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Saturday, January 31, 2015

This week's round-up of global commentary includes calls for greater involvement of Japan in Arab countries, free and fair elections in Ethiopia, living with diverse beliefs, press coverage and US-France relations after the attack at Charlie Hebdo.
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The Japan Times / Tokyo
Japan should help in peacebuilding efforts in the Arab world
“Four years ago..., demonstrations in Tunisia ... toppled an authoritarian government in the country, inspiring an ‘Arab Spring’ of people’s protest movements ... in various Arab countries,” states an editorial. “[T]oday much of the Arab world is beset by oppression and conflict. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who [toured] Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Palestine [in January], should seriously consider how Japan can help stabilize this part of the world.... Japan needs to extend steady support in concrete form for peace-building efforts in the Arab world as well as to stress the importance of tolerance of diversified views and opinions, in the realms of culture, politics and religion.”
The Reporter / Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Hope for free and fair elections in Ethiopia
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“Ethiopia has conducted four controversy-ridden general elections in the past twenty years and is preparing to hold the fifth edition in May of this year...,” states an editorial. “[T]he ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and opposition parties are at loggerheads over the impartiality of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) and other issues. Opposition parties complain that ... the political space is so suffocating that they are unable to function with freedom.... It is difficult to conduct elections in the backdrop of such animosity and irreconcilable discord.... Everything possible must be done to ensure the May elections are free, fair, peaceful and credible.”