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Highlights from the world's press

Compiled by Ravi Agrawal for CNN
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(CNN) -- Beijing will host African leaders this Friday at the third Forum on China-African cooperation, and many world papers say participants will hail the newly formed strategic bond between their nations. But The International Herald Tribune says, "beyond the celebrations there is growing unease on both sides about the social, political and economic tensions that the integration has generated.

"China's approach to Africa comes at a steep price. The situation in Sudan is the most pernicious example of the consequences of not mixing business and politics. By refusing to press Khartoum to accept the Security Council mandate for a U.N. peacekeeping force in Darfur, Beijing has effectively condoned atrocities. In Zimbabwe, Beijing's economic largesse is helping keep Robert Mugabe's repressive regime in power."

The Times in the UK says "the future of a continent" is at stake in Beijing this weekend.

"[China's] challenge this weekend is to form a policy framework within which investors can exploit African opportunities without exploiting Africans. Africa's challenge is to help to establish the terms of trade, not just accept them. With Africa's resources and its ready markets for China's products, there are the makings of a super-deal between China and Africa that Europe could never offer. But such a deal cannot be struck at the expense of the poor and dispossessed."

India's Hindu says that while it is unlikely many "sticky" issues will be tackled, "the real importance of the summit lies in the increasingly marked China-wards orientation of Africa that it underscores and with it a sharp shift in the received geopolitical status quo."

U.S. elections

The New York Times says U.S. President George W. Bush is "inventing a fantasy world in which to campaign on phoney issues against fake enemies," with under a week to go before the U.S. congressional elections.

"In Mr. Bush's world, there are only two kinds of Americans: those who are against terrorism, and those who somehow are all right with it. Some Americans want to win in Iraq and some don't. There are Americans who support the troops and Americans who don't support the troops. And at the root of it all is the hideously damaging fantasy that there is a gulf between Americans who love their country and those who question his leadership."

Democrat John Kerry issued a written apology today for saying to college students this week that if they didn't study hard, they could "get stuck in Iraq" --Kerry said it was a botched attempt at a joke on George Bush.

But the UK's Guardian says that while the Democrats may have lost face temporarily, there is a residual problem: "The Kerry row is also a row about Iraq. And every time the argument comes back to Iraq -- where 103 American soldiers were killed in action in October -- it also comes back to George Bush. And that's bad news for the Republicans."

Iraq

The war in Iraq rarely fails to be cause for heated debate in the papers, and today is no exception. Japan's Asahi Shimbun reports that while more than 100 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq in October -- the highest monthly toll this year -- nearly 1,000 Iraqis have been killed in the first half of October alone.

"Ordinary Iraqis just want to get on with their lives, but their wishes are being totally ignored. More than one million Iraqis are said to have fled in despair to neighboring nations or Europe and the United States... cooperation from neighboring Iran and Syria is indispensable to bringing stability to Iraq. Despite Iran's nuclear ambitions and Syria's affinity with terrorist organizations, Washington's refusal to engage in dialogue with them will only diminish the chances of improving the situation in Iraq."

The Los Angeles Times meanwhile, asks whether "9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, the London bombings, Madrid, Bali and the rest are all just pages of the opening chapter in a long saga called the War on Terror."

"For all their criticisms of the way President Bush has waged the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, most Democrats don't challenge the central concept of the war on terror. They merely claim they could fight it better. Only a few intellectual Democrats, such as financier and philanthropist George Soros, insist that the very idea of the war on terror is, in his words, 'a false metaphor'."


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Beijing prepares to host the third Forum on China-Africa cooperation.

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