Editorial voices from elsewhere

  • July 11, 2014

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

The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.

Unemployment in the United States fell in June to 6.1 percent, the lowest rate since 2008. The economy added 288,000 jobs last month and 2.5 million jobs in the last 12, the fastest annual growth since 2006.

There are two anomalies that are perhaps cause for worry. Wage growth has remained at an anemic 2 percent a year during the recovery, well below the historical average of 3.5 percent. The U.S. economy depends heavily on consumer spending and 2 percent a year is not going to do much to help that. Some think wages will pick up along with the economy, a view that seems to have not yet caught on with employers.

The other anomaly is that workforce participation – the number of Americans working or actively looking for work – is stuck at a low of just over 62 percent. The problem is no longer purely economic; the jobs are there, and employers are hiring. It might be structural: workers stuck in the wrong place or with the wrong skills. Or it could be societal: Older workers who lost their jobs and are content to scrape along until retirement age and Social Security or desperate workers who are willing to work off the books.

A booming economy solves all kinds of problems and ultimately these may be two of them.

Tampa (Fla.) Tribune

For years, it seemed that we all knew everything we needed to know about Osama bin Laden. But until recently we knew next to nothing about the man behind today’s most dangerous threat to global peace, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

His organization claims to have recruited fighters from Britain, France, Germany and other European countries, as well as the United States, the Arab world and the Caucasus. This is no longer a local group with a grudge.

Baghdadi may be a shadowy figure. But given the way ISIL is destroying everything in its path – everything the United States and its allies tried, at such a high cost, to create in Iraq – surely his name should become as familiar as that of any previous international terrorist leader.

The Guardian, a British newspaper, recently offered its own analysis of this obscure figure who is responsible for so much violence. The newspaper reported that Baghdadi was born in 1971 into a religious family in the city of Samarra – that’s about 80 miles north of Baghdad – and earned a doctorate in education from the University of Baghdad. Baghdadi preached and taught at various mosques and apparently led several smaller militant groups before he was promoted to a more prominent role in the Islamic State and the Levant, The Guardian reported.

While he may remain obscure to the rest of us, Washington believes his record and agenda are frightening enough that the government has placed a $10 million bounty on his head. To describe him as the new bin Laden is to grossly understate the threat he represents. We’d better get to know him a lot better than we do now.

Khaleej Times, Dubai

There isn’t any break from spying revelations – at least for the United States. The latest to have caught Washington off guard is the complaint from Berlin that it needs sufficient clarifications over a man who was purportedly spying for the United States in the German intelligence service.

This has harmed inter-state relations, and both countries are in a bad patch since the whistleblower Edward Snowden made his disclosures.

Too much of eavesdropping has spoilt Washington’s relationship with the world at large, and it is ironic that a country that preaches values of freedom and free speech could turn out to be so inward-looking in intent. It’s time to cut down the tall shadows of espionage.


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