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Highlights from the world's press

Compiled by Ravi Agrawal for CNN
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(CNN) -- Two weeks before the U.S. Congressional elections, The New York Times is asking why "finally, after all this time" President Bush is publicly consulting with his generals to consider a change in tactics in Iraq. "The president, who says he never reads political polls, is worried that his party could lose some of its iron grip on power in the congressional elections next month. It is not necessarily a bad thing when a politician takes stock of his positions in the teeth of an election. Elected leaders are expected to heed the will of the people ... It is time for the American people to confront all the things that the president never had the guts to tell them about for three and a half years."

The Washington Post makes a similar observation: "The deepening doubts about America's commitment and strategy in Iraq that dominate polling for U.S. midterm elections have spread across the Atlantic in recent months as insurgency has metastasized into sectarian warfare between Sunnis and Shiites... The extent to which U.S. forces were unprepared for insurgency and sectarian warfare in Iraq has become painfully apparent. The lessons they are learning -- which have become prohibitively costly for Americans and Iraqis -- must never again be forgotten."

North Korea and the bomb

South Korea's Dong-a Ilbo says it is "nonsense" to imagine Seoul's current policy of engagement with Pyongyang will change the Kim Jong-Il regime.

"As long as the North has nuclear weapons, blind pacifism will not be sufficient to safeguard peace. North Korea, which invested $500 million in its nuclear program in the late 1990s while two million of its people died of hunger, will by no means give up its nuclear program easily. The only hope of dismantling its nuclear program lies in international cooperation to strengthen sanctions so that the Kim Jong Il regime will see that giving up the nuclear weapons is the only way to survive."

On a related note, The Guardian in the UK says China's potential of growing cross-border trade with North Korea will make it very difficult for Chinese President Hu Jintao to back effective sanctions. "While Beijing shares Washington's goal of denuclearising North Korea, historical links and geographical proximity mean its interests go well beyond the nuclear issue. This is most obvious for the region of China that borders North Korea. Under the planned economy this was a center of heavy industry, but it experienced dramatic decline after Deng Xiaoping began the process of economic reform in the late 1970s."

Japan's Asahi Shimbun says that while "Beijing was initially reluctant to fully back the U.N. sanctions" it is a positive sign that it has now "clearly announced it intends to stand by" them. "Clearly, Beijing is trying to let the world and Pyongyang know it is genuinely angry with North Korea for having gone ahead with the nuclear test despite Beijing's disapproval of the idea. Once China becomes fully involved in the U.N. sanctions, there is no question the moves will have a strong effect."

Child Labor in India

While welcoming the coming into effect of laws banning child labor in India, The Hindu is not optimistic about how effective these laws will be. "Child labor will persist, above all in the agricultural sector where some 80 percent of the working children can be found. As a top priority, India needs to do what many developing countries have done -- end the pernicious practice of child labor through ensuring that all children of school age are in school. The near-term national goal must be to end all child labor, not just the employment of children in stipulated occupations."

Five years, five generations

On the fifth anniversary of Apple's iPod, The Los Angeles Times says Steve Jobs was right in predicting that the music player would transform the world. "The iPod has changed us in a lot of ways. Its insular nature protects us in public spaces with a happy bubble of our favorite songs. The accessibility of one's music library, when one chooses to expose it, provides a peep show to our personalities. And the passion engendered by the device's Zen-like simplicity and museum-quality looks has raised the design bar for the entire field of consumer electronics. No wonder the iPod has charmed everybody from Karl Lagerfeld (he claims to own 60 iPods) to President Bush (he goes into Ear-bud Land on a daily basis for his workout)."


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Happy birthday: The iPod is five today.

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