Rampant attacks on homeless in Japan, Cuba's sustainable farming boom, Putin's popularity in Russia, end Ebola through education

This week's round-up of commentary covers rampant homeless attack on homeless in Japan, Cuba's sustainable farming boom, Putin's popularity will make finding a replacement hard, and fighting Ebola through education.

Abbas Dulleh/AP/File
Health workers, attend to patients that contracted the Ebola virus, at a clinic in Monrovia, Liberia, Monday, Sept. 8. Border closures, flight bans and mass quarantines are creating a sense of siege in the West African countries affected by Ebola, officials at an emergency African Union meeting said Monday, as Senegal agreed to allow humanitarian aid pass through its closed borders.

The Japan Times / Tokyo
Attacks on homeless rampant

“A new survey ... found that about 40 percent of homeless people in Tokyo have had the experience of being attacked or threatened on the street...,” states an editorial about the plight of the official estimate of 1,768 homeless persons in Tokyo. “They suffered verbal abuse and threats, and often had their possessions set on fire.... That homelessness continues at all in such a rich metropolis is shameful.... People who attack the homeless should be prosecuted. The police must work with the homeless to find those committing these crimes. Attacking the homeless should be condemned as heartless. Taking care of its most vulnerable members is an obligation that every society should respect.” 

Radio Havana Cuba / Havana
Cuba’s sustainable agriculture boom

Cuba is experiencing a boom in sustainable agriculture. “The five key factors behind Cuba’s rapid transition to sustainable agriculture are strong scientific capacity, farmer literacy, solid agricultural extension, large cooperatives, good soils, water and of course climate. The structural changes and institutional framework that supported the transition include, above all, organic fertilization and soil conservation,” states a commentary column. “The use of organic and biofertilizers have allowed the substitution of organic methods for chemical fertilizers to meet the nutrient requirements of crops previously met through external inputs.... Strong advances in crop rotation ... have been employed to improve soil coverage and quality, control harmful pests and diseases and increase production.”

The St. Petersburg Times / St. Petersburg, Russia
Putin’s popularity will make finding a replacement hard

“It has become increasingly common to hear people ... say that it is in Russia’s best interests for President Vladimir Putin to remain in power as long as possible. Otherwise, they say, things could get even worse [especially for the West]...,” writes Pyotr Romanov about Mr. Putin’s 85.5 percent approval rating. “Putin’s popularity lies in the traditional mentality of the Russian people, who tend to believe less in their own strength and more in a national hero or savior. After a litany of disappointing Soviet leaders ... the Russian people [have] a leader in whom they [can] place their full confidence.... [But the] country ... lacks a potential successor to Putin: Nobody would claim to hold the No. 2 position in the Russian political hierarchy.... This accounts for the fears connected with the inevitability of Putin one day leaving the scene.”

Daily Nation / Nairobi, Kenya
To fight Ebola, educate the public

“Fear caused by inaccurate media reports is quite alarming, and is likely driven by a general ignorance of how [the Ebola virus] spreads and what protective measures should be taken by healthcare professionals and facilities. Already, there are measures being taken to curb the risk of infections through air travel...,” writes Betty Waitherero. “In addition, the manner in which the Kenyan media chooses to address the Ebola outbreak underlines the stigmatization of citizens from the three West African states.... What is necessary at this juncture is for the Kenyan government to deploy sufficient resources as per their national obligations, train staff and continue to [educate] the general public....”

The National Post / Toronto
US admits it has no plan to fight Islamic State

In late August, President Obama held a press briefing in which he announced “that there was no White House strategy on foreign policy. Seriously. In the president’s exact words: ‘We don’t have a strategy yet...,’  ” writes Janet Daley. “The world’s one remaining superpower seems not only incapable of deciding what to do: it can’t even decide what to say. This is a picture of confusion and contradiction which is quite terrifying in the global circumstances in which we find ourselves.... [I]nstead of providing unequivocal leadership, the American presidency offered scarcely veiled threats.”

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