Free Olympics – Writing in the Guardian, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei — who withdrew from the Beijing 2008 Olympics opening ceremony and was declared a threat to the police state — explains how he sees the London Games differing. “I don’t know how London will cope, but I believe it will be more relaxed than Beijing,” he concludes. “In London, the people will be able to participate in and celebrate the joy of the Games.”
Mali Woes – The New York Times reports from Mali, where “a worsening climate of repression and intimidation” is descending on not just the extremist ministate in the north but in the rest of the country under the military regime that seized power in a coup d’état in March. “Rather than taking on the Islamists who have seized northern Mali, the military in the south appears intent on striking back at rivals who carried out a failed countercoup in late April,” it wrote.
Palestinian PM – The Independent interviews Salam Fayyid, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister, who fears that the Palestinian cause has been pushed off the agenda by the Arab Spring, the eurozone crisis and upcoming U.S. elections.”Our cause has never been this marginalized,” he said. “Ever. This is our greatest challenge.” Fayyid is particularly critical of what he argues is the West’s failure to more “seriously” tackle Israel over its violations of international law.
Iran Tackles Prostitution – The BBC analyzes the announcement of plans to clamp down on prostitution by the Iranian government. Considering “it is not common for Iranian officials to admit to the existence of prostitution”, which is typically “portrayed as a Western plot to create a cultural metamorphosis in society and corrupt Iranian youth”, this latest step appears to be an “acknowledgment by the authorities of the extent of the problem.”
Turkey: Hub of Revolution – As two more Syrian diplomats defect from Bashar Assad’s regime, the Washington Post examines the position of neighboring Turkey as the hub of the revolution, providing an illegal border crossing for rebel fighters. While Syria also shares its border with Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan, it is in Turkey, “whose government long ago embraced calls for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, that the Syrian rebels have found the warmest welcome.”