Must-Reads from Around the World, June 14, 2012

Among today's stories: The Obama Administration ramps up its spying efforts in Africa, Hugo Chavez's campaign for another presidential term and how the lives of Greece's riches haven't been dented by the crisis.

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Eyes on Africa — The Washington Post reveals that the U.S. is expanding secret intelligence operations across the continent using unarmed turboprop aircrafts disguised as private planes. “Equipped with hidden sensors that can record full-motion video, track infrared heat patterns, and vacuum up radio and cellphone signals, the planes refuel on isolated airstrips favored by African bush pilots, extending their effective flight range by thousands of miles,” it says.

Going Caracas – As Hugo Chavez campaigns for a third term as Venezuela’s president, Al Jazeera English asks if Venezuelans are better off after more than a decade of his rule. “Opponents dismiss Chavez’s social programs… as short-term solutions aimed at solidifying his popularity among his base,” it writes. “But supporters say the improvements in their lives are evidence of the success of his policies, and are a firm foundation for Venezuela’s continued development.”

Greek Riches – The Guardian reports on how Greece’s super-rich have maintained lavish lifestyles and low profiles since the outbreak of the country’s economic calamities. “Nearly three years into their country’s worst crisis in modern times, life goes on as normal for Greece’s super-rich,” it says, noting that: “Three days before Greeks cast their ballots in a make-or-break election, their country could not be more divided.”

Cameron in the Dock – As David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, gives testimony at the Leveson Inquiry into press standards today, The Independent suggests that the politicians who pandered to Murdoch are not so much arrogant as they’re guilty of “being pathetically weak.” And The Daily Telegraph creates an impressive infographic illustrating the number of meetings Cameron had with the key players under scrutiny at the Leveson Inquiry and embroiled in the phone-hacking scandal.

Simplicity is Kyi? – As Burmese democratic heroine Aung San Suu Kyi’s European visits begin, The Financial Times warns “understandably excited” Europeans to be aware she now has “an altogether more difficult role” to pull off as a parliamentarian than when she was labeled a “freedom fighter” outside Burma’s political machine. It suggests she must decide whether to allow herself to be “feted as if she were the leader of her country” or simply “provide constructive back-up to Mr Thein Sein,” the president.


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