Must-Reads from Around the World, May 3, 2012

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US Embassy Beijing Press Office / Reuters

An handout photo from US Embassy Beijing Press office shows blind activist Chen Guangcheng (2nd L) sitting in a wheelchair as he is accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke (2nd R) at a hospital in Beijing, May 2, 2012.

Dependent Dissident – As Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng undergoes medical procedures at a Beijing hospital after leaving his refuge at the U.S. Embassy in China, the Washington Post poses questions about the deal brokered between the U.S. and China, which would allow the activist to live freely in China. The piece notes that it “could prove disastrous” but is a “risk worth taking” to break China’s record of “hounding” political dissidents, and argues that the Obama Administration is responsible for defending him.

Rough Justice – The Jerusalem Post highlights comments by Richard Falk, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, voicing support for 1,550 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israel over their treatment. “Israel’s wide use of administrative detention flies in the face of international fair trial standards,” the newspaper quoted Falk as saying in a statement released from his Geneva headquarters.

Sectarian Stalemate – Australia’s Global Mail reports from Bahrain, where it says protests continue to divide the kingdom along dangerous fault lines, with nightly clashes between protesters and police and armed, pro-government civilian militias. “Above it all, one question looms large – will this quest for democracy result in Bahrain being taken over by its neighbor, Saudi Arabia?” asks the online-only magazine.

Truth Behind the Scream – In light of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch’s iconic painting, The Scream, auctioning for a record $120 million at Sotheby’s, the Guardian analyzes the details of the enigmatic piece, suggesting the orange sky is “not a natural sky at all but an inner mood,” describing the distant ship as “Dracula’s vessel come to bring death,” and saying of the subject himself, “this face does not scream: rather it is a scream.”

Formidable Flanby – Following a heated televised debate between the two French presidential candidates before Sunday’s run-off, The Economist argues that François Hollande, the Socialist front-runner, dispelled his image as a “Flanby” – a wobbly dessert – as he “kept his calm and held his own” against incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, whose ripostes were “not quite enough.” It concludes that Sarkozy “needed to dominate his opponent, not just to match him.”

State Matchmaking – The Los Angeles Times features an unusual drive in Nigeria to marry divorced or widowed women amid a sense of crisis about the number of divorcees. “The problem sharpened here after Kano state and 11 other predominantly Muslim states adopted sharia, or Islamic law, between 1999 and 2001, allowing men to divorce unilaterally simply by thrice stating “I divorce you,” an act that cannot be undone with a simple change of mind,” it writes.


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