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Highlights from the world's press

Compiled by Ravi Agrawal for CNN
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(CNN) -- With news that the Democratic Party in the U.S. has taken control of both houses of legislature, major national papers are discussing how reverberations of the election results will be felt around the world.

The Washington Post says the Republican party losing control of both houses is the equivalent in a parliamentary election of losing a vote of no-confidence.

"Because both houses have gone Democratic, the election is correctly seen as an expression of no confidence in the central issue of the campaign: Iraq. It was not so much the war itself as the perceived administration policy of 'stay the course,' which implied endless intervention with no victory in sight. The president got the message. Hence the summary resignation of the designated fall guy, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ... The public's views on what we ought to do with the war remain mixed, as do its general ideological inclinations. What happened on Tuesday? The electorate threw the bums out in disgust with corruption and in deep dissatisfaction with current Iraq policy. Reading much more into this election is a symptom of either Republican depression or Democratic wishful thinking."

The New York Times meanwhile says conservatives of every stripe can console themselves by considering "the limited scope of the Democrats midterm sweep."

"A political shake-up every dozen years is a necessary cathartic for America's two-party system. What's more, the rightward cast of many Democrats in the freshman class is hardly bad news for conservativism ... leadership is never weakened by a little humility. After what he called 'the thumpin',' the president showed he got the voters' message on Iraq: 'I recognize that many Americans voted last night to register their displeasure with the lack of progress being made there.' But in acknowledging that 'they cast their vote for a new direction,' he didn't wring his hands: 'The people have spoken and now it's time to move on.'"

Canada's National Post says the Republicans faltered on their hard-line on immigrant policy in its commentary on their election losses.

"Notwithstanding their endless small-government rhetoric, Republicans in Washington have boosted total federal outlays massively in the six years since President George W. Bush took office. The resulting quarter-trillion-dollar government deficit has diverted attention from Bush's sensible tax cuts. The short-term policy of low taxes and pork-barrel spending has resulted in a ballooning debt that future generations will have to pay. Nor were we much impressed with the issues the Republicans chose to run on. Hard-line Republican candidates were able to fire up their base by denouncing illegal immigrants and urging the construction of bigger border fences. But large parts of the U.S. economy would grind to a halt if these immigrants weren't there. The immigrant issue gave Republicans, and many nativist Democrats, an air of hypocrisy and even bigotry."

In Japan, Asahi Shimbun says U.S. President Bush will now face difficulties in advancing his trade policies because of the Democrats, who favor protectionism.

"We welcome the likely shift in the United States' Iraq policy to a more realistic direction. If the world's only superpower turns inward or is unable to display leadership worthy of its status, that could have a negative effect on the world. In that sense, Democrats, too, have a heavy responsibility."

Cease-fire in Gaza

The last week has seen a death toll of over 90 in the town of Beit Hanoun on the Gaza strip, in bombings conducted by the Israeli air force.

In an article in the UK's Guardian, a survivor of the attacks who lost her sister-in-law, says: "Whoever wants peace in Palestine and the region must direct their words and sanctions to the occupier, not the occupied, the aggressor not the victim. The truth is that the solution lies with Israel, its army and allies -- not with Palestine's women and children.

"The lesson the world should learn from Beit Hanoun last week is that Palestinians will never relinquish our land, towns and villages. We will not surrender our legitimate rights for a piece of bread or handful of rice. The women of Palestine will resist this monstrous occupation imposed on us at gunpoint, siege and starvation. Our rights and those of future generations are not open for negotiation."

Israel's Haaretz has condemned the deaths, terming it an "atrocity."

"None of Israel's responses to this catastrophe -- expressions of regret by the prime minister and defense minister, offers of humanitarian assistance to the wounded, the establishment of an inquiry committee headed by Major General Meir Kalifi, cessation of the shelling and the opening of the Rafah border crossing for a day -- can paper over Israel's sole responsibility for this fearsome and senseless killing. Therefore, it is no longer enough to express regret; it is also necessary to draw conclusions."

Evading the tax man?

The Times of London reports how India seems to have solved the problem of getting tax evaders to cough up the money.

"The world's largest democracy has solved the problem, which is as old as Abraham's Vat. Its answer to those who won't pay, can't pay tax is -- singing eunuchs. There are about a million eunuchs or hijras in India. Their ancestors were attendants on the royal harem. Today they scratch a living as beggars by singing blessings at weddings, cursing the tight-fisted, and hustling as male prostitutes. Now the city of Patna is sending chanting eunuchs round to non-payers. Outside the house of the defaulter they sing: 'Pay the tax: Your reputation will be tarnished. If you do not pay your tax, your house will be auctioned.'

"Public humiliation works. Only four percent of India's population pay tax, but that is double from last year. A lesson here for our own dear Revenue? Singing eunuchs would be so much more persuasive than Hector, Hector, the PR tax inspector, in his bowler hat and pinstriped trousers."


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