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Highlights from the world's press

Compiled by Ravi Agrawal
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(CNN) -- The UK's Guardian says that there is no doubt that Gordon Brown will be the next Prime Minister of England, in the wake of his speech at the Labour Party conference yesterday.

"The great public sees an odd-looking clip or two on the news and relies on the verdict of others. Yet it is a terrible viva that any contender must pass - and pass Gordon Brown did. If not quite magna cum laude, it had them standing in acknowledgment that it must be him, he has no rival - though some crossed their fingers that all would be well."

"He told obligatory untruths about himself and Blair; despite Cherie's "that's a lie" grenade the words had an echo of some parallel truth about that odd relationship. But dark and brooding are his natural trademark."

"Heated Wrangling, Horse Trading"

The Times suggests that the race to succeed UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is far from over, expecting the "heated wrangling [and] horse trading" to continue until Annan steps down December.

"So far Ban Ki Moon, the South Korean Foreign Minister, appears to be ahead, winning 14 of the 15 votes in the last ballot. He seems to be pulling ahead of the slightly foppish Shashi Tharoor, of India, the UN Under-Secretary for Public Information, and has clearly more traction than the other declared candidates: a former Afghan finance minister, Jordan's UN ambassador, the President of Latvia, a former Sri Lankan UN under-secretary for disarmament and the former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, whose chances have been damaged by the Bangkok coup."

"The idea that Mr Ban is entitled to the job is absurd. The exotic field, the Latvian President aside, is not particularly impressive, and he would be a winner by default rather than chosen with enthusiasm. The UN and the world deserve better."

Global terror trends

After the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate selectively leaked its "Trends in Global Terrorism" report to The Washington Post and The New York Times last week, the Post today says the "NIE's judgement seems both impressionistic and imprecise."

"For instance, what specifically does it mean to say that the Iraq war has worsened the 'terrorism threat'? Presumably, the NIE's authors would admit that this is speculation rather than a statement of fact, since the facts suggest otherwise.

"Before the Iraq war, the United States suffered a series of terrorist attacks: the bombing and destruction of two American embassies in East Africa in 1998, the terrorist attack on the USS Cole in 2000, and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"Since the Iraq war started, there have not been any successful terrorist attacks against the United States. That doesn't mean the threat has diminished because of the Iraq war, but it does place the burden of proof on those who argue that it has increased."

"Probably what the NIE's authors mean is not that the Iraq war has increased the actual threat... Rather, its authors claim that the war has increased the number of potential terrorists."

Cool it

The Times of India today says "signals that Islamabad isn't a terribly reliable ally in the (US) war against terror," coupled with pressure from domestic insurgencies could lead to Pakistan's General Musharraf resorting to the "classic diversionary tactic... to ratchet up tensions with India over Kashmir."

"Islamabad could relieve pressure in the west by breaking out in the east. Good relations with India are a solution to many of its problems. If Musharraf can make this strategic shift, he will have made history."

Knife edge

The UK's Daily Star says a new Swiss Army knife -- the $1,190 Giant Knife Version 1.0--contains "85 gadgets that can perform a staggering 110 tasks."

"A few of the more cutting-edge implements include a laser pointer, bicycle chain rivet setter, flashlight and cigar cutting scissors... the knife weighs in at an incredible 1.2 kg (2lb 11oz), and measures 21x26cm (8x10in) -- so it will only fit into the biggest back pocket."


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