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US launch airstrikes against IS in Syria

According to the Washington Post , the allies are planning attacks on 20 IS targets. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

 

The US started carrying out airstrikes on IS locations in Northern Syria on Monday night. According to US media, five Arab states are also taking part in the mission. Finally the international community is taking action, some commentators write approvingly. Others warn that religious tolerance and more willingness to take in refugees would be a better response to the IS.

Göteborgs-Posten - Sweden

The world is finally taking action

Military force is imperative now to put a stop to the IS militias, the liberal daily Göteborgs-Posten contends: "As long as the United Nations remains incapable of acting the US and EU must intervene without a UN mandate, if possible in cooperation with Nato member Turkey, Egypt, Iraq and other Arab countries and Iran. The US has opened the door a crack for its arch-enemy [Iran] and an agreement no longer seems entirely out of the question. In this way old foes become new allies. But military force is necessary to defeat the IS and depose Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. The international community can no longer look on impassively while the IS warriors drive away or kill all those who don't share their extreme interpretation of Islam. And it can no longer allow Syria to sink further and further into an endless civil war." (23/09/2014)

Actualno.com - Bulgaria

Defeat IS through religious tolerance

The terrorist IS can't be beaten with bombs alone, the news portal Actualno.com warns: "The 'Islamic State' is mainly viewed as a military threat and a security problem, while its ideological aspects are largely ignored. ... The core of the terrorist militia, however, is its ideology based on an extremist interpretation of Islam. ... Bombs are not the right means for countering this ideology. Far more efficient would be to develop a consensus on religious freedom. As long as America's allies [in the Middle East] don't stop using religious exclusion as a means of cementing power and control in their own countries, and as long as they refuse to promote religious tolerance among their own citizens they will be part of the problem in the fight against the IS, rather than part of the solution." (22/09/2014)

The Independent - United Kingdom

Offer asylum instead of bombing IS

The terrorist IS militia is now being bombarded but no one has a plan for what to do with the refugees from Syria, Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International, criticises in the left-liberal daily The Independent: "Syria is facing the world's biggest humanitarian crisis, and its neighbouring countries can't manage on their own. Around the world, despite the politicians' promises, the response has been woeful. EU countries have taken less than one percent of Syria's refugees, the UK has resettled a grand total of 51 people. As I left Lebanon a government adviser said to me 'Don't tell us to keep our borders open, while you close yours'. It's a remark that ought to be reverberating around Downing Street as the generals explain to David Cameron how they're going to 'destroy' Syria's Isis fighters." (22/09/2014)

Yeni Şafak - Turkey

Turkey left on its own with refugees

In view of the roughly 100,000 refugees that have flooded into Turkey in recent days, the pro-government daily Yeni Şafak finds the accusations that Ankara is doing nothing and too close to the IS absurd: "The UN has declared that the number of refugees could rise to one million. Even those who don't want to look the truth in the face must admit that Turkey is the only country with open borders, and will thus be forced to bear the burder of the flood of refugees. ... Turkey has taken in over a million Syrian war refugees, and has [already] been left in the lurch by the international organisations, the US and the EU. Its proposal to set up a security fund for the refugees was rejected, and the West has left the Syrians to their fate. ... Without changing its policy, which ensures that the atrocities continue, the US now wants to attack the IS and is inviting Turkey to join in the fun." (23/09/2014)

POLITICS

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Die Presse - Austria

Germany has no business criticising France

Several politicians of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party used the occasion of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls' visit to Berlin on Monday to voice harsh criticism of France's domestic policy. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, did not join in. And for good reason, the liberal-conservative daily Die Presse argues: "Now that Berlin's self-confidence is greater than ever, it must be pointed out that a few years after reunification Germany was considered a problem in terms of its economic policy. And we must also remember who held out a conciliatory hand to the loser after the war, with the aim of unifying Europe. It was France. Germany and France were always opposite poles which, until a few years ago, guaranteed the balanced development of the EU, from which admittedly they benefited most. Paris must now get a grip on its problems not just for its own sake, but to ensure a credible future for the EU. And Germany would be well advised to be helpful rather than self-righteous in supporting its partner." (23/09/2014)

