Must-Reads From Around the World, July 18, 2012

Today's global media stories look at evidence that a pirate leader has been granted diplomatic immunity by the Somali presidency, the defeat of Islamists at Libya's first elections since the overthrow of Gaddafi and the celebration of Nelson Mandela's 94th birthday.

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STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/GettyImages

South African schoolchildren sing happy birthday to former South African President Nelson Mandela as he turned 94 on July 18, 2012, at Batsogile Primary School in Soweto.

A Birthday for Good Deeds –  The world celebrates the 94th birthday of South African statesman Nelson Mandela by dedicating 67 minutes to “good deeds” in honor of his 67 years in public service. CBS News reports that Mandela’s birthday is a “celebration that gets expressed in many ways: through a song children in South Africa and beyond have been rehearsing; and through good works projects.” Madiba’s “fight against the persecution of apartheid, his decades in prison, and his emergence to become his country’s president made him an international hero” — a status recognized by the United Nations when it named July 18 as Nelson Mandela International Day.

A Longer Great Wall? — Chinese archeologists claim that the iconic Great Wall is longer than previously thought, writes the Los Angeles Times. Early last month, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage said it now believes the Wall is 13,171 miles long from one end to the other — more than half the circumference of the globe. The new measurements extend the eastern border of the Wall to the North Korean border and Koreans are contesting the move, claiming that China is “using the wall to wipe out Korean legacy, the same as they are doing with the Uighurs and Tibetans.” The crux of the dispute: what Chinese archeologists consider as ruins of the Great Wall are, according to Korean historians, relics built by Koreans of the ancient Goryeo Kingdom.

Superhighway for Bicycles — City planners in the Danish capital Copenhagen were thinking of ways to promote environmentally-friendly commuting and ended up with a superhighway for bikes, reports the New York Times. The cycle superhighway between the capital and suburb Albertslund opened in April and is the first of 26 routes that will be constructed to encourage more people to commute to and from Copenhagen on their bikes. Although Denmark already has a good network of bike paths, the quality of the routes is reportedly inconsistent. The cycle superhighway project, which has a budget of $1.6 million, aims to standardize and streamline the paths so that suburban commuters will “perceive these routes as a serious alternative, like taking the bus, car or train.” The next route to open will link the northwestern municipality of Fureso to Copenhagen.

Piracy with Impunity – Reuters exclusively reveals evidence found by a U.N. investigation that “Somalia’s president has shielded a top pirate leader from arrest by issuing him a diplomatic passport.” Mohamed Abdi Hassan “Afweyne” presented authorities in Malaysia with the passport on a trip in April. When questioned by Malaysian immigration, he provided a document issued by Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, which claimed that “Afweyne” was undertaking counter-piracy activities. The U.N. Monitoring Group has outlined in a report to the Security Council that “senior pirate leaders were benefitting from high level protection from Somali authorities and were not being sufficiently targeted for arrest or sanction by international authorities.”
Nazi Arrest – A 97-year-old man, wanted for war crimes during the Holocaust, has been detained by authorities in Hungary, the BBC writes. Laszlo Csatary holds the number one position on the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center’s most wanted list. He allegedly assisted in the murder of 15,700 Jews and played a an integral part in the deportation of 300 Jews from Kosice to Kamenetz-Podolsk in Ukraine in 1941, where virtually all were murdered. He was found last week to be living in Budapest by British tabloid newspaper, the Sun, prompting calls to have him prosecuted. The BBC earlier examined whether Csatary was worth pursuing, pointing to arguments by Hungarian researchers that “the evidence against him is flimsy, and the likelihood of a successful prosecution small.”
Liberal Libya — AlJazeera English analyzes the unexpected success of liberal-leaning parties in Libya’s first set of elections since the overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.  Despite being “seen as local heroes due to their sacrifices,” Islamists in Libya lack the “level of institutionalisation and interaction with the masses” of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Tunisia’s Ennahda, who triumphed at the ballot box. AlJazeera English further notes that, “the result was yet another paradox of the Arab Spring: a country that seemed to meet all of the conditions for an Islamist victory produced the sort of election results that liberals in Egypt and Tunisia could only dream about.”
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