Newspaper review: Earthquake rocks Turkey; Tunisians take to the streets for polls

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UAE newspaper review

The massive earthquake in Turkey has grabbed headlines of today’s newspapers.

Khaleej Times said as many as 1,000 people are feared dead when a powerful earthquake measuring 7.2 on Richter scale hit the scenic city of Van and surrounding districts of Lake Van in eastern Turkey.

The National reported that Ercis, a city with a population of 75,000 near the Iranian border, was the hardest hit. The earthquake shook the Ercis Fault which is Turkey’s most earth-quake prone zone.

?We need tents urgently and rescue teams. We don?t have any ambulances, and we only have one hospital. We have many killed and injured,? Zulfikar Arapoglu, the mayor of Ercis was quoted by Gulf News as saying.

TUNISIA ELECTIONS

Massive turnout in Tunisia’s first elections since former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country in mid January featured prominently in Emirati papers.

Khaleej Times reported that the turn out neared 70 per cent while quoting several voters who expressed their joy on participating the first-ever democratic polls in the country. ?On this day, I vote in memory of my husband who gave his life for our dear country, our liberty,? 63-year-old Rbiaa Dalhoumi said reporters after casting her vote.

Gulf News hinted moderate Islamic party Al Nahda is set to win the elections but will fall short of a majority in the new 217-member assembly that will rewrite the constitution and appoint a caretaker government after decades of autocratic rule.

The National’s foreign correspondent said nine months after the toppling of Ben Ali’s dictatorship, Tunisians took to the streets again on Sunday ? this time to take another key step from revolution to democracy.

EDITORIALS

“Reconciliation is crucial for future of Libya,” Gulf News declared in its editorial while urging the ruling council to develop framework that is acceptable to all parties and tribes. While focusing on Gaddafi’s grisly death at the hands of NTC fighters, the editor insisted that calling now for an investigation into the late leader’s death will be a “little native” given that “he could have ended the conflict by stepping aside or surrendering himself to international authorities”. The article concluded that NTC must access Gaddafi’s personal fortune, estimated at $200 billion (AED734 billion), hidden around the world to rebuild the country’s battered infrastructure straightaway.

Both The National and Khaleej Times have highlighted discussions that took place at the World Economic Forum in Jordan where regional leaders addressed the issue of growing unemployment.

The National blamed the inordinately large size of public sector for economic woes of the Middle East and suggested that the most sustainable solution is robust growth of private sector. The article also talked about the importance of educational reforms that can spur economic competitiveness. “Governments cannot offer a cure-all, but they can clear some of the old impediments,” the editor concluded.

Khaleej Times editorial declared that “young people must have proper systems and infrastructures to channel their talents and skill sets so there is a meaningful dimension to their lives”. The paper said that the youth of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria were filled with rage when they felt ignored and exploited by their governments. “Disaffected youth can be an explosive powder keg and contribute to instability by sheer frustration,” the editorial explained.

By Moign Khawaja ~ Editor – Arabian Gazette

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