Must-Reads from Around the World, June 29, 2012

Today's picks: Germany and the E.U.'s crunch summit, the U.S.'s Iranian oil sanctions and Hong Kong's handover birthday looms.

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Thierry Tronnel / Thierry Monasse / Corbis

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti (L) talks with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) during a family photo session during a meeting of European Union leaders for the EU summit at EU's headquarters in Brussels, capital of Belgium, on June 28, 2012

Changing Fortunes? – Reuters notes a surge both in Asian shares and the euro following the agreement by Eurozone members at the E.U. summit over bond support for Spain and Italy. The euro rose by over 1%; and while the dollar retreated due to Friday morning’s recovery, dollar-based oil, copper and gold bounced back. Ayako Sera, a senior market economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, said: “Because market expectations on the summit were so depressed, it was a bit like there was a drop of rain in desert.”

Oil Trading – Reuters reports the U.S. has given China a six-month reprieve from sanctions for buying Iranian oil, “avoiding a diplomatic spat with a country whose support it needs to try to quell violence in Syria and rein in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.” It has now spared all 20 of Iran’s major oil buyers from its unilateral sanctions. The agency also says Iran has warned South Korea it would reconsider ties with Seoul if the country stopped importing its oil from them.

Handover Blues – Ahead of the 15th anniversary on July 1 of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule, the Washington Post explores the territory’s identity crisis–and stalled efforts to develop a new school curriculum promoting awareness of and identification with the “motherland.” Noting China’s Communist Party deploys nationalism to silence critics, Fung Wai Wah, of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, said: “We suspect they are trying to brainwash our students.”

Rise and Fall – Reuters analyses the rapid decline of Turkey’s military generals, who “once bestrode Turkey the masters of all they surveyed.”  Even “in quiet times, from their staff headquarters opposite parliament, they commanded obedience.” At present roughly 20% of generals are imprisoned on accusations of various plots against current Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. In once alleged plot, termed “Sledgehammer,” 364 serving and retired officers are on trial.

Taxing times – Ahead of the implementation of Australia’s controversial carbon tax, the Guardian examines its toll on the Labor government, whose popularity has hit a 40-year low. A poll conducted in early June showed only 37% of Australians were in favor of the tax, while 59% opposed it. When Prime Minister Julia Gillard was elected two years ago, public opinion was more evenly divided, but has soured due to Gillard’s broken promise on the eve of her election that carbon tax would not be implemented under a government led by her.

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