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Highlights from the world's press

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(CNN) -- As frequent flyers and businesses breathe a sigh of relief at the U.S. government's relaxation of the rules for carrying liquids and gels aboard airplanes, The New York Times suggests we're still in for a bumpy ride. The Transport Security Administration was "simply trying to placate airlines and other businesses concerned about possible loss of revenues," the paper said.

The new rules allow passengers to carry on liquids in three ounce containers as well as liquids purchased at the secure area of the airport.

"It would seem relatively easy for a small group of terrorists to combine their liquids after all have passed through security checkpoints. And one has to wonder whether a corrupt worker or terrorist might find a way to sneak a liquid bomb into the secure area despite enhanced surveillance and background checks."

Japan's new PM

The Sydney Morning Herald says there is a "distinct lack of enthusiasm... at home or abroad" for new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"(Abe) is clearly intelligent, charismatic and articulate. But he has taken office in a resurgence of old-style powerbroking between his party's notorious factions."

Worse, Japan's Asahi Shimbun says it "had hoped to see (Abe's) clear intention to promote youthfulness, freshness and a spirit of challenge. It is sad to say, but we see none of that in (Abe's new cabinet)."

"The Japanese expression 'ronko kosho' was the first thing that came to mind when we studied the new faces of the administration. True to the expression's meaning of 'rewarding people according to the services they rendered,' Abe has rewarded those who helped him win the Liberal Democratic Party presidential election with Cabinet portfolios and key party posts."

The International Herald Tribune says is Abe wishes to be as popular as his predecessor Koizumi, he would need "to be equally daring in breaking with failed policies of the past. The obvious place to start is by rebuilding Japan's badly damaged relations with China."

Bush, Musharraf, and Karzai

Britain's Times says: "Public recriminations between (Pakistan's) President Musharraf and (Afghanistan's) President Karzai are hampering all efforts to counter the resurgent Taliban" in Afghanistan.

"Without close cooperation between two leaders who both have Washington's strong backing, Western attempts to bring peace to the region will come to little."

Pakistan's Dawn praises Musharraf's diplomatic skills in talks with President George W. Bush and Karzai.

"That (Bush and Musharraf's) meeting ended in laughter and expressions of admiration says a great deal about the confidence Bush has in Musharraf, who has proved a master strategist. Who else but Musharraf could sell the deal he made with the Taliban as another tactic in the war against terror? And Bush bought it."

Meanwhile the Guardian in the UK is poking fun at Musharraf's longevity in power.

"Army commanders who seize political power by force often have the best intentions. But once installed they find it hard to let go. General Pervez Musharraf, who overthrew Pakistan's elected prime minister in 1999, subsequently appointed himself president while remaining army chief. Seven years later, and now peddling a book lauding his achievements, he seems determined to carry on indefinitely."

Behind the painted smile

The Independent says scientists now claim the young woman depicted in Leonardo da Vinci's 16th century masterpiece Mona Lisa, was either pregnant or had recently given birth.

"Thanks to laser scanning, we were able to uncover the very fine gauze veil Mona Lisa was wearing on her dress. This was something typical for either soon-to-be or new mothers at the time."


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