Treaty Talk – A fiscal compact aimed at capping euro-zone debt was signed by 25 of the 27 European Union states on Friday. The Guardian reports that the new measures will be put to the test immediately, as Spain and the Netherlands have announced they will miss their deficit-cutting targets. Both nations will face fines for not meeting their numbers.
Curiously Critical – Global Times examines China’s “re-education through labor” punishment policy following controversy over the two-year sentence handed down to a man for spreading rumors about the supposed breakout of a contagious disease in Baoding, Hebei Province. “Almost unanimously, experts are saying that the punishment was too severe and lacked a sound legal basis,” it notes.
Senegal Run-Off – AFP reports on the unifying opposition to incumbent Abdoulaye Wade’s bid for a third term as president, as his rival Macky Sall heads into a second-round vote with the 85-year-old later this month following last weekend’s election. “Sall, a former prime minister and Wade protege, is gathering influential support from runners-up left behind in Sunday’s poll,” it writes.
Egg on His Face – The BBC reports that French President Nicholas Sarkozy was booed and forced to take shelter in a bar which was then pelted with eggs, while campaigning in the country’s southwest Basque region ahead of April’s elections. “Mr Sarkozy described the protesters — Basque nationalists and supporters of his rival Socialist candidate Francois Hollande — as ‘hooligans’,” says the Beeb.
Get out the Vote – In the first elections since the bloody crackdown on dissidents in 2009, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged Iranian voters to participate in Friday’s parliamentary vote, the NewYork Times writes. While casting his own vote, Khamenei told reporters that a strong turnout would be key in sending a message to the nation’s “arrogant Western enemies.” On a lighter note, Foreign Policy put together a game of who said it, featuring the supreme leader and Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum.
Panel Problems – Efforts to reduce Zurich’s carbon footprint may leave the city less aesthetically pleasing, as the new regulations allow for the installation of solar panels throughout the historic city. The German-language Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reports no one is less thrilled about the change than the Swiss Heritage Society; the group argues the rule should not apply to protected buildings, which make up 2.5% of all Swiss buildings.