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Highlights from the world's press

Compiled by Ravi Agrawal for CNN
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(CNN) -- Japan's Asahi Shimbun has termed the recently concluded APEC summit in Hanoi "a good start" and has called for a resumption of six-party talks aimed at stopping North Korea's nuclear program.

"While the United States may be more concerned about nuclear proliferation than it is about North Korea having nuclear capabilities, for Japan and South Korea, the greater threat is a nuclear weapon being in North Korea. The five nations must firmly and with one voice insist on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in negotiations with Pyongyang... While North Korea has stated it will return to the six-party talks, it has done nothing to change its self-centered logic and actions."

Malaysia's New Straits Times says that APEC's displeasure with North Korea and its nuclear progam was met with resistance from some members who felt pushing Pyongyang further to the brink and that the U.N. Security Council was the best forum to discuss the matter.

"Short of calling APEC outdated, [Chinese president Hu Jintao] said politely that many APEC members lacked adequate experience and capability to respond to some new problems and challenges facing the grouping. He cited matters related to regional financial security and public health security such as the avian flu and influenza pandemics as examples of areas where more dynamism was needed."

South Korea's Hankyoreh has called for the country to take a clear stance on human rights issues in North Korea.

"The South must separate political and military issues from economic and human rights ones, and increase nongovernmental exchange so that the North can free itself of fears of collapse. It is in this way that the North will be prompted to change in a peaceful manner. It is critical that the South keeps humanitarian aid for the North alive. A better standard of living for North Koreans is by itself an improvement in human rights."

Baiting the faithful

With recent reports that the Netherlands is planning to ban the burqa, the UK's Guardian says this is a conflict Britain should not get embroiled in.

"As if this were not enough to drive home the point that Britain is now tolerant only if you belong to the secular majority, the government is urging lecturers on campuses to spy on students who gravitate towards 'extremist preachers'. In the past, proselytizers of the most outrageous political causes were allowed to talk their talk without fear of reprisal: IRA sympathizers who organized collections for the 'boys', student Tories whose posters read 'Hang Nelson Mandela', Trotskyists who preached the destruction of the state. You might keep an eye on the young hotheads with their mad philosophies and fads, but you didn't ask their lecturers to spy on them. If you did, the lecturers would send you packing. Treating young Muslims as if they were a danger on campus guarantees only one thing: they will become dangerous -- and not just on campus."

The Times of India discusses the state of Muslims in South Asia and the different epithets they are categorized by.

"Muslims appear to be firming up in their belief that their faith is more important than their nationality. That Allah is more important than India or UK or Saudi Arabia. We read about this daily. We watch it on TV. As a result, even the most secular among us recognise that a new brotherhood of Islam is growing so rapidly-cutting across nations, cultures, financial communities that very soon the world will be split between those who live by Islam and those who don't. Just as, barely three decades ago, the world was split between those who believed in Communism and those who did not. Funnily, there was a time when Muslims hated the Communists most-for being Godless. Today, they occupy the very space that Communism has vacated. With just one crucial difference: Allah is at the center of their universe."

The army America needs

The New York Times says that the first priority of the new defense secretary in the U.S. is to repair, rebuild and reshape U.S. ground forces to restore the appeal of career military service for their brightest young officers.

"But keeping the army in its present straitjacket would bring bigger and more immediate problems. Even assuming an early exit from Iraq, the army's overall authorized strength needs to be increased by 75,000 to 100,000 troops more than Rumsfeld had in mind for the next few years. A force totaling 575,000 would permit the creation of two new divisions for peacekeeping and stabilization missions, a doubling of special operations forces and the addition of 10,000 to the military police to train and supplement local police forces... Every 10,000 added will cost roughly $1.5 billion in annual upkeep, plus tens of billions in one-time recruitment and equipment expenses."

Seymour Hersh writes in the New Yorker that Donald Rumsfeld's resignation may have been planned well before the U.S. Congressional defeat for the Republican Party.

"Sources close to the Bush family said that the machinations behind Rumsfeld's resignation and the Gates nomination were complex, and the seeming triumph of the Old Guard may be illusory. The former senior intelligence official, who once worked closely with Gates and with the President's father, said that Bush and his immediate advisers in the White House understood by mid-October that Rumsfeld would have to resign if the result of the midterm election was a resounding defeat. Rumsfeld was involved in conversations about the timing of his departure with Cheney, Gates, and the President before the election, the former senior intelligence official said.

Sushi? Or red herring?

The UK's Times reports today that Alexander Litvinenko, a former officer in the Russian FSB security service, lies seriously ill in a London hospital after being poisoned with thallium. The paper says there is a strong suspicion that his attempted murder was ordered by the Kremlin to silence him and send out a chilling warning to other defectors and critics.

"This extraordinary story seems a throwback to an earlier age, an improbable tale that could have come from a Cold War thriller. But it is a reminder that not all the unpleasantness of that war is over. For the FSB, the successor to the KGB, very little has changed. It still regards much of the West as hostile, believes Western intelligence is working against Russian interests and is as active as ever in placing its own spies abroad to glean political, military and industrial intelligence. And it is still vengeful in its pursuit of defectors, especially those who speak out from the haven of asylum overseas."

Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nong Duc Manh (right) greets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the APEC summit.




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