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A Nobel Peace Prize well deserved, a mixed record of governance, perseverance is key, history or indoctrination?, soccer bridges divides

A roundup of global commentary for the Oct. 24, 2016 weekly magazine.

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    A man uses a mobile phone in front of a Pokemon Go advertisement in Tokyo, July, 2016.
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El Espectador / Colombia

A Nobel Peace Prize well deserved

“President Juan Manuel Santos deserved to receive the Nobel Peace Prize,” states an editorial. “We hope that this vote of confidence from the international community will provide a push to overcome the uncertainty and salvage the monumental effort that has been made in the past six years.... The message of the world is blunt: don’t squander, Colombians, this historic opportunity.”

Mmegi / Botswana

A mixed record of governance

“The 2016 Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) was launched [recently]...,” writes Michael Dingake. “The [index] ... puts Botswana ... at number two [in the category of safety and the rule of law]...! Over the years I’ve watched Botswana slide down the precipice on the rule of law. Recent media reports of ... top public servants being summoned to appear before the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies for operating outside their mandate and authority, were far from tempering ... my conviction that government was violating the principle of the rule of law!... Bet your last thebe that thousands more cases of this nature go unreporte[d] and the hunch that if our country isn’t yet a Banana Republic it’s cruising towards the destination at breakneck speed.... Mea culpa, if I miss the point!” 

Copenhagen Post / Copenhagen, Denmark

Perseverance is key

“So many entrepreneurs and people in general believe that ‘overnight success’ exists and become frustrated when it does not happen to them...,” writes Joanna Atanassova. “There are so many examples out there being championed by the media – the most recent one that comes to mind is the hugely successful PokemonGo app, which was downloaded 7.5 million times in the US in barely half a week. But occurrences like this are creating an illusion that the founder of the app has hit it big with his first try, when the reality could not be more different. For John Hanke, the overnight success was the result of 20 years of hard work and improving his skills.... [I]nstead of feeling blue, founders should focus on achieving ‘long-term success’, no matter how many years of work it takes.”

South China Morning Post / Hong Kong

History or indoctrination?

“[T]he way history is taught can be a subject of dispute,” states an editorial. “The proposed changes to our Chinese history curriculum for junior secondary schools is an example.... [C]ritics said the curriculum only highlighted the glory of past dynasties and that the city’s history was only presented in the context of China’s development.... But ... we cannot expect every landmark development in the city to be included. After all, the subject is about the historical development of China rather than that of Hong Kong.... As long as it is carried out in a comprehensive and unbiased manner, there is no reason to resist national education or the learning of Chinese history.”

Daily News / Cairo

Soccer bridges divides

“Sunni scholars in Saudi Arabia and their Shi’a counterparts in Iran may be at war over who is a Muslim, but there is one thing they agree on: soccer detracts from religious obligations,” writes James Dorsey. “Iran, in the latest skirmish between soccer and Islam, is debating the propriety of playing a 2018 World Cup qualifier ... on ... the day Shi’a celebrate Tasua.... The Iranian debate erupted six years after Saudi clerics parked flatbed trucks in front of internet cafés to persuade fans to break away from watching matches being played in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa at prayer time.... [C]onservative men of the cloth, irrespective of what branch of Islam they adhere to ... see soccer as competition because it is one of the few things that can evoke the kind of deep-seated passion in the Middle East and North Africa that religion does.”

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