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Kazakhstan's rise, Afghan and Pakistan relations, Mexico vying to be China's western base, strides by female lawyers in Malawi, and Australia's World Cup scandal

This week's round-up of commentaries covers the economic rise of Kazakhstan, the possibility of renewed relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan, why Mexico wants to become China's hub in Latin America, strides by female lawyers in Malawi, and Australia's role in the World Cup scandal. 

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    A view of the left bank from a high- rise of the capital city on Aug. 10, 2013, in Astana, Kazakhstan. The city, has been built rapidly since the capital was moved here from Almaty in 1998.
    Ben Arnoldy/The Christian Science Monitor
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The Moscow Times / Moscow
Kazakhstan is a growing economic power in Central Asia

“[N]ew prospects are opening up for Kazakhstan. It is not involved in the struggle of sanctions and counter-sanctions, it has full access to the Russian market as a member of both the Eurasian Economic Community and the Customs Union and has excellent relations with everyone,” writes Vladimir Ryzhkov. “Kazakhstan maintains its previous goal of becoming one of the 30 most economically developed countries by 2015. That is no pipe dream.... Kazakhstan has the same per capita GDP as Russia, as well as low unemployment, little foreign debt, a balanced budget and significant foreign currency reserves.... Just as Russia has earned a reputation as the ‘bad guy’ of Eurasia this year,... [Kazakhstan and Belarus] have made it equally clear that they are the ‘good guys’ of the post-Soviet space....”

Khaleej Times / Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Afghanistan’s new president can reset relationship with Pakistan

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“The debut visit of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has come at a time when Islamabad is on the verge of sealing its successes on its western frontiers against the militants,” states an editorial. “While Ghani’s predecessor Hamid Karzai nursed reservations against Pakistan and doubted its sincerity in fighting the United States-led war on terrorism, without doing enough on his own, this high-profile interaction is likely to go a long way in not only redefining bilateral priorities for both the countries but also for the region.... Ghani, after years of mistrust that his country bred against Pakistan..., has a rare opportunity to open a new vista of geostrategic cooperation.”

El Universal / Mexico City
Mexico wants to be China’s hub in Latin America

“One of the pillars of economic development in Mexico is foreign investment. So, when President [Enrique] Peña Nieto traveled to China [for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit], he explained ... the benefits that Mexico offers for investment and asked [investors] to turn the country into a logistics platform ... for the Mexican market and other countries in North and Latin America...,” states an editorial. “Mexico’s industry is often wary of Chinese imports, that compete with low prices.... However, now we are looking for a business partner, not an importer of low quality and inexpensive products.... If Mexico signs agreements with China, it would help create jobs and resources that Mexico needs to overcome inequality and poverty....”

The Nation / Blantyre, Malawi
Female lawyers make strides but must continue to push for more

“The legal profession has come a long way in Malawi ... [and the] number of lawyers has steadily increased,” writes Janet Chikaya-Banda, a solicitor general in Malawi. “Despite this, female lawyer presence in private practice has not been significant. There are less than five legal firms owned by female lawyers.... Female lawyers should ... embrace their role in the justice sector with vigour and recognise that they belong to a profession that is economically and politically powerful. The key is to ... [make] the justice sector responsive to the contemporary needs of society. Female lawyers should choose well and make a difference!”

The Sydney Morning Herald / Sydney, Australia
The dirty business of hosting the World Cup

“The Herald warned five months ago that Australia should walk away from any future World Cup hosting bids until the global body FIFA [the international soccer governing body] came clean about the corrupted process that delivered the 2022 rights [to host the tournament] to Qatar.... [Now] Australia has been named adversely in a FIFA summary of the report ... [examining] the 2022 bidding process.... FIFA’s summary argues we have been part of the rotten game of cash for hosting rights,” states an editorial. “[W]hen Australia becomes mired in this sort of dirt, the nation’s reputation suffers. So do taxpayers, who fronted $46 million [for the bid]. We need answers.... The world body stands condemned alongside Australian soccer administrators who played the dirty game.”

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