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Press review | 04/08/2015

 

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Obama announces climate protection measures

A number of US states and the coal industry have already announced massive opposition to Obama's climate plans. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

 

US President Barack Obama has announced plans for US power stations to cut their emissions by 2030 by roughly one third on 2005 figures. Obama's revolutionary initiative is giving the upcoming climate conference in Paris a boost, some commentators write. Others fear that the project could cost thousands of jobs.

The Daily Telegraph - United Kingdom

Climate protection not at any cost

Obama's plan will cost too many jobs in the coal industry and simply shift the problem of harmful emissions to other parts of the world, critcises the conservative Daily Telegraph: "Avoiding the depletion of the world's finite carbon resources and reducing pollution are praiseworthy ambitions, though not at any price. A plan costing hundreds of thousands of jobs (and the coal industry is still huge in parts of America) without being balanced by the employment potential of renewable energy should be a non-starter. The ready exploitation of shale gas in America has already undercut the price of coal, much of which is being dumped on the world market and being burned elsewhere. This won't save the planet even if it helps meet the US carbon emissions target." (03/08/2015)

Le Temps - Switzerland

Climate plan could fail for lack of time

Obama simply won't have the time to push through his ambitious climate plan, the liberal daily Le Temps concludes: "Now that Obama's presidency is coming to an end he can afford to provoke his opponents more. This goes for his efforts to impose limits on greenhouse gases as well as the talks with Iran and Cuba. But his most recent initiative has a major flaw: he faces a tough battle against his Republican opponents because they have already said they will wage guerrilla war against his project in the courts. And the president now lacks one of the most vital ingredients for success: time. If his camp loses the next race for the White House his crusade will end up being nothing but a show." (04/08/2015)

Trouw - Netherlands

Obama's CO2 plans are a revolution

Obama's plans could be a breakthrough for global climate protection, believes the Christian daily Trouw: "His promise to reduce CO2 emissions by 32 percent within 15 years is ambitious. If Obama pulls this off, it might not put the US in the lead but at the very least it would put it on a par with Europe in one fell swoop. ... Politically speaking, for the US to catch up is a revolution. ... The most important thing here is what this means for the global climate debate. It was because the US categorically refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol that many other countries could remain passive. Perhaps internationally the goals will at last be more ambitious now. Obama's plan is well thought out and its contents look far more promising than China's vague promises." (04/08/2015)

La Repubblica - Italy

Tailwind for Paris climate conference

President Barack Obama's initiative is lending new importance to the international Climate Change Conference in Paris, writes the centre-left daily La Repubblica delightedly: "Like (almost) all presidents in their second term of office Obama is concerned with his political legacy. In the first four years he gave the US a healthcare reform that had seemed virtually impossible. … Now he wants to make climate protection his second legacy, and that alone sends a strong political message. With his national fight against climate change Obama is undoubtedly making global climate protection his cause, and with it the Paris conference. The choice of words in Obama's announcement also highlights his determination to adopt a leading role in global climate initiatives. Obama's own historical success or failure will depend on the success of the Paris conference. This is an unforeseen development." (04/08/2015)

POLITICS

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T24 - Turkey

Turkish miliary operations strenghten PKK

The Turkish military on Monday resumed its bombing of PKK targets in northern Iraq. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's war strategy will only put more wind in the sails of the Kurdish movement, which has grown in strength in recent years, believes the liberal online paper T24: "The cliché that the PKK is a terrorist organisation is not helping to solve the Kurdish problem, but only making it more intractable. The PKK and the Kurds have become inseparable, you cannot draw a line between them. Every bomb dropped into the mountains returns back to the cities like a boomerang in support of the PKK. You cannot even put up a wall between the [pro-Kurdish] HDP party and the PKK. Öcalan is a legend for the Kurds. For the PKK he is a leader and the same pretty much goes for the HDP. Of course there are differences of opinion in the sensitive balance between these three centres. But anyone who believed they could profit from their differences and weaken and divide the Kurdish movement has only been disappointed so far." (04/08/2015)

Lidové noviny - Czech Republic

Czech Republic closes itself off again

In view of its demographic problems the Czech Republic is shooting itself in the foot by taking such a rigid stance on refugees, warns the conservative daily Lidové noviny: "We are scared of terrorists, of imported diseases and of a culture which does not fit with our own. These often irrational fears create racist reactions. And they prevent the successful integration of those who will be sorely missed in the labor market and pension system tomorrow. Germany, a country which also needs to boost its workforce, behaves differently. This year it has already taken in 300,000 asylum seekers. The Czech Republic is stubbornly refusing to take in more than 1,500. … Czech society has opened itself to the world little by little over the last 25 years. But now it is closing itself off tightly again, unlike its neighbours in the West. In ten years' time we will know which was the successful concept." (04/08/2015)

Gazeta Wyborcza - Poland

Moscow pressuring Kiev with shadow cabinet

The Ukrainian ex-prime minister Mykola Azarov on Monday presented a form of shadow cabinet under the name "Committee for saving Ukraine". This is another ploy by the Kremlin in its war against the country, the liberal daily Gazeta Wyborcza suspects: "It's clear that the gentlemen who met in Moscow have no chance right now of regaining power in Kiev. Unless they do so with the aid of Russian tanks, that is. But that's not very likely. Perhaps the initiative is a sign that Russia has run out of ideas when it comes to Ukraine. But the most likely scenario is that the Kremlin is resuming its war against Ukraine using different means and methods." (03/08/2015)

