Must-Reads from Around the World, July 24, 2012

In today's choices: Germany may play peace-broker in Afghanistan, plans for the Hong Kong of the Caribbean and violence in India's northeast.

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Ahmad Masood / Reuters

Afghan President Hamid Karzai

Calling for Discretion – Germany’s Der Spiegel reveals Afghan President Hamid Karzai has asked Berlin to act as a “discreet go-between” with the Taliban in the hopes of paving the way for eventual peace talks. “It is a role that Germany has played before — in an effort that was ultimately torpedoed by Karzai himself,” said the magazine. “It remains uncertain whether a second attempt could succeed,” it added.

Starting Anew – Boston-based Global Post reports from Trujillo, Honduras, where the government hopes to build a new semi-autonomous city-state with its own governing charter “made up of tried-and-tested political, economic and social regulations gleaned from around the world.” The controversial idea to create special development regions to attract outside investors was inspired by a 2011 TED talk by Paul Romer, a New York University economist, it said.

Sectarian Strife – India’s the Hindu newspaper reports from the troubled northeastern state of Assam, where the local government issued shoot-at-sight orders in one district Monday in response to communal violence. “Miscreants … set ablaze houses in several villages forcing residents to take shelter in relief camps,” it wrote. The death toll has risen to 20; meanwhile more than 40,000 people have fled their homes and taken shelter in 47 camps, it added.

Middle Class Mexico – The Washington Post examines the boost of returning migrants to Mexico’s middle class. The longer migrants remain in the United States, “the more likely the cash transfers will be used to start new businesses or to pay for homes, farm equipment and school tuitions,” and the more opportunities there are for upward mobility. Net migration has also reached zero for the time in 40 years. Last year, the number of Mexicans migrating and returning was roughly equivalent.

Street of Death – CNN observes the wreckage of the Bab el Hawa highway, the strategic crossroads abandoned by the Syrian government.  Dubbed the “Street of Death” by rebel fighters, until recently “anyone who dared set foot on it became a target.” It has since become a “bullet-riddled ghost town patrolled by rebels and a handful of shell-shocked residents.” One fighter explained that it “used to be a very classy area” and that “Turks would come here to see our village,” but “now it has all turned to hell.”

Leveson Enquiry Concludes — As former News of the World editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson are among eight suspects facing criminal charges over alleged phone hacking, the BBC analyzes what has been learned during the Leveson Enquiry into British media practices, as it reaches its final day. Despite the trivial having “jostled for attention alongside the serious,” it writes that, “Long after that publication has been recycled, the words uttered by several of the victims of media malpractice will linger.”

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