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Europe

European Press Review: A Menu of Sour Grapes and Human Flesh

The editorials in the European Press on Thursday took in Russia’s reluctance to sign the Kyoto Protocol, the aftermath of Germany’s Christian Democrats’ party congress and a cannibal’s gruesome tale.

Russia’s refusal to approve the Kyoto Protocol for climate change in its current form translates into a cold shower for international efforts to control emissions of green house gases, wrote the conservative Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten. Moscow’s reasons for not signing are weak, and they only represent a general lack of responsibility in solving global problems, said the daily.

But is the climate initiative really dead without Russia’s approval asked Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung? Not dead, the paper said, answering its own question, but in a comatose state. Perhaps Moscow’s “njet” will stop countries from fixating on the protocol and actually force them look at what they can do to reduce emissions, the paper mused. But what about having a bad conscious or feeling guilty about rejecting its international responsibility? It’s not happening in Russia, according to the paper, where such feelings are overshadowed by a shattered economy.

Meanwhile in Germany, the Christian Democrats’ successful party congress in Leipzig is still making headlines, but not everyone’s happy with the outcome, namely their coalition partner -- the Christian Socialist Union. Austria’s Der Standard paper wrote that CSU leader Edmund Stoiber left the party congress like a schoolboy who had just failed a test. In Leipzig, Stoiber realized he is no longer number one in the Union, after seeing how much support and wild applause CDU leader Angela Merkel received. The paper went on to say that the fact that Stoiber posed a serious challenge to Chancellor Schröder in the last election is yesterday’s news. Angela Merkel is the apple of everyone’s eye now, Der Standard added.

Die Welt agreed with its Austrian counterpart by saying that members of the CSU are definitely irritated by their partners’ power trip in Leipzig. One leading CSU member rejected the notion of Edmund Stoiber as a former candidate for chancellor, suggesting that he still has a chance in the next election. The Christian Social Union has in the meantime gone on the defensive, the daily wrote, with members saying that the CDU is still reliant on them.

Turning to the gruesome murder trial in Germany of a self-confessed cannibal, the Frankfurter Rundschau took a matter-of-fact view of events and used a sensible but cold editorial to describe the indescribable, how the defendant told the court of how he killed, cooked and ate an alleged willing participant. Prosecutors have charged the 42-year-old computer expert with murder for the purposes of sexual pleasure and with "disturbing the peace of the dead". But behind all that, the Rundschau said, is the horrendous story of a man’s fantasy which could no longer be bridled once the opportunity to fulfill it had been presented itself. As for the cannibal himself, the paper said, he’s enjoying life in prison because as he put it, he’s well-cared for and the food tastes good.