El País - Spain

Sarkozy copying Berlusconi's tactics

French ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy's announced comeback reminds the left-liberal daily El País of Italian ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's opportunistic manoeuvrings: "It's clear that France and the rest of Europe are concerned about the high level of support for right-wing extremists in the polls. But Sarkozy's return to active politics raises the suspicion that he is taking the bull by the horns in order to avoid other problems. ... The ex-president is facing a whole series of lawsuits for suspected offences ranging from influence peddling to illegal party financing to having accepted help from the deposed Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi in becoming president for the first time in 2007. Neither Sarkozy's posing as saviour of the nation nor the legal circumstances surrounding his comeback are original. Berlusconi has done it all before in Italy." (23/09/2014)

Eesti Päevaleht - Estonia

Even Russian peaceniks support Putin

Several thousand people demonstrated for peace in Ukraine and against the policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Sunday. But even if many Russians are against the war popular support for Putin remains high, the liberal daily Eesti Päevaleht points out: "Yes, clearly many Russians still support the military intervention in Ukraine. And at 86 percent, Vladimir Putin's popularity remains high, despite the aggression in Ukraine. Nevertheless the belligerent attitude among Russians seems to be waning. ... Of course one can ask: if you don't want a war, why do you support the warmonger Putin? And there too there's a simple answer: according to the official state rhetoric Russia is not at war with Ukraine. And those people who are against war don't consider this war a reality, but a possibility." (23/09/2014)

Deutsche Welle - Romania

Romania's poor imitation of US campaigns

On his 42nd birthday on Saturday Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta celebrated his candidacy for the presidential elections in November in the company of 70,000 supporters. According to his social democratic party the event was modelled on US election campaigns. However the Romanian service of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle detects certain differences: "The supporters ferried in on buses brought to mind an intimidated, submissive collective. ... Here in Romania the public knows deep down that it is following a power that is better not to disobey. By contrast American party supporters know that they themselves are the power. Here people hope that participating will secure them little advantages in the near future, while the Americans live in the moment, in the here and now. In the US the fans mourn when the election campaign is over. Here we are delighted to be able to return to our private spheres once more." (23/09/2014)

REFLECTIONS

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La Repubblica - Italy

Luciano Gallino says EU has become a dictatorship

The EU has become a dictatorship that imposes nonsensical reforms on its member states, Luciano Gallino rails in the left-liberal daily La Repubblica. Homing in on Rome's plans to ease employment protection legislation the sociologist writes: "A few dozen people decide which powers we keep and which we don't. Six or seven of the just under 30 EU commissioners, the members of the European Council (two dozen heads of state and government), the members of the ECB's governing board and the heads of the IMF. Clearly the EU has ceased to be a democracy and increasingly resembles a dictatorship. ... But the disempowerment of the individual states is not, as the European institutions claim, justified by the need to fight the financial crisis. Especially since the super technocrats of the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF have turned out to be amateurs. ... The true goal is not to combat the crisis; the 'reform' of the labour market, which could just as well have been drawn up in Brussels, is clear proof of this. ... The goal is to subject the member states to the 'discipline' of the markets. ... And the true enemy of the EU institutions is the social welfare state and the principle it is based on: democracy." (23/09/2014)

ECONOMY

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Hospodářské noviny - Czech Republic

TTIP gives Europe more than chlorine chickens

The negotiations for the TTIP free trade agreement between the EU and the US are failing to make progress because above all the Europeans still haven't grasped its advantages, the liberal daily Hospodářské noviny complains: "One could laugh at the hysterical claims that the European market will be flooded with chlorine-saturated chickens or genetically engineered foodstuffs. But this demagogy, combined with anti-Americanism, is gaining sway. Yet the facts are clear. European and US companies both stand to gain from the free-trade zone: it could create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and prices would drop. ... However the agreement also has a political dimension of which its opponents are very much aware. Regardless of the current crisis in Ukraine, the US's focus is turning to the Pacific region. ... For Europe the top priority is to retain the US's interest in preserving Europe's stability and security." (23/09/2014)

