The Netherlander reports that former Dutch central bank director and monetary expert Andre Szasz is gravely concerned about the success of the Economic and Monetary Union. Szasz worries that standards for entry into the union will soon be diluted and that Italy's admission could cause "major problems": "If that country is permitted to join, it will be on the basis of what they say they are going to do, not on what has been achieved."
The Zimbabwe Standard says 700 Zimbabweans die of AIDS every week, and 20 percent of the sexually active population is HIV positive. Zimbabwe's minister of health and child welfare also notes two sad trends: 1) Discrimination against AIDS sufferers has overtaken discrimination on the basis of race and tribe and 2) "Most people want to pretend [AIDS] is a black disease, but the white community is equally affected, they just have more money to keep it hidden for a longer time than their black counterparts."
An editorial in the Vancouver Sun supports the immigration curbs recently suggested by the Reform Party (a group, the piece notes, that is often accused of racism and extremism). Among the proposals: Tie immigration levels to the unemployment rate--when more jobs are open, more immigrants can be let in; give higher priority to the "independent" class of immigrants (those with necessary job skills); crack down on family sponsorship of immigrants, limiting it to immediate family members; and cut down on fraudulent claims of refugee status.
The St. Petersburg Times of Russia identifies a bizarre coalition forming in reaction to burial plans for Nicholas II, the last czar. The remains of the czar and his family are set to be formally buried, with an official ceremony, July 17 in St. Petersburg. Vehemently protesting the burial are, on one side, monarchists (who severely doubt the authenticity of the remains) and, on the other side, radical Communists (who claim the Kremlin is "reviving the ghost of tsarism--because those in power have nothing to rely on"). Another theory: The burial is a " 'dress rehearsal' for the eventual burial of Boris Yeltsin himself." Yeltsin, a "pragmatist," wants to plan ahead for his final sendoff, argues an anonymous source.
The Guyana Chronicle announces that the Electoral Assistance Bureau has determined December's Guyanese elections fair and valid. The EAB found that "no polling place was considered to have had a poll that was unacceptable or invalid." Controversy had engulfed the Dec. 15 election of President Janet Jagan, with repeated attempts to declare her government illegitimate. Jagan greeted the good news by declaring, "The EAB report proves what we always had known."
In Tanzania, the Express reports on a downside to Dar es Salaam's exploding night life: "decaying social values." The entertainment and gambling industries, successful and still expanding, have spawned prostitution as a growing field in this economically shaky country. Smart, educated, gainfully employed women have taken to becoming casual sex workers--the profits of a single night can equal a week's paycheck from a legitimate job.