Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad:
The State, Columbia, South Carolina on arrest of South Carolina high school student:
South Carolina is once again in the national spotlight. Video of a school resource officer throwing a Spring Valley High School student to the floor and arresting her is, as Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott put it, disturbing. The video and the arrest have rightfully captured the attention of our state and nation.
As federal, state and local authorities investigate the incident and the deputy's actions, the rest of us must react as we did after the Charleston shootings in April and June and the statewide floods in October. It is essential that we again show amazing peace, calm and togetherness.
We inspired ourselves and the nation before. We must do it again.
Understandably, parents, students, administrators and the public have questions about what happened in that Spring Valley classroom. All have the right to seek answers, offer opinions and express concerns. A public discussion is healthy.
We had similar discussions in April after a white North Charleston police officer shot an unarmed black man; in June after a young white man massacred nine parishioners at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston; and just a few weeks ago after widespread flooding damaged thousands of homes and left at least 19 dead statewide. ...
The Mother Emanuel shootings sparked outrage among South Carolinians of all races and religious beliefs. Immediately, the people and churches of Charleston reached out to the congregation, providing food and other support. A Toronto Star reporter tweeted video of a mostly white crowd marching through Charleston chanting "black lives matter."
A few days after the shootings, a crowd estimated at more than 10,000 gathered at Charleston's Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge to honor the victims and to show those who would divide us that South Carolina really is different.
Next, our Legislature voted overwhelmingly to move the Confederate flag from the State House grounds.
Earlier this month, when hundreds of our neighbors lost their homes, an army of volunteers showed up to help, uninvited and unannounced.
Our responses this year have been praised by national media and by politicians across the political spectrum, from Gov. Nikki Haley to President Obama.
Thankfully, the Spring Valley High School encounter did not end in the loss of life. But it is disturbing, as Sheriff Lott said. South Carolinians should ask questions. If any laws were broken, we should expect justice.
But in our response, we should continue being who we are -- a community that will not be divided.
Boston Herald on John Boehner:
Outgoing U.S. House Speaker John Boehner may save his party -- in spite of itself. And for that -- once the dust settles -- he will be viewed by history as a hero.
Boehner struck a deal with his Democratic counterparts and with the White House that will not only head off a possible government shutdown in December but will prevent similar budgetary showdowns for two years -- and that means after the 2016 presidential election.
The $80 billion spending plan (over two years), which would also increase the federal borrowing limit through March 15, 2017, could come up for a vote as early as today.
"The agreement isn't perfect by any means, but the alternative was a clean debt limit increase" without entitlement reform or money for troops, Boehner said yesterday. "So this is a good deal."
And he was perfectly candid in acknowledging that part of his intention was to "clean out the barn" for the next speaker. .
"I've done my best to clean it up," he said. ...
The genuinely disgruntled in the House GOP -- such as some members of the Freedom Caucus -- no longer have any weapon to use against the departing Boehner, and they know it.
"We can't stop it. He's in league with the Democrats," said Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and, yes, he was likely thinking "devil" even as he said "Democrats."
But thanks to John Boehner, Massie and his kindred spirits will likely survive to fight another day -- even if they'll never admit it.
The Washington Post on USS. Lassen sailed in South China Sea
The USS Lassen, a guided-missile destroyer, on Tuesday sailed by a reef in the South China Sea's Spratly archipelago that China has built up into an island capable of hosting an airstrip. Predictably, China's foreign ministry quickly announced its "strong discontentment and resolute opposition" to what it regarded as a violation of its territory and pledged to "take all necessary measures as needed." While that sounds like a potential recipe for conflict, the Obama administration was right to order the sail-by. In fact, the action was long overdue.
For nearly two years, China has been engaged in a massive and provocative effort to turn seven specks of land in the Spratlys into outposts it could use to fortify and defend its outrageous and legally indefensible territorial claims in the South China Sea. According to a recent Pentagon report, it has pumped sand onto coral reefs to build up 2,900 acres of new land, in the process creating islets that can accommodate airstrips, ports and barracks. The activity has alarmed the five other nations that claim parts of the Spratlys, including U.S. allies the Philippines, Taiwan and Malaysia. And it has raised the prospect that China will use force to gain control over a region that is crisscrossed by international shipping lanes carrying 30 percent of the world's maritime trade.
Almost as alarming to Asian governments has been the failure of the United States to respond to the Chinese activity until now with anything more than rhetoric. While U.S. commanders have been arguing for months that Beijing's claims should be challenged by Navy ships, President Obama withheld permission before last month's visit to Washington by Chinese President Xi Jinping . Mr. Xi pledged that China would not militarize the islets it is building -- but that dubious promise, like his already-broken pledge to end cyberattacks on U.S. companies, needs to be tested in practice.
