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Europe

European Press Review: The Terminator runs for Governor

Europe’s Friday papers – especially the Austrian ones – are all aflutter about Schwarzenegger’s decision to run for governor of California. But skepticism remains if the Terminator can solve the state’s problems.

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Doubts remain whether Arnold Schwarzenegger has what it takes to be governor of California.

Austria’s Die Presse defended Hollywood actor Schwarzenegger's right to run for governor of California, but doubts whether he is up to the job. It describes the megastar and former bodybuilder as a "nice Austrian, likeable and successful," but wondered whether he has the qualities required to tackle California's budget deficit and troubled energy sector.

Another Austrian paper, Der Standard , opined that going into politics is a clever career move for an actor who will soon be too old to take part in action films. It is difficult to imagine a Terminator with an old man's face and suffering from gout, the paper pointed out and while warning of the difficulties he is likely to encounter, it wished Arnie success should he be elected.

London’s Guardian was scathing in its criticism of California’s problems, saying it is possible that a robot – such as the ones Schwarzenegger has played – could do a better job as governor than the present Democrat incumbent, Gray Davis. But even if this were the case, said the paper, it is not the choice facing voters in October. They will be trying to find a politician who has the skill and ideas to rescue their state from a $38-billion deficit, an energy crisis and many intractable woes for which Mr Davis, unfairly or not, is blamed.

On the latest bombing in Baghdad Britain’s Financial Times wrote: Another day, another ambush, or 12 – which is currently the average number of daily attacks on U.S. occupation forces in Iraq. The paper said the reality is, as Washington is beginning to appreciate, that the United States needs help if there is to be any chance of making a success of Iraq’s transition from tyranny – it is to be hoped towards a representative democracy. The occupation needs to be widened into a genuine peacekeeping and reconstruction operation, and the only way to do that is to get a new mandate from the UN Security Council.

Italy’s Corriere della Sera said that in post-Saddam Iraq, the worst possible scenario that experts at the Pentagon could have imagined is currently emerging. Thursday’s truck bomb attack against the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad, it said, is not only a massacre but marks a new dimension in the challenge facing the United States, because it proves that the rebels are coordinating their actions and increasingly taking the initiative.

In a comment on the conviction of one of the men involved in the Bali bombing massacre, Amrozi, the Geneva-based Tagesanzeiger wrote: Indonesia’s economic crisis of the past few years has widened the gulf between rich and poor even more, and misery is the breeding ground on which terrorist organizations like Jemaah Islamiya thrive. It said the radical Islamic group is thought to have about 200 to 1000 members worldwide, and the Indonesian state offers them plenty of opportunities to go into hiding. President Megawati Sukarnoputri must do rather more, the Swiss paper concludes, than simply signing Amrozi’s death sentence.