North Korea’s Dud – Amid widespread hype and anticipation, North Korea’s missile launch Friday morning came a cropper as the rocket disintegrated shortly after take off. But the bigger failure, Foreign Policy argues, is that of the U.S.’s yearlong diplomatic efforts to persuade the rogue nation’s new leader, Kim Jong-un, to abandon his country’s controversial nuclear program. Meanwhile, TIME’s Austin Ramzy explains why the “ballistic bust” doesn’t mean the world can breathe easy.
Malian Malaise – Less than a month after a military coup unseated a democratically elected government in Mali, civilian power was restored after the West African country’s former parliamentary speaker was sworn in as interim president, the BBC reports. Dioncounda Traore promptly threatened a “total war” against armed Tuareg separatists who have been waging a rebellion in the country’s north. While France, Mali’s former colonial ruler, has taken a guarded approach to any form of intervention, The Atlantic explains why the United States, which has been increasingly engaged in Saharan affairs, should be watching this conflict closely.
Ceasefire On Tenterhooks – The Syrian ceasefire brokered by U.N. envoy Kofi Annan appears under threat as forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad clashed with rebels near the border with Turkey on Friday, Reuters reports. Opposition forces have called for mass demonstrations across Syria to test the regime’s commitment to the hard-won deal, the Christian Science Monitor says, signaling the possibility of a return to violence.
Worked Up – Amid the uproar over Democrat activist Hilary Rosen criticizing Mitt Romney’s wife for never having “worked a day in her life”, the Washington Post interprets Rosen’s ultimate point as being a “legitimate” one that Ann Romney’s “privileged life experience is not typical,” even if she made that point “the wrong way.” The Guardian is blogging readers’ opinions on the matter, one of whom remarks, “it was Mitt himself who chose to give Ann a central role in his campaign to win the delicate hearts of women.”
Prohibited Presidency – As Egypt passes a bill prohibiting ex-Egyptian intelligence heads and senior officials of the fallen Mubarak regime from running as presidential candidates, Egyptian English-language publication Ahram Online argues that “disappointment” with the revolution’s aftermath has seen many Egyptian citizens “willingly promoting” Omar Suleiman, the former Vice President and Chief of Intelligence, for president, despite the new legislation preventing him from doing so.
Breivik Barred – In light of rightwing extremist Anders Breivik’s trial, which is expected to last for ten weeks from Monday, the Daily Telegraph’s correspondent in Oslo describes the country’s collective “revulsion” at the story, reporting that one major Norwegian paper, Dagbladet, has set up an alternative version of its website with a button to remove any coverage of the trial, to accommodate those “sick” of reading about Breivik.