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Returning to learning; Cuts to foreign aid shouldn’t happen; Safety is important as nuclear power plant plans move forward; Praise for Gambia’s climate change action; Home ownership part of Irish culture

A roundup of global commentary for the May 23, 2016 weekly magazine. 

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Construction of the Changjiang Nuclear Power Plant Phase II gets underway at Tangxing village in Changjiang county in southern China's Hainan province in 2010.

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Khaleej Times / Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Returning to learning

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“A wealth of thought goes into the making of a knowledge economy,” states an editorial. “The [United Arab Emirates] has ambitions to become a superpower of wisdom that thrives on research and development. Arab thought, inventions and philosophy once ruled the world and the UAE hopes to revive that glorious era when learning took centrestage.... The country’s Rulers announced that 2016 would be Year of Reading. The nation is returning to its books, e-readers, tablets, or smartphones, to understand, study and not be swayed. Technology has made the process easier, and the Rulers are encouraging people to be inspired by what [they] read and innovate to their heart’s content for the progress of humankind.” 

The Sydney Morning Herald / Sydney, Australia

Cuts to foreign aid shouldn’t happen

“[Treasurer Scott Morrison]’s first budget on [May 3] is set to include the least generous contribution to foreign aid in our history...,” states an editorial. “Most fair-minded people agree that rich nations such as Australia have a responsibility to promote development in poorer nations. But effective foreign aid also advances the national interest, which is served by a world marked by prosperity and opportunity, rather than one plagued by poverty. Aid has an especially important role to play in promoting stability in fragile states in our region.” 

South China Morning Post / Hong Kong

Safety is important as nuclear power plant plans move forward

“[Crises at nuclear power plants] are constant reminders that no matter how necessary the energy source is at a time when cutting carbon emissions is so important, safety has to always be a priority,” states an editorial. “China is acutely aware of that as it forges ahead with the world’s most ambitious nuclear programme.... Transparency is as important with nuclear power plants as safety. Lessons have been learned with each accident and the result has been safer and better reactors. Many more are needed, along with ramped-up solar and wind programmes, to meet the challenge of climate change, but safety always has to come first.” 

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Daily Observer / Gambia

Praise for Gambia’s climate change action

“Slowly but surely, The Gambia is moving fast to lead the discourse on climate change,” states an editorial. “Not only is a National Policy on climate change in the offing, but we have a respected, authoritative voice on climate change in the person of Pa Ousman Jarju, the Environment and Climate Change Minister, who made his mark during last December’s Paris climate change talks, where he jointly chaired a working-group with the UK Energy Secretary Amber Rudd. As we hail the efforts of the Department for Water Resources for enlightening people at climate change affected areas on its dangers, we call on them to embrace renewable sources of energy: solar and wind turbines. The most sustainable way of dealing with climate change is to follow on that path, as Kenya and Ethiopia have demonstrated. When the big emitters of carbon that destroy our environment – United States, China, United Kingdom, India,... and France – cannot agree to save our planet, it is heartening to see that Gambians are acting.” 

The Irish Times / Dublin, Ireland

Homeownership part of Irish culture

“Mortgage restrictions are moving Ireland away from a long-established, deeply integrated model of home ownership,” John McCartney, Lorcan Sirr, and Karl Deeter write. “The further we depart from this the more our cultural, institutional and legislative frameworks will have to adapt.... The Central Bank is now accepting submissions before reviewing its mortgage lending rules. This is welcome. But what we really need is a more integrated approach to housing policy that co-ordinates the actions of all departments and agencies in pursuit of shared policy objectives.”