Must-Reads from Around the World, May 16, 2012

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Arming Rebels - The Washington Post reveals Syrian rebels battling President Assad’s regime have begun receiving “significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks.” Opposition activists and foreign officials say the arms are paid for by Persian Gulf nations and coordinated in part by the U.S., according to the newspaper. But, “Obama administration officials emphasized that the United States is neither supplying nor funding the lethal material,” it notes.

Sunni Axis - Foreign Affairs writes about the growing improvement in relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. “As an important regional power, a member of NATO, and predominantly Sunni, Saudi Arabia saw Ankara as a valuable bulwark against Iran,” it says. “Riyadh would normally be worried about a non-Arab power’s presence in the region undermining its own position, but it considered Turkey a lesser evil compared to Iran.”

Free Press - Burma’s exiled Irrawaddy publication reports that media censorship will be abolished in the country “once the new Myanmar Press Council is formed in June.” However, the Thailand-based outlet cautions that: “veteran Burmese journalists who have read a draft of proposed press council regulations said they doubt that Burma will enjoy true freedom of press.”

Yes We Cannes – As the prestigious Cannes film festival kicks off, The Guardian will be live-blogging about the 12-day festival daily, beginning today with a look at the film Moonlight Kingdom, directed by Wes Anderson and starring Bruce Willis, which it calls the “only one game in town.” The paper’s film critics have concluded the festival is to be a “banquet of art and trash.”

Bosnia’s Trial – As Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic, nicknamed the “Butcher of Bosnia,” is put on trial for war crimes in The Hague 20 years after the Bosnian conflict began, The Daily Telegraph reports that the defendant “gave a thumbs-up” to his family in the courtroom, and later “made throat-cutting gestures” to a woman in the public gallery who lost 22 relatives to Bosnian Serb military forces.

Advertising Adversaries – With Facebook on the brink of becoming a public company with a market offering of $100 billion, CNN compares Facebook and Google as advertising platforms, citing a U.S.-based study by a search engine marketing company that concluded: “While Facebook is good, Google is better.”

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