Perilous Path – The Independent of London reports on how the already dangerous journey for refugees fleeing the violence in Syria has become even deadlier in recent weeks as President Bashar al-Assad attempts to tighten control of the country’s borders with fresh landmines, according to the paper’s interviews with aid workers and fleeing refugees.
Indian Intrigue – The Indian Express reports two army units that moved towards New Delhi on a January night without notifying the authorities raised an alarm in the capital. “This is a story you would tell with extreme care and caution. But it so starkly characterises the current state of top-level politico-military relations that it is a folly to keep it under wraps, as the entire establishment has tried to do for a full 11 weeks now,” begins its account.
Warring Neighbors – Despite the formal peace that supposedly exists between Sudan and its new neighbor South Sudan, Germany’s Der Spiegel looks at the brutal war raging in the border province of South Kordofan. “Civilians are the primary victims of President Omar Bashir’s fragmentation bombs, but the world has taken little notice of the violence,” writes the magazine.
In the Closet – Swiss newspaper Le Temps (via Worldcrunch) documents the danger that gay and lesbian youths face in Iraq. Due to public death threats and increasing violence from militias, many are choosing to flee the country. The government offers little help as constitutional law is overshadowed by religious proclamations in Iraq and “contradictions between the two often lead to ambiguous and dangerous legal vacuums,” an Iraqi senator tells the newspaper.
Election 2012 – The Daily Telegraph reports that more than 1 million of France’s 2.5 million expatriates may have the right to vote in this month’s presidential election. The expatriate vote, along with a popularity boost from Nicolas Sarkozy’s response to the threat of radical Islamists, could help the incumbent overtake Socialist Party candidate François Hollande. On Wednesday, Hollande outlined his first 60 days in office, if elected. Reuters details his plans calling for frozen fuel prices, a 30% increase in welfare payouts and cuts to the salaries of cabinet ministers.
Democratic Erosion – In the wake of the military junta seizing power in Mali, the Africa Progress Panel, a Geneva-based group headed by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, argues that the coup “threatens to disrupt over two decades of democratic governance” in the West African country.