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Here is what newspapers around the nation are saying:


Expensive, computer-based books will never replace $10 paperbacks or even $25 hard-covers. As an invention, the book is close to perfect: cheap, durable, portable and complete unto itself. Consider also the aesthetics of ink and beautiful typefaces on paper. It was clear from the start that few would want to curl up on the couch with a green computer screen. Still, for nearly a decade now, computer jockeys and software writers have been trumpeting `the end of the book" and the triumph of computers enhanced by devices that permit the "reader" to ask the books questions or jump electronically from one book to another. Computer jockeys flock to the stuff. But the prediction that computer-based books would make the pen-and-paper variety superfluous now seems a case of computer fetishism and software hubris. Look around you on the beach this Labor Day.


Benjamin Chavis is gone as national director of the NAACP. What is left, we hope, is a still-vital organization poised for rejuvenation. The NAACP now faces the daunting, but exhilarating, task of reaching . . . all black Americans while keeping intact the strong alliance with white Americans that has marked its success.


Mexico's national elections were not perfect. But there was no evidence of the massive, systematic, coordinated fraud that has marred past Mexican elections . . . (and) no doubting that Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon received enough votes of confidence to become Mexico's legitimate president . . . though he appeared likely to win with less than 50 percent of the vote. Mexico has taken a giant stride toward full democracy. And that is something to celebrate.


The floods of nostalgia over Woodstock '94 couldn't quite hide the persistence of a certain difference of opinion - known in old-fashioned parlance as a generation gap . . . (Now) the current issue of "American Demographics" contains the results of a study called "Name That Tune," in which sociologists Nicholas Zill and John Robinson demonstrate quantitatively that despite the passage of years and the mainstreaming of rock 'n'roll, for rock lovers and their parents the generation gap never really went away. The baby boomers who went for rock in a big way when it was still new love it. The boomers' parents who hated rock then continue to hate it into their sixtysomething years; of the over-75 set, only 7 percent like rock, compared to 70 percent of young adults. This, says a researcher, is not just a generation gap but a "cohort chasm."


Each year, 94 million more babies are born than were born the year before. Never before in history has the world's population grown at such a rapid rate. If growth continues on the same course, humankind will more than double in size by the middle of next century, numbering 12.5 billion people. That portends a grim future for many of those new babies. A growing number will starve to death. Others will live in poverty or die from a lack of adequate health care. More than 170 nations will be represented at next month's International Conference on Population and Development. The United Nations has proposed - and the United States is backing - a simple, humane solution to a potential world crisis: improving the educational and social status of the world's women. It deserves passage.