Must-Reads From Around the World: March 8, 2012

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Nuclear North Korea —  Based on newly released satellite images, the Washington-based Institute of Science and International Security says North Korea has made progress in building a light-water reactor to expand its nuclear program, The Guardian reports. (North Korea says the reactor is for electricity generation.) This information comes a week after North Korea pledged to suspend its uranium enrichment program and nuclear and long-range missile tests in exchange for food aid from the United States. Foreign Policy argues that the only practical solution for the United States is to learn to live with a nuclear North Korea — “and wait until the regime crumbles under the weight of its own inefficiency.”

Forgetting Palestine —  The New York Times explores the diminished role of Palestine in current discussions about the Middle East. Eclisped by continued revolutions across the Arab world, Europe’s economic woes and the U.S. presidential elections, the Palestinian territories are facing marginalization, says Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Syria’s Hidden Wealth — According to U.S. intelligence, wealthy Syrians with ties to President Bashar al-Assad may be transferring millions of dollars into foreign accounts, the Washington Post reports. It is unclear, however, whether this points to waning faith within Assad’s inner circle, or whether rich Syrians are simply hedging their bets. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has asked for preliminary military options to respond to the Syrian conflict, the Pentagon’s top officials revealed on Wednesday, while asserting that the administration still believed that diplomatic and economic pressure was the best way to protect Syrians, the New York Times says.

Finding Kony — A video calling for American involvement in the hunt for Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony has gone viral. The  29-minute clip created by San Diego-based NGO Invisible Children has been viewed on YouTube more than 20 million times and become a top trending topic on Twitter by Wednesday night. The attention has brought international support (and criticism) toward efforts to find him, The Guardian reports. Although there is no doubt Kony is a bad man, TIME’s Ishaan Tharoor explains why its okay to feel a little uneasy about the social-media campaign.

Too Young to Die — A recent UNICEF report has placed a spotlight on the issue of teen suicide in Russia. The nation has the world’s third-highest teen suicide rate behind neighboring Belarus and Kazakhstan. A lack of support, both familial and professional, maybe the cause, the Washington Post writes.

Women of Opium Nation — Reflecting on how Afghanistan’s sprawling opium trade is adversely affecting its women, Foreign Affairs tells the stories of young Afghan women who are being sold to pay off opium debts. Failed harvests force indebted fathers to sell their daughters, the writer reveals, but men are forced to continue to plant poppies for lack of a more profitable crop.

End of Ahmadinejad —  The Christian Science Monitor reports that last week’s parliamentary elections in Iran have reduced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to no more than a lame duck president. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and his loyalists, who have been locked in a battle with Ahmadinejad, won over 75% of seats in the vote. Max Fisher writes in The Atlantic that this outcome could herald a change not just for Ahmadinejad’s political future but also Iran’s broader political system.

 

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