Must Reads from Around the World: Feb. 7, 2012

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Syrian President Bashar Assad speaking during a Ramadan Iftar banquet in honor of Muslim clergymen, in Damascus, Syria, 24 August 2011. (Photo: SANA / EPA)

Syrian SituationGlobal Post reports on Syrian Christians’ reluctance to join the uprising against President Bashar Assad. “Syria’s Christians, a fellow minority, believe they need the ruling Assad regime for protection,” writes a Damascus correspondent. Meanwhile a New York Times op-ed by Nicholas Noe – a Bloomberg View contributor – argues the West must now “bargain with the devil,” Bashar Assad.

News from Down Under – The Global Mail, an Australian philanthropically funded, not-for-profit world news and features website, launched this week with a host of interesting stories. The picks of the bunch: “The Filthy Rich and The Racists in Mongolia’s Mining Boom” and two stories looking at the costs and minimal regulations of Australia’s mining industry.

The Italian Snob – The Atlantic has one of the most extensive interviews with former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi since he left office last year. Contributor Philip Delves Broughton talked to the most “ridiculed political figure in Europe” about his four-year-old grandson flirting with a pizza waitress, how the people miss him – and, of course, his legacy. An entertaining read.

A Tilted Predicament - Repairs to the Leaning Tower of Pisa have stripped the landmark of its “leaning-est” title, the New York Times reports. Although a church tower in Germany now holds the Guinness World record for the “Farthest Leaning Tower,” it appears there are new contenders.

The “Untouchable” - As elections in India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, draw closer, Foreign Policy looks at one candidate, Chief Minister Mayawati. Coming from one of India’s lowest castes, Mayawati’s political prominence is now a symbol of mobility.

Headed to Rio - Drawn by a booming economy, Brazil is quickly becoming a major draw for adventurous and educated young people.  “While there is crisis in other countries, we have this phenomenon developing here,” immigration official Paulo Abrao told the Washington Post.

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