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Highlights from the world's press

Compiled by Ravi Agrawal for CNN
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(CNN) -- Israel's Haaretz says the repeated calls for Israel's eradication emanating from Iran should have generated an active and effective worldwide front.

Instead, the paper's staff editorial says, the problem is becoming Israel's alone.

"The Holocaust denial conference in Tehran is an integral part of an Iranian foreign policy that has garnered great success over the past year after all the West's diplomatic offers to Iran were politely rejected.

"It is necessary to create a moral, diplomatic and even military front that will make the discussion of Israel's destruction unprofitable for the Iranians even before any discussion of the goals of the nuclear capabilities they are developing."

The New York Times has cautioned against under-estimating the political power of the "vicious ideas" aired at the conference. With Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad facing elections again today, the paper's editorial says he is clearly hoping the conference will divert Iranians' attention away from his failure to rein in corruption and improve the economy.

"President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran apparently believes his claims that the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis is a myth ginned up to justify the creation of the state of Israel. That is frightening enough. Couple that with his calls to wipe Israel off the map and his government's -- so far unrestrained -- drive to develop the technology needed to build a nuclear weapon, and you have even more reasons to keep yourself up at night."

And today is the 25th anniversary of the Golan Heights Law, when the Israeli government extended the laws of Israel to the Heights -- a strategically important wide plateau between Syria and Israel -- in a move that was denounced by many as an illegal occupation.

Faisal al Yafai writes in the UK's Guardian that Israel's illegal annexation of the Heights from Syria is a thorny issue to resolve and remains the main sticking point between the two countries.

"Israelis must wonder why they should give up land to a country that supports Hamas and is close to Iran. But in fact, that is the seed of the answer: the Golan issue is holding Israel back from peace with Syria, and pushing its neighbour towards the belligerent rule of President Ahmadinejad. Far better to negotiate now when Damascus feels strong (and might be willing to compromise) than later, when Damascus might be closer to an even stronger Iran."

Conspiracy theories no more

Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post says the conclusion of Thursday's report that Princess Diana's death in a car crash nine years ago was an accident will not dampen curiosity or skepticism.

"Who was driving the white Fiat that the couple's black Mercedes clipped just before the crash? He or she has never been found. And what sort of 'communications' involving Diana does the National Security Agency -- the U.S. spy agency -- hold in its vast stores of intercepted phone conversations? Why would the NSA be eavesdropping on Diana anyway? Are we really supposed to believe the NSA when it says these intercepts have nothing to do with the crash?

"The truth is that nothing can ever really close the mystery, because a certain degree of ambiguity is necessary to complete Diana's perfect narrative arc. In the end, she's less a person than a story -- a fairy tale that approaches the status of myth."

The Independent in the UK says enough doubt remains in the case for rational people to feel uncomfortable.

"What took place in the Pont De L'Alma underpass on 31 August 1997, might very well have been a 'tragic accident', as Lord Stevens describes it. But we should beware the assumption that all the circumstances of this case have now been fully explained and all the loose ends neatly tied up."

Health scare, democracy scare

U.S. South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson suffered a stroke on Wednesday, and seems to be recovering now after brain surgery. The Nation says that if Johnson were to die, his Senate seat could go to a Republican chosen by the governor of South Dakota -- who happens to be a Republican himself. That's according to South Dakota law, although other states in the U.S. have different laws for replacing incapacitated senators.

"The United States should have a uniform system for replacing senators. The system should be democratic, placing authority in the hands of the electorate rather than a single man or woman. Instead, we have a lingering remnant of royalism -- gubernatorial appointment -- that could in this rare circumstance upset the will not just of the people of one state but of the United States."

The Economist says the Democratic majority will not be imperiled as long as Johnson remains alive -- even if he is alive but cannot serve, his seat will not be considered vacant.

"If Mr. Johnson were not to survive, however, [South Dakota Republican governor Mike Rounds] would find himself in an excruciating position. Political pressure may demand that he find a Republican candidate to serve as senator... For now, at least, as the prognosis for Mr Johnson looks hopeful, it seems that America can avoid the trauma of political upheaval. But an incident like this shows just how vulnerable is America's political establishment to the fragility of the human body."


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The report into Princess Diana's death won't dampen curiosity or skepticism in the case, says the Washington Post.

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