Why are we demonising Kyoto at the expense of everything else? asks Ian Dunlop in The Sydney Morning Herald.
“Climate change has always been with us, but
opinions remain divided as to whether the present changes are
human-induced or natural,” but the increasing scientific opinion lends
itself to the idea that humans have a big part to play in climate
change. Kyoto is flawed, but anything that wide ranging and detailed is
bound to be. “But it does not go far enough, for it was only intended
to be a
starting point,” because Australia and other countries acknowledge that
we need to reduce emissions by about 50% by 2050. There are smaller
initiatives that are desirable in their own right: “population
pressure, resource constraints and
pollution require us to rethink our way of life in the short term,
let alone the long term.”

“No large foreign corporation hoping to do
business in the Middle East, Asia or elsewhere for that matter can
easily escape the grubby side of doing business,” says The Canberra Times
– and “most shareholders would accept that this is a necessary cost of
doing business.” But the Cole inquiry has shown that AWB’s actions in
Iraq were the “business equivalent of playing with a loaded rifle.”
Howard and Downer may be aware the AWB “occasionally dirties its hands”
when selling wheat overseas, “but there will be no avoiding the
financial fallout from AWB’s blunder.” Iraq’s deputy PM Ahmad
Chalabi has already announced there will be no more Australian wheat
going into Iraq until AWB makes good on its bribes to Saddam.

Corporate fraud happens and it will happen again, says Henry T.C. Hu in the New York Times. Just as Eron’s Kenneth Lay prepares to go on trial
for his part in his company’s spectacular crash, we should remember that stopping fraud isn’t,
and shouldn’t, be the be-all-and-end-all. Sure, “shareholders want
management to take steps to deter fraud,” but they also want
corporations to determine “how much time and money to devote to fraud
control” that could be used to “engage in activities that may enhance
profits.” There are “real costs associated with forcing corporate
directors to spend too much time playing sentry,” and “concentrating
less on fraud control and more on overseeing management
may not only enhance corporate performance but can sometimes also
reduce fraud.”

“War with Iran is an idea so spectacularly flawed that even many of
those daft enough to believe that the occupation of Iraq could be
resolved successfully are against it,” says Martin Samuel in The Times.
War of any type, particularly within the Middle East, “has no limit.”
And “ridding Iran of nuclear weapons means opening a third front in the
war on terror, which is something that the US, or the world, would
probably not be able to handle. Instead, sanctions are the way forward:
cutting funding would hurt Iran and its nuclear program; while air
strikes would just hurt those on the ground. “There would be no
guarantee of success,” but North Korea has now become an “irrelevance
to the rest of the world,” and that’s all thanks to sanctions.

It’s time to end the state of the union address. “What began as a
yearly survey of the nation’s condition has
deteriorated into a frivolous moment of political theatre and
continuous campaigning, says Lewis L. Gould in The Washington Post. On
Tuesday night (US time) Bush will go to the podium to give an address
that “has evolved into a semi-imperial speech from the throne.” People
in Congress have better things to do with their time. “In a larger
sense, the emphasis on spectacle, soothing rhetoric and
crowd-pleasing initiatives over the past two decades has had another
more dangerous effect” – spin. “The State of the Union message has
become mind candy or mere partisan spin for both parties,” and should be
dropped, as soon as possible.

“The best way to see Iraq is to see it on television.” And until “ABC’s
Bob Woodruff was injured yesterday in Baghdad, it seemed safe to assume
that the second best way to see it was as a network television
correspondent,” says Lawrence F. Kaplan in The New Republic. Not
any more. And although it may be bloody scary to be a journalist in
Iraq, just think what it’s like for the soldiers on the ground, who
have no way home. And then you’re reminded that “however difficult it may be for the media to operate in Iraq – and that
observation will be repeated over and over in coming days – it is infinitely and
cruelly more so for the American soldiers and Iraqi civilians on whom every
journalist depends.”

Worth reading Highly recommended

Peter Fray

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