La Croix - France

Air France strike unreasonable and detrimental

In the last few days 60 percent of Air France's flights have been cancelled due to a pilots' strike that started on September 15 in protest at plans to develop the airline's low-cost subsidiary Transavia. But the company has no alternative but to move into the low-cost sector, the Catholic daily La Croix argues: "This is a spectacular social conflict of the kind France is unfortunately faced with all too often, especially at Air France. Air France-KLM is a large European airline, but it remains in a poor state of health. With low-cost companies and the competition from Asia hot on its heels, the French airline must focus on developing Transavia if it wants to put its finances in order. Over the last few years, the company has downsized its staff. These layoffs were economically necessary but socially painful. But by destabilising the company and undermining the image of French aviation, the current trial of strength risks negative consequences for all the employees." (23/09/2014)

Tvxs - Greece

Merkel doesn't want to save Samaras

Greece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will meet Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel today in Berlin to discuss Greece's economic situation. Samaras is expected to say that further cuts are politically infeasible. The left-leaning web portal Tvxs doesn't believe he can convince Merkel, and that this could seal his fate on the domestic front: "The magazine Der Spiegel has described the chancellor's displeasure at the meagre results of the [troika's] controls in fighting tax evasion. Merkel will no doubt demand more from Greece, instead of helping it as the latter expects it to do. ... [Greek] ministers and members of parliament understand that you can't expect miracles, and this increases the pressure they are under. Because current surveys confirm the substantial lead of [the left-wing alliance Syriza over the governing parties. And it seems that lead is here to stay." (22/09/2014)

SOCIETY

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Süddeutsche Zeitung - Germany

German army too slow in fight against Ebola

The German army, or Bundeswehr, plans to contribute to the fight against Ebola in Western Africa by supplying airlifts and building a military hospital. Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen stressed on Monday that volunteers - above all doctors, nurses, technicians and logicians - are being sought from within the army's ranks. Her appeal makes it clear that Germany is promising more humanitarian aid than it is willing to deliver, the left-liberal daily Süddeutsche Zeitung criticises: "Although the epidemic has been raging for months, it looks as if Germany is having trouble gathering enough people and resources to help the effected areas. By the looks of it we have no plans and are unprepared for such a humanitarian mission. And that's the Bundeswehr, which is particularly professional in its work with military hospitals. The epidemic is a huge threat, for Africa as well as for the First World. Perhaps much more could already have been achieved if we spent less time immersed in theoretical debates about international responsibility and military missions and put more money and effort into concrete humanitarian aid." (23/09/2014)

Diário de Notícias - Portugal

Erasmus babies proof of Europe's vitality

The Erasmus student exchange programme gives us hope that the European project still has a future, the liberal-conservative daily Diário de Notícias writes, commenting on a new report by the EU Commission which studies the programme's effects on the lives of participants: "Cynics will still claim that there is no Europe. Sceptics will insist that it isn't possible to create a European culture and identity. But in truth Erasmus contradicts these theories. ... Almost a third of the students who have studied outside their home country since the programme's launch 25 years ago said they had started relationships there. The approximately one million 'Erasmus babies' that this has resulted in are proof that Europe is alive - and has a future . ... Erasmus is also an opportunity to forge solid bonds between people of different nationalities. ... And if there are no longer any barriers between students preventing them from calling themselves Europeans, there should no longer be any reason for the EU member states to follow their example." (23/09/2014)

LOCAL COLOURS

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Irish Independent - Ireland

Rural Ireland celebrates itself

In the National Ploughing Championship kicking off on Tuesday in the Irish town of Stradbally, not only farmers compete against each other but also sheepdogs, bread bakers and mast climbers. The conservative Irish Independent welcomes the three-day trade fair as a sign of rural Ireland's vitality: "At a time when villages and towns are under threat as never before, denuded of their populations by emigration and the flight to the cities and lamenting the closure of local services like post offices and Garda stations and even pubs, the National Ploughing Championship is an example of how rural Ireland remains vibrantly alive. … Farmers and their families will come to Stradbally in Co Laois to meet up with old friends, to look over the developments and innovations and to celebrate a true indigenous industry, agriculture." (23/09/2014)

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