US President Barack Obama’s new strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan is the lead story in many of today’s newspapers, including in Spanish daily El Mundo. Obama declared that the United States must "disrupt, defeat and dismantle" the al Qaeda terrorist organization and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Announcing plans for an increased American troop presence in Afghanistan, Obama also said that it's important for the American people to understand that Pakistan "needs our help" in going after terrorists and that Osama Bin Laden was still “preparing attacks against the United States”.
At the same press conference in Washington, Obama said he wanted to talk to moderate Taliban. The Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, which is published in the United Kingdom, asks one vital question: What is a moderate Taliban? Seemingly, this might be a difficult question to answer. After all, according to this newspaper, the Taliban are an organization with almost no contact with the international community. Al-Sharq Al-Awsat says accepting dialogue in the first place would already be a sign of moderation. It goes on to cite names of people who might well be classed as “moderate Taliban”. They refer to a student at Yale in the United States. He has declared he would oppose al Qaida and Bin Laden. This, according to the Arabic daily, could be one example of a possible port of call for the US President.
The Independent (United Kingdom)
"Police identify 200 children as potential terrorists"
The British left-leaning daily The Independent has a front page and title to catch the reader’s attention. In its lead article, it claims “two hundred schoolchildren in Britain have been identified as potential terrorists”. This is as part of a police scheme that wants to spot teenagers as young as 13 who might be “vulnerable” to Islamic radicalization. For its exclusive, crime correspondent Mark Hughes talked to Britain’s most senior officer in charge of terror prevention. He describes a programme that asks “teachers, parents, and other community figures to look for signs of extreme views or susceptibility to being groomed by radicalisers”. This new tactic, run by the Association of Chief Police Officers, may have the 7 July 2005 bombings in London as its starting point. One of the bombers was considered a model student, but in his exercise book he had written notes praising al Qaida. This, say the police, might be the time and place to find a “potential terrorist”.
"Souriez, vous êtes tracés"
"Smile, you’re being tracked"
In its Saturday edition, French left-wing daily Libération claims it knows who the new Big Brothers are. According to Libération, they are called Google, YouTube and Facebook. The newspaper’s journalist describes his typical day and tries to count the times he is filmed or his movements are registered, for example upon entering the Paris metro system. The average Londoner might be surprised by this outcry. After all, in the capital of CCTV, he or she is secretly photographed an average of 425 times a day. In its editorial, Libération says we should fight to maintain our liberties and not leave any traces.
The Times of India (India)
“Switch off lights tonight”
Earth Hour is asking people to switch off their lights between 8:30 and 9:30 tonight in every time zone worldwide to express concern over global warming. The movement began in Sydney in 2007, when up to 2 million people followed the call to switch off during one hour. The Times of India is an enthusiastic fan of the idea. The newspaper asks its readers to switch off any unnecessary lights and instead suggests a candlelight dinner, meeting friends, taking a walk or playing games.