Editorial voices from around 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:


Chicago Tribune

The U.S. State Department finally has given the Keystone XL pipeline an unexpectedly “green” light. In a Jan. 31 report, the agency found the pipeline wouldn’t cause significant environmental damage. It wouldn’t prompt more oil extraction. It wouldn’t increase demand at U.S. refineries. And, surely to the shock of many opponents of the long-proposed pipeline, its construction actually would lead to fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the likely alternatives for moving oil.


The State Department didn’t formally approve the project, but it did give direct answers to the key environmental concerns that President Barack Obama raised when he put a stall on the project last June:


No, the pipeline would not be the environmental horror that the opponents allege.


Yes, it would have a significant economic impact. It would create lots of jobs.


“There are no more excuses for delaying this project,” said Sean McGarvey, president of North America’s Building Trades Unions, which represent 3 million skilled craftsmen. “The time to construct this pipeline is now.”


Yes, now. The Obama administration should promptly approve Keystone XL – and boast about the environmental and economic pluses it will deliver.


Kansas City Star

It is extremely encouraging to see people in all walks of life send congratulatory messages to University of Missouri football player Michael Sam after he courageously revealed Sunday night that he’s gay.


This outpouring of support from teammates, coaches, fans, celebrities and politicians shows that much of America has progressed on this social issue.


However, the national blitz of mostly positive attention for Sam can’t block out some ugly realities.


Open prejudice still exists against gay athletes in football and other major league sports. Intolerance manifests itself in other arenas, too; witness attempts in state legislatures to prevent same-sex couples from having their marriages recognized.


The most important next step for Americans to watch regarding Sam will arrive at the NFL draft in early May. That’s when we’ll find out whether some evolution on gay athletes has occurred in the workplaces of the older, too-often-bigoted NFL officials who will decide which team will draft him.


Michael Sam finds himself in a unique situation, given the mega-attention that the NFL receives. And that makes his story extra compelling.


Sam – and the other gay men who will follow him into the league – should have the opportunity to open people’s eyes while playing on the biggest stage for sports in America.


China Daily

The attempts of the West to discredit the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games were evident much before the opening ceremony on Feb. 7.


The West’s rhetoric is old-fashioned: alleged corruption, overrunning costs and human rights infringements. Even opinion polls favorable to Russia, especially the one by Gallup that said “Russians see gold in Sochi Olympic Games,” could not change the West’s attitude.


The run-up to the Beijing Olympics, too, had seen the Western media reveling in negative coverage, primarily because of ideological and political differences between the West and China.


But against the wishes of the West, the Sochi Games has begun on spectacular note, prompting an editorial in The Wall Street Journal on Feb. 7 to say: “Soon enough, attention will turn to the athletes and competition, as it should.” Perhaps the paper has realized its earlier criticism of the Sochi Games was inappropriate.


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