That's one reason the patrol by the U.S. destroyer should be the first of a measured but regular series. Another is that, under international law, it is unquestionably legal. The Law of the Sea Treaty (which, unfortunately, the U.S. Senate has never ratified) holds that countries that create artificial islands do not gain the usual right to 12?miles of territorial waters around them. Beijing's claim that its territory is being infringed upon therefore rests on a sketchy map dating to the 1940s in which nine dashes are superimposed across 80 percent of the South China Sea. There is nothing to back up this sovereignty assertion, or objections to U.S. patrols, other than intimidation and threats of force.
By demonstrating that China's aggressive claims and base-building will be answered with more than words, the United States may have better luck in inducing Beijing to listen to those words, which for years have called for negotiations and arbitration to resolve competing territorial claims in the Spratlys and elsewhere in the South China Sea. Mr. Xi appears to have concluded that this U.S. administration can be bluffed into standing by while China alters the physical status quo in the region to its long-term advantage. It will take more maneuvers like that of the USS Lassen to convince him otherwise.
The Telegraph, United Kingdom, on Poland's election:
Poland deserves more attention in Britain - and not just because so many Polish people live and work in this country. Since David Cameron is seeking to change Britain's EU membership, the balance of power and opinion in a significant member like Poland matters.
The victory of Poland's Law and Justice Party is not an unqualified positive for Mr Cameron, since the party is strongly committed to EU rules that allow some of our Polish visitors to claim British benefits for children who have never set foot in this country, an unacceptable situation Mr Cameron has rightly promised to end.
But the wider message of the election is welcome, because of what it reveals about Poland's attitude to the centralising European Franco-German "project". The EU recently forced Poland to accept a quota of Syrian refugees, something firmly against the wishes of the Polish people, who have now dismissed the government which accepted that quota. Poles want a government driven by Poland's national interest, not a supranational project designed in Paris, Berlin and Brussels. Law and Justice is also understandably cool on joining the euro and rightly concerned that eurozone nations should not dictate to those with the good sense to retain their own currencies.
Poland's election has put another nail in the coffin of the misguided notion of an "ever-closer union" for all the EU's members. It signals a growing appetite for a multi-speed Europe where members can participate in - or abstain from - the programmes and policies that suit them, without pressure to integrate. Such flexibility is surely required if Britain is to remain a member. The EU establishment should listen to the Poles.
The Sacramento Bee, California on the World Health Organization's warning about processed meats:
Bacon, hot dogs and steaks - medium rare, please - are delicious. But like so many things in life, excessive consumption is risky.
The World Health Organization made that reality clear once more on Monday by declaring that meat, particularly processed meat, probably contributes to colon, stomach and other types of cancer.
The World Health Organization, part of the United Nations, said in its opening statement that if reported associations are proven to be causal, the Global Burden of Disease Project estimates that diets high in red meat could be responsible for 50,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide.
Representatives of the meat industry denounced the finding. But the International Agency for Research on Cancer is a highly respected body. Its findings no doubt will be relevant as California's own Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment considers whether to list as a carcinogen nitrites, which are used to cure processed meat, in combination with certain compounds known as amines and amides.
Not to discount the impact on health from the excessive consumption of meat, processed and otherwise, but a little perspective is in order.
Smoking is linked to about 1 million cancer deaths annually worldwide. Alcohol accounts for another 600,000 cancer deaths. Air pollution is responsible for 200,000 cancer deaths annually, the agency said.
The World Health Organization lists many other issues worthy of concern. Traffic fatalities account for 1.25 million deaths annually. Violence accounts for 200,000 deaths of people between the ages of 10 and 29 annually. Hunger causes 3.1 million deaths of children under the age of 5 annually. Think about that. The city of Los Angeles has 3.8 million people.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer reached the conclusion about processed meat and red meat based on a review of 800 studies of consumption and cancer. The panel included 22 scientists from 10 countries, including a half dozen from U.S. universities and federal agencies.
"Overall, the Working Group classified consumption of processed meat as 'carcinogenic to humans' on the basis of sufficient evidence for colorectal cancer," said the report published in The Lancet Oncology. "The Working Group classified consumption of red meat as 'probably carcinogenic to humans.' "
We in the United States consume more meat than almost any other nation. That has impacts on the environment, climate change and health.
We would be wise to eat a little less of it, and, while we're at it, drive more carefully, exercise more regularly, and, for those who still smoke, try a little harder to kick the addiction.