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Europe

German Press Review: From Boston to Washington?

Many German newspapers on Monday commented on the start the Democratic National Convention in Boston and John Kerry's chances to become US president. Editorials also focused on the crisis in Sudan and the Tour de France.

The Ostthüringer Zeitung in eastern German town of Gera is convinced that neither economic upswing, the public debt nor tax cuts will decide this election. It will be primarily a referendum on Bush’s foreign policy, the paper opined, asking whether the Iraq war right and necessary. Has America become safer because of Bush or have his policies increased the risk of terrorist attacks? Bush has to justify himself for the pre-war rhetoric that has meanwhile been exposed as lies, the paper commented. And Kerry will have to go on explaining why he himself voted for the war for which he now reproaches Bush.

The left-wing taz newspaper in Berlin wrote that at the end of the week, the standoffish John Kerry will be presenting himself as a beaming alternative to the incumbent president, and not only many Americans will draw hope for better times from that. It said that also among people in the rest of the world who are not entitled to vote in November there is likely to be majority that is longing for Bush to be voted out of office. That's because Bush stands for arrogance, provinciality, barefaced lies – and refusal to listen to reason, the paper commented.

Another Berlin newspaper, the Berliner Zeitung commented on the situation in Sudan’s western region of Darfur, where up to 30,000 people, most of them black Africans, have been killed in violence blamed mainly on Arab militias, and more than one million people have fled their homes. Whatever it was that prevented the conflict from appearing earlier on the radar screens of global politics and setting off the alarm, the power of the pictures has achieved it, helped by the power of words. A comparison with the Rwandan genocide has been effectively drawn, even if it is far-fetched, the paper said.

Many German dailies commented on the Tour de France cycling event, which US cyclist Lance Armstrong won for a record sixth time on Sunday. The Freiburg-based Badische Zeitung wrote: Armstrong is someone who is driven by ambition, he's a meticulous planner, a pedant and a leader. Someone who puts together a team that has to submit to the needs of its chief up to the point of self-sacrifice. These were not the qualities that fans were applauding at the side of the road, but many people wish German cycling pro Jan Ulrich had a few of them.