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Kofi Annan explains why he's giving up on Syria

Kofi Annan tells the world why after months of trying to limit the bloodshed in Syria, he is giving up. Also, counting the billions of euros spent on the Olympic Games: one contributor says in the long run it will all be worth it, while another laments the embarrassing displays of nationalism. And The Independent wishes the lessons of the Games could be transferred to the international politics.

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In the Financial Times Kofi Annan explains that he – and the international community – have been powerless as Syria has descended into civil war. So he is leaving, with words of advice, not least that President Bashar al-Assad must go, Russia must steer the leadership in a new direction, and the US should encourage the rebels to seek an inclusive, moderate alternative leadership, not a reactionary one.

The Daily Beast says this is no reason for the US to pick up the slack. Syria’s Arab neighbours are more familiar with the kinds of elements contained in the opposition, and so should be the ones to lead an international effort to forge a peaceful solution.

In Le Monde a Goldman Sachs economist says the Olympic Games will surely be of great benefit to Great Britain as a whole. Not so, says the French professor opining on the same page. Not only do such optimists rarely account for the costs of extra policing. They need to be mindful of the brain-addling effects of too much time spent watching sports on TV.

The Independent says the world’s political leaders could learn from the games after all. Just as all the world’s sports teams abide by the rules of the Games, inter-state relations would vastly improve if governments paid attention to say, the Geneva Convention. Even when Chinese and Korean players were disqualified for throwing their badminton matches, irked observers took to the blogosphere rather than the battlefield.

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