Editorial voices from the U.S., elsewhere

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Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad as compiled by the Associated Press:


Los Angeles Times

A disturbing new law in Nigeria establishes sweeping restrictions on homosexuality and has already led to dozens of arrests.


Even before the law went into effect, it was illegal to engage in same-sex relations. But the new law goes further, prohibiting civil unions and same-sex marriages and threatening to slap a 10-year prison sentence on anyone who officiates at such a marriage. The law bans public displays of affection between people of the same sex, outlaws gay support organizations and makes it illegal for gay groups to meet.


As U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said, rarely has there been legislation “that in so few paragraphs directly violates so many basic, universal human rights.”


Africa is notoriously homophobic; 38 countries on the continent ban same-sex relations. Many of those bans are based on colonial-era sodomy laws, while others derive their authority from Islamic law or other religious and socially conservative ideologies. But Africa is not alone. Less draconian but still unjustifiable is the Russian ban on giving “propaganda” (otherwise known as information) about gay relationships to minors. Such laws violate human rights.


No one has the moral high ground. Every country must work harder to create tolerant societies that respect the rights of all.


Anniston (Ala.) Star

Social media was aflame with conservatives red-hot over a Super Bowl ad by Coca-Cola.


A rendition of “America the Beautiful” sung in multiple languages and featuring a culturally diverse group of Americans inspired anger and threats of a boycott from the right.


A couple of reactions:


Coca-Cola is in the business of selling soft drinks to consumers across the globe. It doesn’t take its marketing lightly, carefully honing ads to appeal to the widest audience possible. If a Coke ad leaves a viewer unhappy, there’s a good chance he or she is on the wrong side of history.


This overheated response sheds light on why Republicans have had difficulty creating an immigration policy. Demographics and changing public attitudes lead in one direction while a hard-core conservative wing of the nation that mostly votes with the Republican Party refuses to budge.


Health experts tell us increased consumption of sugary drinks is a leading contributor to the U.S. obesity crisis. We note with some irony that a boycott – as ill-considered and unproductive as it might be – could make the nation healthier.


Khaleej Times, Dubai

When the curtain finally fell on the life of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, it was a matter of sorrow but not surprise.


The Academy Award winner had said as far back as in 2006 that he had gone to rehab when he was just 22, after persistent drug and alcohol abuse as a college student. So on Sunday when he was found dead in the bathroom of his Manhattan apartment and investigators discovered 70 caches of heroin as well as prescription drugs, the conclusion was inevitable that he had died of a drug overdose.


Hoffman’s exit once again triggers the wonder that all such deaths do. What drives men and women, who have everything the average man and woman would die to possess, to self-destruction? Some, when they chase the slippery and fiercely competitive path to showbiz success, seek help in substance abuse for courage, stamina, wish fulfillment, or whatever it is that they search for in the early stages of their career. Some do it in a spirit of adventurous experimentation, some because it is regarded as an essential prop for the artistic and performers, from painters to athletes. However once embraced, drugs and alcohol become an indispensable need and few have the will power or ability to let go of them. And the result is inevitably tragedy, a colossal waste of talent and life.


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