Must-Reads from Around the World, April 20, 2012

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Steve Crisp/Reuters

Force India Formula One driver Nico Hulkenberg of Germany drives during the first practice session of the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix at the Sakhir circuit in Manama April 20, 2012.

Bahrain Protests – The Guardian reports on a wave of demonstrations in Bahrain to coincide with the controversial Formula One Grand Prix this weekend. The government and organizers have insisted that the event would proceed as planned, but concerns are mounting over security forces’ use of birdshot and live ammunition, the paper writes. “Manama is under police lockdown,” activist Ala’a Shehabi tweeted, according to the paper.

Joint Ownership – Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reports that Islamabad and Washington have begun exploring the possibility of “joint ownership” of drone attacks against militant targets in the tribal belt between Pakistan and Afghanistan after the U.S. refused to halt its predator strikes. “This development has been accompanied by a softening of the position taken by the government and parliament on the issue of drone attacks,” writes the daily.

Effusive Praise – China’s Community Party propaganda machine continues to show Beijing’s insecurity over fallout from the Bo Xilai affair by churning out yet another commentary heralding the party’s actions. The latest in the People’s Daily, under the headline “CPC shows no tolerance for corruption,” even spells out its worst fears: “If the issue [corruption] is left unattended, a country may implode, its ruling power will collapse, and its society left in chaos.”

Deadline Headlines – Amid the furor surrounding British Home Secretary Theresa May’s apparent blunder regarding the deadline for radical cleric Abu Qatada to appeal his deportation, BBC News argues that the Home Office was actually in “the driving seat,” regardless of delighted “headline writers” and “faff” about the dispute, and that in reality the expiry of the deadline is “extremely complicated.”

Federal Failings – As Libya’s National Transitional Council attempts to consolidate its power over the post-revolutionary state, Al Jazeera highlights federalism in a country where local militias and activist groups are the “primary barrier to stability, reconstruction, and a democratic transition.” The piece argues that the “central authority” the Libyans accept as “legitimate” needs to overcome the country’s heritage of peripheral power.

Elusive DialogueThe Independent questions how former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s desired “political dialogue” with Syria is to be achieved, suggesting that any compliance on President Bashar al-Assad’s part would be “political suicide” for the Syrian leader, whose regime is “rotting” beneath the surface. It also queries who would enter into this dialogue, describing the opposition as “squabbling factions,” who are “detached” from the military resistance forces.

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