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LGBT rights in China, hydro-diplomacy for Pakistan, EU-Greece relations, Russian security priorities, Afghan refugees

A round-up of global commentary for the July 20, 2015 weekly magazine.

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    A man waves an LGBT equality rainbow flag at a celebration rally in West Hollywood, California, June 26, 2015. The US Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriages has no legal force outside the United States, but gay rights activists in many parts of the world believe the court ruling will help their cause.
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China Daily / Beijing
Far-reaching implications of US marriage ruling
“The US Supreme Court 5-4 ruling ... that same-sex marriages are protected under the 14th amendment of the US Constitution was a landmark judgment not only for Americans but also many Chinese...,” writes Chen Weihua. “While substantial progress has been made in China over the past two decades to protect the rights of the [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] community, most Chinese are still not ready to embrace the group.... Chinese officials ... have not spoken publicly about the rights of gays and lesbians, since homosexuality was decriminalized in 1997 and removed from the list of mental illnesses in 2001. Hopefully the US Supreme Court decision will encourage ... officials and ordinary citizens alike ... to take actions to help build a society that shows more tolerance and respect to the LGBT community and upholds their equal rights.” 

Dawn / Karachi, Pakistan
Hydro-diplomacy needed in Pakistan
“Despite the importance of water for Pakistan, we have transformed from a water-abundant state to one of ‘perceived’ scarcity...,” writes Usman Mirza. “Pakistan’s water crisis is not one of absolute water scarcity but has over time been transformed into a ticking time bomb due to vested interests, power structures, political rivalries, ineffective governance and flawed policies.... [T]he mounting pressures on available water for Pakistan could translate into political instability and security risk. Transboundary water is no longer a purely management issue...; it is now a national asset which has to be negotiated diplomatically across international borders.... To use hydro-diplomacy as a tool we need strong institutions and political leadership as a prerequisite to be effective and reap results.”

Khaleej Times / Dubai, United Arab Emirates
EU should be conciliatory with Greece
“A conciliatory approach is needed to pull back Greece from the default zone,” states an editorial. “This will also give the embattled economy space to recover from the economic mess it finds itself in.... [T]he 28-member Eurozone should [understand] that the Greeks have never played to the gallery by threatening to quit the union.... European leaders not happy with the outcome should avoid retribution.... Instead, they should seek to address their genuine economic concerns.... Yes, Europe and its institutions are under strain, but a humane approach towards Greece will go a long way in aiding an ailing economy and in stopping the continental drift.” 

The Moscow Times / Moscow
Fighting Islamic State more important than anti-West narrative
“Since the annexation of Crimea and the onset of sanctions, both Russian foreign and domestic policy have been infused with a sense of exaggerated bravado and pointed anti-Western rhetoric...,” writes Natalia Antonova. “Admitting that Russia now shares with the West a particularly prolific and ruthless enemy – the [Islamic State], its sympathizers, and potential recruits – is an uncomfortable task. A common ground doesn’t fit with the anti-Western narrative as neatly.... Russians can certainly point the finger at destructive U.S. misadventures in the Middle East as having given rise to the IS in the first place, but that can’t and won’t make the IS go away.” 

Daily Outlook Afghanistan / Kabul, Afghanistan
Protect Afghan refugees
“Three decades of war in Afghanistan forced more than 6 million Afghans to flee the country...,” writes Ewaz Ali Bahrami. “While the Afghan government is not ready to take in and accommodate refugees, mass repatriation of refugees can create a chaotic situation in the country....  [T]he government should redouble its efforts and urge all host countries not to forcefully repatriate Afghan refugees, especially women and children.... It is the obligation of the Afghan government to protect [the] rights of all Afghan citizens including refugees who are in search of shelter in other countries.” 

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