March 29, 2002 11:00 pm

Rochester, N.Y., Democrat and Chronicle:

Its been a long haul since the days when most film producers would rather cast whites in black face than use African-American actors. Then there was the Hollywood era when the few blacks who could get work in the industry were relegated to playing household help, minstrel dancers and buffoons.

Suddenly, there are three black actors who have won an Oscar for a lead role two more than there had been in the 74-year history of the Academy Awards. ...

Another once formidable barrier for African Americans has been broken through.

At Sundays Academy Awards, Halle Berry became the first African-American woman to win an Oscar for best actress and Denzel Washington followed in Sidney Poitiers footsteps to win the best actor prize.

Berry and Washington could have easily grabbed their Oscars, smiled appreciatively, ran through the obligatory thank-yous and gone about their business. But they knew better. They understood the importance of paying tribute to the black actors who preceded them.

... There was a long line of black actors, whose names were not called, but who no doubt were on the minds of Berry and Washington. People like Hattie McDaniels, who in 1939 won an Oscar for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind becoming the first black Oscar winner. Others who might have come to mind were Eartha Kitt, Eddie Rochester Anderson and Ethel Waters.

On all of their shoulders, Berry and Washington stand proudly.


Svenska Dagbladet, Stockholm, Sweden:

Can the Arab summit in Beirut solve some of the half-century old fundamental antagonism that has fed the 18-month-old second intifada? It doesnt seem likely.

The Israelis cannot enter negotiations before the Palestinians stop their acts of violence and the Palestinians cannot enter negotiations before the Israelis have withdrawn the troops from the occupied territories.

The holy wars supporters in the states that want to fight until the last Palestinian are not likely to suddenly turn into angels of peace. The protection that Israel can obtain will be fragile. Yet there is only one road to the implementation of the U.N.s resolutions on an Israeli withdrawal in exchange for peace and security through the negotiating table, which is Israels best bet at avoiding continued bloodshed and isolation.


San Antonio Express-News:

The sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church is so widespread it is now impossible to believe that the incidence of priests who have engaged in pedophilia is isolated either in numbers or geographic location.

Sexual abuse cases involving cover-ups at high levels of the church have been reported not only in the United States but also in England, France and Australia. Since January, 55 priests in the United States have been removed because of reports of sexual abuse.

Given the global reach of these horrific crimes, the decision of Pope John Paul II on Thursday to break his long silence in this matter was wise. In his pre-Easter message, the pope denounced the grave scandal. ...

Sin is a matter for the church. However, the sexual abuse of children by priests or anyone else is not only a sin but also a crime. As such, it must not be left to the hierarchy of the church to stop. ...

How the church chooses to reform itself to prevent the exploitation of children is its own business.

However, the safety of children is the publics business. ... There is no excuse for looking the other way when children are abused.