Editorial Roundup: Excerpts from recent editorials

Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers around the world:

August 1

The Herald, Rock Hill, South Carolina, on HPV vaccination lagging:

In Afghanistan, the Taliban has murdered United Nations health workers attempting to administer the polio vaccine in rural villagers and has convinced villagers that the vaccine is a Western plot to infect Afghan children.

While U.S. health workers aren’t being gunned down, misguided, backward thinking also has prevented American families from taking full advantage of a vaccine that could prevent thousands of cases of cervical cancer each year.

Researchers believe that the Gardasil vaccine to block infection by the human papillomavirus could prevent up to 70 percent of all cervical cancers and 90 percent of genital warts. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week that immunization rates across the nation have stalled over the last year. …

HPVs are the most common cause of sexually transmitted infections. More than half of people who are sexually active become infected with one of the more than 40 types of HPV that are known to spread during vaginal, oral or anal sex, according to the National Cancer Institute.

The viruses are responsible for nearly all cases of cervical cancer and most cases of anal cancer. The viruses also cause more than half of the cancers in the middle part of the throat and about half of vaginal, vulvular and penile cancers.

But the vaccine can practically eliminate that risk, especially if it is administered to teens before they become sexually active so their bodies can develop immunity. Since 2006, the Advisory Committee on Immunization practices has recommended routine vaccination of adolescent girls ages 11 or 12.

The need to inoculate children against HPV remains no matter who pays for it. We shouldn’t let superstition, ignorance – or false economy – deter us from ensuring that as many as possible receive this lifesaving vaccine.



August 6

The Korea Herald, Seoul, South Korea, on Samsung and Apple should end patent war:

Will Samsung Electronics be able to turn the tables on Apple Inc. even after the U.S. government’s unexpected overruling of a sales ban on some older iPhone models in the American market?

That’s the question being raised as Samsung continues its legal battle against Apple. The world’s No. 1 smartphone maker disclosed Monday that it has submitted an appeal against a June ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission that Apple was not violating some of its patents.

In June, the ITC did rule that Apple infringed upon one Samsung patent and issued an order prohibiting the American tech giant from bringing in some of its devices manufactured in China. But the commission dismissed Samsung’s claim that Apple also violated three other Samsung patents.

Samsung has chosen to appeal the ITC decision to a U.S. federal court of appeals. If the court rules in favor of the Korean company, the ITC will have to go over the case.

Samsung’s announcement came following the U.S. Trade Representative’s surprise decision last week to veto the ITC’s import ban on Apple products from China.

The USTR said a product ban was inappropriate because the Samsung patent that Apple was accused of violating was a so-called FRAND patent.

FRAND stands for “fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory.” …

Samsung is seeking to bypass the USTR’s veto. The three other patents that it claims Apple has violated are non-FRAND patents. If the appeals court and then the ITC uphold Samsung’s claim, the USTR won’t be able to apply the logic it used to overrule the June ITC decision.

Samsung’s more immediate concern is the imminent ITC ruling on Apple’s complaints filed against its Korean rival. If the commission rules in Apple’s favor, Samsung will be prohibited from selling some of its older products in the U.S. But this is unlikely to deal a serious blow to Samsung.

The USTR’s intervention is widely seen as an unwarranted move aimed at protecting Apple. Yet it strongly suggests that it is time for the two tech powerhouses to stop their meaningless and highly costly patent war. It is increasingly clear that neither can emerge triumphant.




August 6

Kansas City Star on pressing forward on crucial Middle East peace talks:

A new round of Middle East peace talks begin this week with hope for success in short supply. And no wonder. The modern state of Israel is nearing age 70, and in all that time there has been no settlement of the vexing question of how Israel and a Palestinian neighbor state can coexist in peace.

Nor has there even been an agreement on how to create that Palestinian state and what the capitals of it and Israel should be. Both want Jerusalem.

Yet Secretary of State John F. Kerry deserves praise for ending a five-year freeze in talks even if almost no one imagines a final settlement can be reached in the nine months he has set as the goal. Israeli and Palestinian leaders also deserve praise for finding the courage to renew peace talks when so few hold out hope for success.

