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What others are saying

Take a new look at use of nuclear power

The Tri-City Herald, Wash.:

The thing about good ideas is that all the misinformation in the world won't make them go away.

Certainly, few scientific products of modern humankind have had quite the negative ride that nuclear power has endured.

Nuclear power suffered a setback during the serious but nonfatal incident at Three-Mile Island. Then the catastrophe that struck at Chernobyl - in a plant neither built nor staffed with the care of U.S. nuclear stations - seemed to wipe out all thought of nuclear power as a source of energy.

But tough times make for realistic decisions.

Finland begins construction of a new nuclear plant this year, and France will do the same in 2007.

Interestingly, the indications are that although older environmental extremists may stick to their anti-nuclear positions, younger people are ready to resume its development.

Kyrgyzstan upheaval forces many choices

Daily Telegraph, London:

The ousting of Askar Akayev in Kyrgyzstan is not as clean-cut as many in the West might wish. The uprising against him was accompanied by arson and looting, some of it aimed at businesses owned by Chinese, Uighurs and Turks.

The looting has stopped. The country no longer has two legislatures, the one defying the other, and the main rivals for power, Kurmanbek Bakiev and Felix Kulov, the acting security chief, have temporarily buried their differences. Although the situation is calmer than it was, the transition is proving messy.

And yet little Kyrgyzstan could still be the yeast in the despotic dough of Central Asia. That will require a clean presidential election June 26, and thereafter a more even distribution of power between the winner and the prime minister than under Akayev.

Regime change in Bishkek apparently presents the West with a classic choice between acquiescence in despotism for the sake of stability and support for political liberalization with an uncertain outcome. Yet, to take Uzbekistan as an example, is the authoritarian rule of Islam Karimov inherently stable? Does his disastrous human rights record not push opponents toward radical organisations such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, designated as a terrorist movement by America in 2001, and Hizb-ut-Tahrir?

Washington has bases in both Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. It naturally wants to retain both as instruments against global terrorism. But it should not sacrifice its commitment to democracy to the likes of Karimov. In Central Asia, however hesitatingly, Kyrgyzstan is showing the way forward.