Alexei Druzhinin/AP
Russian President Vladimir Putin (r.) and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (l.) speak at United Party's election headquarters in Moscow, Russia on Sept. 18, 2016.

Ferry danger, learning from Israel, river reform, trial footage, election apathy

A roundup of global commentary for the Oct. 3, 2016 weekly magazine.

Standard Digital / Nairobi, Kenya

Ferry danger

“On any given day, crossing the Likoni Channel is not for the faint-hearted...,” states an editorial. “The ageing fleet of seven ferries are prone to mechanical breakdowns. And so it was again [recently] when Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) flagship vessel Mv Nyayo carrying more than 1,500 people developed an engine problem and lost speed before it started drifting toward the high seas.... Mv Kilindini (another ageing ferry) came to the rescue.... Two new ferries were bought from Germany in 2010.... There are plans for two more ferries to be delivered this year from Turkey. These efforts are laudable, but are not sustainable in the long run.... [A]n overpass like the ... Nyali Bridge offers a better option. And the time to do that is now.” 

The Jerusalem Post / Jerusalem

Learning from Israel

“Few democracies have confronted a more sustained Islamic terrorist offensive than Israel,” states an editorial. “From its inception, the Jewish state has been forced to fight an almost constant battle against terrorism while struggling to uphold the freedoms and liberties afforded citizens of a democracy. In the process, the Jewish state has adopted a number of controversial methods.... European and UN delegations that visit Israel normally take the opportunity to criticize the attempts to protect itself from terrorist threats – whether from the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, or from Lebanon. [Recently] Georges Fenech, the French counter-terrorism ‘czar’ ... was in Israel learning more about our country’s use of administrative detention.... This shared challenge of struggling to maintain the freedoms and liberties of an open society, while at the same time taking the steps necessary to combat terrorism, has led some Europeans to finally appreciate Israel’s efforts to defend itself instead of disparaging them.” 

The Hindu / Chennai, India

River reform

“Agitations over the distribution of water in the Cauvery river are not new or surprising given the extreme dependence on agricultural and economic activity in the river basin...,” writes Harini Nagendra. “We need to find ways to recharge the river, increase inflow of water, clean up hotspots of pollution, and increase the efficiency of water use. For this, we must take up afforestation along the river on a war footing, move to water-efficient cropping, limit industrial pollution of rivers, ban excessive sand mining, and limit the growing consumption of water for cities and towns along the river. This requires conversation and cooperation across the basin, not reactive conflict.” 

Ottawa Citizen / Ottawa

Trial footage

“A remarkable event [recently] unfold[ed] in Alberta...,” states an editorial. “For what [was] likely the first time in the province, the verdict in a double-murder trial [was] broadcast live.... There’s no good argument against a further opening up of our courts, in any province. There are common-sense ways to protect the integrity of the justice system at work, while respecting one of the most important values in a democracy: That justice can be seen happening.” 

Deutsche Welle / Bonn, Germany

Election apathy

“The official result of Russia’s parliamentary election ... comes as no surprise: President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia now claims a two-thirds majority in the Duma...,” writes Ingo Mannteufel. “Victory in parliament comes without the mass protests of five years ago. Then, thousands of Russians took to the freezing streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg to express their displeasure at clear election fraud and manipulation.... This apathy serves the Kremlin’s interests at the moment. It has the parliamentary composition it desires. However, its legitimacy rests on a foundation built on sand, given that less than half of Russians nationwide, and so few urban Russians, turned out to vote, despite many being under pressure to do so.”

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