Verdicts on Saddam Hussein's decision to allow UN arms inspectors (above) to return in time to avert a cruise missile attack
THE "NON-WAR" has been yet another success for UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who negotiated with Iraq up to the last minute. But Saddam Hussein is, too, a partial winner: he gave in to military threats, but also showed the whole world the problem of tough economic sanctions, which starve the Iraqi people, but leave the regime intact.
THERE IS little doubt that Saddam will play this expensive and dangerous game again. But this must be the last warning. The United States must make it clear to the Security Council and the Arab nations that further resistance by Iraq will be met with swift and powerful military action - not in days or weeks, but within hours.
AS LONG as the United States pursues a policy of flexing its muscles, the prospects for the UN inspection effort to eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction are in jeopardy. Even if an attack on Iraq would deal a temporary blow to the country's government, such an action would undermine the view the international community has of the validity of the inspection programme. Both the United States and Iraq need to work toward conditions that would make possible an end to the sanctions against Iraq. The central effort toward that end should not be force, but rather diplomatic effort through the United Nations.
WE HOPE that, this time, Clinton won't withdraw US air and naval forces from the Persian Gulf because of a piece of paper with Saddam's signature on it. At the very first sign of non-cooperation, take out a few military targets. Such an instant reaction will show Saddam our threats are backed with intent. We agree with Senators Arlen Specter and John McCain that getting rid of Saddam should be our ultimate goal. But how to do it? Better intelligence would be a start. That's what we pay the CIA for. The inspection cat-and-mouse game has dragged on far too long. Every delay since 1991 has bought him more time to develop and stockpile his chemical and biological weapons. The current one has lasted 102 days. That's a long time for a madman to perfect his genocidal game plan.
The Jordan Times
IN ADDITION to making no mention of a timetable or schedule for lifting the sanctions, at least partially, Clinton in his speech also offered the clearest indication yet that the American administration is intent on toppling the Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein.
The sanctions have been tied to disarming Iraq, not a political change in the country. Introducing this plan into the equation at this point is grossly unfair to the Iraqi people. Although this crisis is over, the difficult part remains: getting the sanctions lifted. To do this, Iraq has no choice but to cooperate fully with the UNSCOM staff. And the US and Britain should not change the nature of the inspections by introducing this new political dimension.
IF AMERICANS are tired of dealing with Saddam Hussein, think of the poor people of Iraq. Subsequent defiance of United Nations resolutions has resulted in long-standing economic sanctions, which have done regrettably little to destabilise Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, but which have done regrettably more damage to the society he terrorises. We cannot expect that a renewed air offensive against Iraq will do the trick and rid us of this troublesome dictator. But we hope that the Clinton administration and the United Nations stay the course and do not allow Saddam Hussein off the mat after a few rounds of cruise missiles. His capacity to make trouble, for US allies and other countries in the region, should be significantly degraded before the pressure lets up.
Neue Kronen Zeitung
SADDAM HUSSEIN is testing [the world's] patience. And one has to wonder at the patience of his subjects. He has done so many bad things to them, expects so much more from them and his regime is so brutal. Yet, up to now, no rebellion against him has had the smallest chance. And, as pressure from the outside grows, Saddam finds it increasingly light to appeal to the national feelings and to ensure support from the masses.
THE HOUSE OF LORDS
Opinions about the upper house's rejection of the Commons Bill on closed list elections for Europe
THIS GOVERNMENT prefers the selectorate to the electorate, preaching the virtues of devolution while practising the vices of centralisation. Worse still, critics argue, by abolishing the right of hereditary peers to vote in the House of Lords, the Government will emasculate the independence of the second chamber and replace it with a closed list of political appointees. Ministers should realise that they have been outmanoeuvred. Tony Blair made trust a central issue at the general election. He should trust the people, and leave them with the power to choose which individuals they send to the European Parliament.
THE MORE piously the Government trumpets its wish to devolve power to the people, the more ruthlessly its party machine sets about dominating the selection of its candidates, whether for the European Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, the leadership of the Welsh assembly or London's mayor. An over-mighty party is being given a cheeky, thoroughly justified, and most timely lesson in democracy by a bunch of unelected peers for whom the tumbrels await.
NOTHING PROMOTES dissent like the attempt to suppress it. If Tony Blair wants to provoke Scotland, Wales, the House of Lords, the Labour Party, even the press, he is setting the right way about it. He will provoke the electorate as well. He could still carry people with him, if only he would learn to accept criticism without resorting to a discipline which would have seemed excessive on Captain Bligh's Bounty.
IT IS hard to see how this anachronistic defence of the rights of the unelected aristocracy will broaden the appeal of Mr Hague's party. But if the Conservatives have managed to back themselves into a corner, there are also lessons for the Government in this affair.
The first is that it should be more willing to listen to criticism. Mr Blair is not infallible. The second is that securing the removal of the hereditary peers against a promised guerrilla war requires a much clearer picture of the final shape of a reformed upper house.
THE OBVIOUS answer is a reformed, democratic upper chamber. Such a body could then perform the revising function whose necessity this episode has dramatically highlighted, and perform it with legitimacy. Labour is in the business of extending democracy: both closed lists and an unelected second chamber stand counter to that goal. The Government should ditch the pair of them as soon as possible.
THE UNELECTED House of Lords is already starting to force this theoretically mighty government to dance to its discordant tunes. Whatever anyone may think of closed lists as a way of selecting candidates, there is no justification for the Lords to behave in this destructive fashion, a mere overture to the real drama to come over the hereditary peers.
SOME TORIES fondly recall that the Lords' finest hour was the creation of the Magna Carta, when they defended subjects' rights against an over- mighty ruler - king rather than an elected prime minister. But Labour may take comfort in a more recent and precise parallel. The last peers versus people battle did not end happily for the peers. The Liberals cut back their powers after winning an election. Ninety years on, Tony Blair needs no further election victory to apply the coup de grace to the House of Lords.