ABC - Spain

Mas dividing Catalan society

Catalonia's First Minister Arturo Mas on Monday announced the dissolution of the regional parliament and new elections for September 27. Mas has said that if his separatist party alliance wins the elections Catalonia will proclaim independence from Spain within eight months. The conservative daily ABC calls him irresponsible: "The Catalans have not been governed in the way that historical and economic circumstances would have dictated. They have been used like pawns in a project of separatism and divisiveness which has not succeeded and will not succeed in dividing Spain, but has divided Catalan society and left the current nationalist coalition in tatters. … Once again Mas is confusing his dreams with reality. In so doing he is complicating the lives of the Catalans, forcing them to vote for a fiction and exposing them to a new phase of conflict and uncertainty." (04/08/2015)

Evenimentul Zilei - Romania

Romania's shameless PMs

Romania's President, Prime Minister and other high-ranking officials received a pay rise on August 1. Their net monthly salary increased from approximately 1,500 euros to around 3,500 euros. Now the MPs are demanding higher pay too. The daily Evenimentul Zilei says their demands are outrageous: "The number of parliamentarians who are under investigation or have already been convicted is unprecedented. … How shameless can they be to demand more money after all that's happened? And it's not just their shameful 'achievements' that show how unabashed they are. … There is another indicator: the economy. Any salary increase in the public sector must be in line with the country's economic performance and not the salaries of state employees in other countries. … In view of the figures from Romania's private sector we should really be asking whether the current parliamentarian salaries are too high rather than too low." (04/08/2015)

REFLECTIONS

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MediaPart - France

Christian Salmon on the EU's monstrous transformation

In the course of the Greek crisis the EU has transformed into a dictatorial monster, criticises author Christian Salmon in the centre-left online paper Mediapart: "The European construct, which for years has wrapped itself in its peaceful objectives, postwar 'humanism' and the values of freedom and democracy, has behaved throughout the Greek crisis like a blind, freedom-hating monster, driven by a lust for irrational, self-destructive power. Far from their democratic descriptions the institutions of the European Union have shown themselves to be 'dictatorial'. The European construct, which hitherto seemed toothless and immature, can only be regarded as aggressive and hegemonial. It is not Greece that has been humiliated but the idea of a mutually supportive and democratic Europe. That the European Union treats its member states as an empire would a subjugated vassal state, is no longer a secret." (03/08/2015)

Zeit Online - Germany

Theo Sommer calls for new Africa policy in refugee crisis

Journalist Theo Sommer calls for a rethink of European refugee and Africa policy in view of a recent UN world population report which predicts that the population of Africa will have almost quadrupled by 2100. Tracker dogs and barbed wire cannot be the solution, he explains on the liberal news website Zeit Online: "Instead Europe must get a grip and finally put together a unified, effective, human and socially acceptable refugee policy. And it must do some hard and fast thinking about how to counteract the unstoppable rise in the migratory pressure from Africa in the coming decades. … We will have to open our gates somewhat to allow in people fleeing from war and civil war, poverty and environmental destruction, the terror of ethnic and religious conflict and the suffering of empty stomachs. … What we need is an Africa policy which uses development policy in a far more targeted way than has been the case so far. We cannot simply stand by and leave sub-Saharan Africa to the Chinese, we cannot confine ourselves to training African soldiers, as in Mali. We must also keep an eye on refugee streams, improve border security and promote economic development to combat terror and criminality." (04/08/2015)

ECONOMY

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Público - Portugal

Athens' stock market crash was predictable

On the first day of trading after a forced five-week closure the Athens stock exchange plunged dramatically on Monday. The main Greek share index dipped by as much as 22.9 percent at one point. The liberal daily Público is not surprised: "The Athens stock exchange is already preparing for new economic forecasts which foresee a further 4 percent drop in the GDP this year. … Investors' reactions are catastrophic, but in view of the straitjacketing of the Greek economy completely understandable. The Greece of yesterday's stock-exchange crash is not the Greece of five weeks ago. The country is deadlocked in a hopeless situation - for which it is itself partly to blame but into which it was also manoeuvred by its creditors. The stock exchange crash is only the most obvious symptom of this spiral of recessions." (03/08/2015)

SOCIETY

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24 Chasa - Bulgaria

Keep an eye on Bulgaria's corrupt police

Bulgaria's traffic police have withdrawn a recently introduced regulation stipulating that all traffic controls should take place under video surveillance, saying that it didn't have enough money to equip its patrol cars with cameras. This is just a lame excuse, criticises journalist Blaga Georgieva in the daily 24 Chasa: "In the age of technology the police can't seriously claim they can't afford a few hundred cameras. … No one is saying that the cameras alone will stamp out corruption, but they would certainly stop at least two-thirds of police in uniform from risking losing their job or ending up behind bars for the sake of 20 leva [roughly ten euros]. I am convinced that within just a few months the money invested in the surveillance technology would flow back into the state budget in the form of fines that no longer disappear into the pockets of bent policemen." (03/08/2015)

SPORT

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The Independent - United Kingdom

Anti-doping officials in grand-scale fail

Blood tests on dozens of light athletics Olympic and world champions of the past 15 years indicate doping, yet nothing has been done about it, according to research conducted by ARD and The Sunday Times published on Sunday. The centre-left daily The Independent decries the failure of the institutions responsible: "The time has come for the public to learn the reasons for this official inertia on a grand scale. The obvious answer is an independent review of these cases and the events they covered, a line-by-line, race-by-race event-by-event investigation into each and every medal won in such circumstances. That is only fair for the public and the 'losers', if such they were." (02/08/2015)

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