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Here's what newspapers around the nation are saying:

Chicago Tribune

TAPED CONFESSION: Doug Harcleroad, a district attorney in Lane County, Ore., had a change of heart about the wisdom of his decision to secretly tape a prisoner's religious confession to his priest. "There are some things that are legal and ethical, but are simply not right," he said. That may be true. But taping a confidential communication between a prisoner and a priest isn't one of them - because not only is it "not right," it probably isn't legal and it certainly isn't ethical. When a penitent - who in this case happened to be a prisoner - confesses his sins and asks forgiveness, he has every right to expect he is communicating with God through a priest, not with a prosecutor through a tape recorder. . . .

The Boston Globe

RESPECT FOR LIFE: America's social scientists warn of the coming of millions of economically and morally impoverished youngsters who have little respect for the own lives and even less for the lives of others. The nation's expanding population of youngsters - approximately 40 million children under the age of 10 - will reach the age of peak criminal activity in another decade. Criminologists . . . predict the boom in boys in the 14- to 17-year-old category will yield an additional 30,000 murderers, muggers and other dangerous felons as early as the year 2000. But child welfare specialists, under the leadership of the Children's Defense Fund, believe much of the carnage is preventable. But first, investment in children must find its rightful place at the top of the American agenda. Much of moral indigence is rooted in poor prenatal health, poverty, child abuse and substandard housing. But elected officials can be obtuse, as evidenced by recent attacks on funding for early childhood education, child care, public health . . . .

The Atlanta Constitution

WRONG ISSUE: It is a shame that Israel's election for prime minister hinged essentially on the issue of personal safety of Israelis. If a Jewish fanatic hadn't assassinated Yitzhak Rabin and if Arab zealots hadn't sent suicide bombers to terrorize Israel's cities, the campaign might have been focused on less emotional issues. The fact that it didn't is a victory for extremists - Jewish and Arab. (Benjamin) Netanyahu's whisker-thin victory shows Israelis are divided about 50-50 over his emphasis on security vs. Peres' focus on conciliation. This split . . . could have a moderating influence on tough-talking Netanyahu. Then again, he could charge ahead with promised hard-line policies that could easily upset the Mideast peace process.

The New York Times

REPEAT HISTORY: The failure of Soviet economic policy was so staggering that it is hard to believe anyone would seriously suggest trying it again. But that is just what the Russian Communist Party proposes. With a few concessions to the changed nature of the Russian economy, the Communists would essentially roll back history and reinstitute the kind of command system that left the Soviet Union in a stupor. After five years of badly managed economic reform, many Russians would welcome some relief . . . . They are angered by new economic inequities, including windfall fortunes some of their countrymen made through the government's corrupt privatization program. But the answer to these problems is a more honest government, more generous social welfare programs and a better regulated market economy. Despite the uneven introduction of economic reform, the Russian economy seems finally to be stabilizing . . . . It would be a cruel mistake to dismantle when it seems ready to deliver real benefits. . . .