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Highlights from the world's press

Compiled by Ravi Agrawal
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(CNN) -- Trouble at the trial of Saddam Hussein, which saw its judge fired for allegedly being too sympathetic to the former leader, comes under scrutiny in The New York Times.

"It would have been far better if Judge Abdullah al-Amiri had not told Mr. Hussein that he was 'not a dictator' in the midst of heated testimony last week," the paper said.

"Judges sometimes say stupid things. And Mr. Hussein is not on trial for being a dictator. He is on trial for genocide, a crime so horrific that the government should be bending over backward to protect the court's reputation for independence."

Thailand upheaval

As the coup in Thailand rumbles on, Britain's The Times calls on the country's military rulers to promise a swift return to democracy.

It expressed concern over the announcement by General Sondhi Boonyaratglin, the army chief of staff, that it would take a year to produce a new constitution and hold fresh elections

"The army clearly fears that if elections were to go ahead this year, there is a good chance that Thaksin Shinawatra, the ousted Prime Minister, would again win."

"(The army) must give swift and convincing proof that it intends to restore democratic government as soon as possible. However bloodless a coup and inept a prime minister, it is the wrong way to remove an elected leader."

Hungarian lies

Political troubles elsewhere in the world catch they eye of the the International Herald Tribune, which describes Hungary's Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany -- who was taped admitting his government had lied repeatedly -- as "brazen in his contempt for basic standards of political decency."

"It is difficult to know whether one should be more appalled by his admission or by the astonishing fact that he is now trying to make political capital out of it."

"'The real issue in Hungarian politics today,' Gyurcsany wrote in his blog, 'is not who lied and when, but who is able to put an end to this ... who can face up to the lies and half-truths of the past 16 years.' In other words, he seems to be saying, you can trust me now because, unlike everyone else in politics, I'm honest about having been a liar. He has pointedly refused to resign."

China's not so Great Firewall

Calcutta's Telegraph expresses surprise at how video of violence as police tried to break up a demonstration in China did the rounds on the Internet for a week without being blocked by the Chinese government.

"It's been predicted that globalizing the Chinese economy would inevitably lead to a freer society. Videocams and mobile cameras are cheap here; and the people technologically savvy. Surprisingly, the ever-tightening controls on the Internet did not seem to have frightened these protesters. Significantly, the first woman to post the video warned viewers against attacking the government."

"Her warning was ignored; promptly, her site was blocked. What's amazing is that the video remained on the Internet for a week, moving to other sites as soon as one was blocked, long enough for millions of surfers to have heard the students' cry: 'In a society under the rule of law, something infuriatingly unjust has happened! Our rights become so pale and powerless in the face of money! How will the people ever trust the government again?'"

The oldest girl in the world

The Daily Telegraph in London displays awe at the discovery of the skeleton of a little girl who died over three million years ago.

"The small bundle of bones... represents the most complete ancient infant of this geological age, estimated to be about three years old when she drowned," it says.

"The unprecedented discovery opens many new avenues for efforts to understand the childhood of our early ancestors. (Her) bones suggest she walked upright but may have been good at climbing trees as well."


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