What others are saying 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:


Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail

Right now, Europe would love nothing more than to stop Vladimir Putin from reassembling the old Evil Empire of the Soviet Union


But Putin has Europe cornered this winter. Russia supplies 36 percent of the natural gas consumed by Germans.


Twelve other European countries are even more dependent with the three Baltic states and Finland receiving all of their natural gas from Mother Russia. It is difficult to stand up to someone when you are shivering from the cold.


West Virginia can help. The U.S. Energy Information Agency estimates that West Virginia and its neighbors are sitting on 141 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation.


Surely some natural gas from West Virginia and other sources in the United States can be sold and shipped to Europe to end the Russian monopoly.


But federal law restricts exports of natural gas, as House Speaker John Boehner pointed out in a column in The Wall Street Journal. Boehner called upon President Obama to approve the Keystone pipeline, lift his restrictions on oil and gas from federal lands and expedite applications to export liquefied natural gas.


Ending the Russian monopoly on natural gas throughout central and eastern Europe would allow those nations to be truly independent of Putin and Russia. Sales of natural gas from the United States to Europe would hurt Moscow in the pocketbook as half of Russian tax revenues come from oil and gas exports.


Drill, baby, drill – and make the world a safer and more peaceful place.


Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal

More than two months have passed since Congress failed to extend emergency unemployment benefits. The National Employment Law Project reports that 2 million Americans have been cut from the federal assistance program, many struggling to make mortgage and car payments, even to hold their households together.


In February, the economy added 175,000 jobs, the 48th straight month in which employment levels have expanded in the private sector. Unfortunately, the pace has not matched the stronger recoveries of the past, during which 200,000 jobs to 300,000 jobs per month have been generated.


Congress should have approved an extension for six months or a year without much trouble in December. Enough Republicans and Democrats, especially in the Senate, insist that they want to achieve as much. They have been at odds for weeks about how to pay for the extension, roughly $12 billion for six months. Thus, many people suffer while lawmakers clash and lack the necessary sense of urgency.


Many people in Ohio and elsewhere are hurting. They deserve better from their representatives in Congress.


Toronto Star

At first blush, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s free trade agreement with South Korea looks like pretty small beer. Federal officials say it will boost Canada’s $530-billion annual global exports in goods and services by a relatively paltry $1.7 billion or so. Spread across a $1.9-trillion economy, the impact would be hard to feel.


Harper says the pact will “create jobs and opportunities” when it comes into force after it is ratified by both governments. That will likely be next year. But in his rush to sign the deal Harper took a calculated risk. He failed to negotiate the same protections that the United States leveraged in its own 2012 trade deal with South Korea, and that may prove costly.


On the brighter side, the deal does provide a little catch-up for Canada in terms of getting a toehold in the Asian market. That matters, given the region’s rapid growth.


The European Union, the United States and Australia have all reached similar deals with South Korea, putting Canada at a competitive disadvantage and hobbling our exports. Much of this deal is about regaining lost ground.


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