin margin of six votes. Japan is an aggressive whaling power that opposes ocean sanctuaries and kills whales ostensibly to advance science

The IWC has been subject to intense reactionary lobbying but with support from several enlightened governments and public opinion round the world, it has been striving to strengthen its conservation credentials. Australia and New Zealand, which have displayed commendable concern for conservation, demand fundamental reform at the IWC to strengthen ethics. Their worry, shared by other protection-minded countries, is heightened by Japan's announcement, after losing the vote at Ulsan, that it would issue more scientific permits for killing minke, humpback, and fin whales. The IWC must work hard to put in place a complete ban in perpetuity.

KENYA

Daily Nation, Nairobi: The jury is in, and the verdict is that Harambee Stars will play their next home World Cup qualifier against Tunisia in an empty stadium.

Fifa, soccer's world governing body, meted out this punishment as penalty for the stampede during a match between Kenya and Morocco in which a teenager died.

It is for this reason that the Fifa disciplinary committee ordered Kenya to play their next home qualifier without fans from either side, and also fined the Kenya Football Federation Ksh. 1.5 million (U.S., $19,737).

This sanction comes less than a month after the government ordered an inquiry into the incident.

The Fifa penalty should serve as a wake-up call to the government to look at the safety issues that organizers of public events face everyday.

National sports associations organizing public events must be accountable should there be a breakdown of law and order.

EGYPT

The Egyptian Gazette, Cairo: A key aim on the agenda of those behind the devastating attacks in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheik was to undermine the thriving tourism. The industry, a major foreign currency earner, pumped over US $6 billion into the national economy.

Arab holidaymakers, disappointed at perceived anti-Muslim sentiment in the West, shifted their sights to Egypt as an alternative destination. Over the past few months, there has been a noticeable rise in tourist arrivals in the country.

Egypt's tourism is set to feel the pinch. Hence, the importance of working out a contingency plan to help the vital industry weather the storm. Egyptian tourism overcame in the past local and regional crises. It showed its resilience in the aftermath of slaying of 58 foreign tourists in an attack in the southern city of Luxor. Over the past five years, the hardy industry has flourished despite Palestinian-Israeli tensions.

Prescription for recovery should include, among other things, massive publicity worldwide that despite everything, Egypt remains a safe and unique destination. Terrorism has become a global threat, which, however, should not be allowed to besiege people of the world.




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