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Highlights from the world's press

Compiled by Ravi Agrawal for CNN
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(CNN) -- Iraq continues to be the issue that dominates the world's press.

The Wall Street Journal interviewed U.S. President George W. Bush, who said: "This war is different than the other wars we've been in ... If we leave, they will follow us here."

Asked whether Iraq was a mistake or a distraction: "This stuff about how Iraq is causing the enemy ... whatever excuse they need, they have made up their mind to attack and they grab onto things to justify. If it's not Iraq, it's Israel. If it's not Israel, it's the Crusades. If it's not the Crusades, it is the cartoon."

The Times in the UK says many critics say "Iraq represents a great dividing line in history's multi-clause sentence -- the end, or the beginning of the end, of the American century. The war itself, on this view, shows in unexpected clarity the limits of American power. At almost precisely the moment that the U.S. seemed to bestride the world as no other colossus in history, it is felled, not by by a rival empire lobbing nuclear missiles but by a bunch of murderers armed with plastic explosives."

But the editorial goes on to add that "Long after Iraq has established itself as some kind of punctuation mark in American history, America's genius for renewing itself will surely have the last word."

Meanwhile The New York Times says with the upcoming congressional elections in the U.S., Americans should "now look for explanations of how things went so horribly wrong in Iraq," and "should not overlook the shameful breakdowns in reconstruction contracting. They need to insist that Congress impose tough new rules on the Pentagon to ensure more competitive bidding, tighter contract writing and more rigorous supervision."

The Guardian in the UK issues a damning indictment of the U.S.-led Iraq invasion, saying "despite the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars, U.S. government witnesses told the Senate foreign relations committee earlier this year that the performance of the Iraqi electricity, water, sewage and oil sectors is still below pre-invasion levels. The economy is worse in many respects than it was before. Instead of going in fear of Saddam's secret police and torturers, people go in fear of gangs, militias, criminals and fanatics."

'Axis of Moderates'

Israel's Haaretz says "events in recent months have increased the fears of many governments in the Middle East of the growing power of Iran and its allies" resulting in the creation of an "axis of moderates" there.

"Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has apparently forgotten that Israel must do its part to strengthen the axis of moderates. Leaders in Cairo, Amman and Riyadh will find it difficult to justify moderate positions in the face of aggressive behavior on the part of Israel. The expansion of construction in West Bank settlements, most of which are slated for evacuation, serves no purpose and only complicates a future solution to the conflict."

Talks in Uganda

The International Herald Tribune says the ongoing peace talks between the rebel Lord's Resistance Army and the Ugandan government are the "best opportunity so far to end a vicious guerrilla war that has lasted some 20 years."

"The talks have a long way to go, but if they reach the stage that peace is likely, the ICC prosecutions should be put on hold to give the millions in northern Uganda a chance to enjoy the peace they have thirsted after for 20 years."

I'm keeping my baby

As the Madonna-adoption saga rumbles on in the media, The Boston Globe says there is "nothing unusual" about Yohame Banda's confused attempts to find a secure home for his son, comparing it to Operation Babylift in Vietnam 30 years ago.

"The jet-set nature of the case is clearly unusual, but the story of parents who give up their children because they can't care for them is both all too common and age-old ... It's strange this week to see an illiterate African farmer take center stage with a famous woman.

"But it's also refreshing to watch a man like Yohame Banda speak his mind. In the continuing debates over international adoption, biological parents remain shadowy players, maligned and misunderstood. Banda's role in this saga brings their particular tragedies to light. If only during this fleeting celebrity moment, the world seems poised to listen."


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