NEWS AT TEN
Views on the decision to move ITV's evening news from 10pm to the earlier time of 6.30pm
NEWS AT Ten is no sacred cow. The campaign to keep it at 10 o'clock was ludicrous. If people want news at ten there is Sky, CNN, CNBC and BBC News 24. Now those who want to watch uninterrupted films on ITV will be able to do so. News at nine, ten, eleven... who cares?
DOES ITV realise what a strong and popular "brand" News at Ten is? It has become part of the biorhythms of the nation. Once lost it will be difficult to win back. ITV argues that programming needs to respond to the hundreds of channels thrown up by the digital revolution. Strong brands are more important than ever as beacons to guide people in the dark. If the new digital channels - or even the BBC - snatches the News at Ten for their own, ITV will have no one but itself to blame.
AN ITC survey showed viewers would prefer to watch films or football rather than Trevor MacDonald at 10pm. And if that is what viewers want, why should they be refused it? The ITC chairman has courageously made the right decision.
NEWS AT Ten will always hold a special place in television history. Its end is the end of a soap opera, and the public will face it with the same sort of nostalgia felt at the putting down of some old and arthritic family pet. But it had to be done. Digital television is creating a fast- changing marketplace, and News at Ten, plonking itself down in the centre of the evening schedule, was hobbling ITV's ability to compete. The time for the last bong has come. No news at ten will, in the end, be good news for viewers.
THE DECISION to allow News at Ten to go off the air is an abdication of responsibility. It is bad for TV journalism, bad for democracy, and a victory for the moneybags who control the airwaves. And we say that as a newspaper which is likely to benefit from the change, since people will certainly rely more on print journalism to discover what is really going on in the world.
The US press considers whether the House of Representatives should impeach Bill Clinton
Los Angeles Times
THIS IS all familiar stuff but it's going to be rehashed nonetheless. Given the public's strongly expressed wish to have this whole matter over and done with, it will be interesting to see
how much attention is paid to the planned coverage of the committee's hearings. Chairman Hyde originally and laudably said he intended to hold quick, decorous and focused hearings. Right now, unhappily, none of these objectives seem realizable. We may have seen this movie before, but like it or not we're going to have to sit through it again.
New York Times
WE STILL do not see impeachment as the appropriate legal response. A substantial majority of the American people would not support impeachment or removal on the existing facts, and Mr. Starr's bottom line yesterday was that he has no more to offer. Mr. Starr has dark and reasonable suspicions about, say, jobs for silence, but he cannot prove them. Those parts that he can prove, such as Mr. Clinton's blatant lying under oath about sex, will not be supported as grounds for impeachment by a majority of the House, even though it is controlled by the Republicans.
UNDOUBTEDLY, THE president, who is also the nation's chief law enforcement officer, lied to the investigators and to the American people. But do these lies constitute perjury in the narrow legal sense, and if so, do they constitute grounds for impeachment according to the Constitution of the United States? Undoubtedly, the investigation itself has been deeply flawed. But so flawed that its findings and charges should be dismissed - the fruit of the poison tree, as the lawyers say?
Opinion following the revelation that egg sales boomed after Delia Smith showed how to boil one
DELIA SMITH'S stranglehold on the nation's kitchens is awesome. This week, we learnt that she has turned an ailing metal business into a roaring success with her endorsement of an omelette pan. Then, it emerged that she has singlehandedly boosted egg sales by 10 per cent. But having the Midas touch must also be a pain. The more the country hangs on her every word, the more Delia must be tempted to turn round and say: "Stuff this cooking lark. I'm eating out."
The Birmingham Post
JUST WHAT, then, is the "Delia effect"? Why does she have such a hold over the nation? There are plenty of celebrity cooks more exotic than Delia. What it all boils down to is that Britain trusts her. We might thrill to the laddishness of Gary Rhodes, drool over Antonio Carluccio's sensual Italian accent, and smile at the Two Fat Ladies. But when it comes to good old-fashioned advice on simple, easy-to-prepare food, Delia's your woman.
DELIA HAS been savaged for the simplicity of some of her culinary instructions. This is unfair, because beginner cooks need to be given information that is self-apparent to the more experienced rest of us. I write, by the way, as the mother of a son who once tried to slice a raw egg.
(Lynda Lee Potter)
WHEN IT comes to moving products off the shelves, the nation's favourite chef, Delia Smith, is the creme de la creme. Other television cooks just don't have the same effect.
Stories from around the world
Hong Kong Standard
UNLOVED? DON'T dial a dating service. Don't get a facial and a makeover. Don't take personal improvement courses. All you need to be loved is to commit heinous crimes. As a felon and fugitive, you can be sure of the love of lawyers. They love you once for your derring do, twice for your swag and three times for your notoriety in which they bask. Lawyers aren't in practice for the love of justice. And justice isn't a love object you can hold to your bosom in the cold nights and coo to until the break of dawn. Justice doesn't beget you children, console you, soothe you, and it certainly doesn't listen to your existential woes. Have you heard the rap rhapsody, "Gangsta Paradise"? This here is gangsta paradise.
THE WESTERN health establishment has scoffed at techniques involving herbs, plants, etc. as junk science. Recently, the fuddy-duddies at the venerable Journal of the American Medical Association took a huge step in helping doctors separate the scientifically tested wheat from the anecdotal chaff. This is a welcome development - it's easy for consumers to mistake fervent belief for proof. It's also easy for mainstream medical professionals to arrogantly dismiss the entire phenomenon.
THE VIEWS OF THE WORLD
Philadelphia Daily News
The Globe and Mail