OPINION

Our world in 24 pages

Let’s look at a snapshot of our world as seen in last Thursday’s International Herald Tribune and Kathimerini English Edition. The main story in the IHT concerns a World Trade Organization report which appears to confirm European Union claims that the United States has provided unfair assistance to Boeing, at the expense of Europe’s Airbus. It’s difficult even for the world’s most advanced economies to abide by international trade regulations when these ruin their companies (or farmers). The main photo, of Hungarian miners, is part of a long investigation into how Europe’s need to develop sustainable sources of energy is destroying some societies. On Page 2, an analysis on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s triumph in a referendum in Turkey notes that, instead of nursing its wounds, the secular opposition party founded by Kemal Ataturk should modernize and find a message that will attract voters. An analysis of Tuesday’s primaries in the United States makes the point that successful campaigns by populist outsiders backed by the Tea Party are undermining the Republican Party’s efforts to gain the Senate majority in November, on the basis that these candidates are «unelectable.» (It’s interesting to see that small, activist groups are using new technologies to gain influence at the expense of official, organized parties. Logically, the ensuing chaos will again favor organizations with a strategy – political parties.) A poll on both sides of the Atlantic finds that 78 percent of Europeans have a positive opinion of Barack Obama, down from 83 percent but still way better than what he gets at home. Europeans, however, have doubts about US policy in Iraq and Afghanistan. On Page 3, Nicolas Sarkozy’s social security reform package is approved by the lower house, raising the retirement age from 60 to 62. (If the French are so upset by this, imagine what they would do with Greece’s reforms.) The French president, though, is in the news for much more: At the EU summit in Brussels on Thursday he comes under fire for the policy of repatriating Roma to other member states. The summit was aimed at finding ways to give the EU a stronger voice, one that would reflect its economic power and its 500 million citizens. Instead, there’s a loud family dispute. In the Middle East, peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians go on, as rockets and mortars fly between Gaza and southern Israel. In Health-Science, new studies on hybrids (and discoveries of past hybridizations, such as the fact that modern humans share 99.84 percent of their DNA with long-gone Neanderthals) suggest not only that the chasm between species can be bridged but also that it can lead to wondrous results. On the opinion pages, there’s a call for the US Senate to ratify a new agreement with Russia on nuclear arms and concerns over possible overfishing of krill in the Antarctic. A Mexican writer, on the 200th anniversary of his country’s independence, laments the fact that whereas the revolutions of 1810 and 1910 had noble causes, Mexico is now a battleground for warring narcotics barons. In the sports section, with a photograph from Panathinaikos’s 5-1 loss in Barcelona, there’s a piece on South American players’ success in Europe’s Champions League. In Business, German prosecutors are investigating whether Deutsche Telekom bribed officials in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. In China, courts heard 295,000 cases concerning labor law in 2008; the 95 percent increase over the previous year shows how much China is changing. In Kathimerini’s English Edition, we read that the International Monetary Fund is planning to place two of its own experts in the Finance Ministry, to help things along; truck owners continue to protest at the opening up of their closed-shop profession; restaurant and bar owners complain that the smoking ban is costing them customers; the parliamentary probe into the Siemens bribery scandal continues; there is an increase of race-related violence in the Athens district of Aghios Panteleimonas; Greece is preparing to call on the help of its diaspora through the issue of a special bond loan. The world is changing. No one has the answers to major problems. The Greeks are fighting to survive, without looking backward or forward. We seem trapped on the same page, day after day.