Perhaps this lack of hope signals what financial markets often call capitulation, meaning that against all odds the markets begin to rebound just when most investors give up. A weary world is near capitulation on the Middle East and could hardly have lower expectations for success in these negotiations.

Israelis and Palestinians need to work hard now to create a two-state solution so all people in the region can live out their dreams in peace and in a relationship built on mutual respect. …

Chief negotiators Saeb Erekat for the Palestinians and Tzipi Livni for the Israelis will need to focus on the future of Jerusalem and the current Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and the annexed East Jerusalem. A settlement may well hinge on whether both sides will be willing to share Jerusalem as a capital.

Continued tension in the Middle East because of the stateless Palestinians gives extremists around the world a rallying cry. A successful resolution to the conflict would be a gift to the world.




August 5

Arizona Republic on if Obama wants to help Arizona, he should look to Mexico:

President Obama: Welcome to Arizona. Now look south.

We mean Mexico. And we don’t mean problems.

The theme of Obama’s speech today is housing, and this is a perfect place to deliver it. The housing collapse is one of two big national issues that whacked our state harder than most.

The other is illegal immigration.

Obama will likely link the two, which could give a welcome boost to proposals for comprehensive immigration reform. A White House report says legalizing the current undocumented population would increase demand and help the housing market.

Comprehensive immigration reform is so important that the president should not miss this opportunity to give it a plug.

But there’s another opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.

The president should use this visit to Arizona to talk about revving up an economic engine that’s been quietly purring along for years: trade with Mexico.

This, too, has a direct connection with the housing market. Trade creates good jobs, and people with good jobs buy houses.

Mexico is the United States’ second largest export market and third biggest trading partner.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, trade between the United States and Mexico was up 7 percent last year over 2011. The total for goods was $494 billion in 2012, with another $39 billion in services.

Mexico is Arizona’s top trading partner. But Arizona is not unique. Mexico is the first or second most important export market for 21 U.S. states, according to a report issued this spring by the Border Research Partnership.

Mexico’s economy is growing at a healthy rate and its young population has a taste for American goods. Mexican shoppers spent $2.69 billion in Arizona in a one-year period straddling 2007-08, according to a study by the University of Arizona.

What’s more, as wages in China rise, Mexico is becoming more attractive to manufacturing. …

Obama is in the right place today to talk about one of the best kept secrets: trade with Mexico is a successful foundation on which to build increasing economic benefits for Arizona and the United States.

The president needs to tell us what’s good about sharing a border with Mexico.




August 5

The Guardian, London on Gibraltar:

As if there were already not enough going on around the Mediterranean, Gibraltar has raised its head again. The latest round of cross-border tension appears to have started in a row last year over fishing rights, when Spanish fishermen were expelled from Gibraltar’s waters for using large nets. Gibraltar’s answer to Spanish dragnet fishing was to dump blocks of concrete into the sea to create an artificial reef.

The issue of fishing rights reverts, as everything seems to in this dispute, to the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713. Spain does not recognize the existence of waters under Gibraltarian control, as it says those rights were not handed over when the colony was. There have been attempts – in the interim 300 years – to mediate the issue. Much of this pragmatism now appears to be in jeopardy.

From the moment Mariano Rajoy came to power, Madrid has adopted a harder line on Gibraltar, insisting on talks with David Cameron without the involvement of the Gibraltar authorities. Criticizing the conciliatory stance taken toward the British outpost by the previous socialist regime, the current foreign minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, appears intent on reversing everything his more able predecessors did.

Drivers have been forced to wait seven hours in the heat as Spain ramped up border checks. Claiming “the party is over”, Mr García-Margallo suggested in a newspaper interview that Spain was mulling imposing a fee on every vehicle entering or leaving the territory, closing its airspace to flights to Gibraltar and changing the laws so that online gambling companies operating from the colony would have to use Spanish servers. Gibraltar’s first minister, Fabian Picardo, accused Spain of acting like North Korea.

If other sovereignty disputes are anything to go by, little is to be gained by the reversion to the old politics of the dispute that the hawkish Spanish minister is suggesting. Sovereignty is a zero-sum game and is best side-stepped by the very agreements that Mr García-Margallo appears to be jeopardizing.




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