Blame the Wife — The New York Times explains one element of the cultural history underlying the Chinese government’s formally charging Gu Kailai with the murder of the British businessman Neil Heywood. “The Chinese government,” the NYT writes, “almost certainly intentionally, has placed the larger-than-life Ms. Gu into a familiar Chinese framework: the conniving, bloodthirsty vixen whose hunger for money derailed her husband’s promising career.” As hyper-specific as this archetype may seem, there is actually considerable evidence in recent history — the Times points to Madame Mao and the Empress Dowager Cixi — of women taking the fall for systemic corruptions. If found guilty for her crime, Gu could face the death penalty.
The Olympics’ neighbor — “Everyone here hates the Olympics,” reads the spray-painted wall of a former peanut factory just outside of the 2012 Olympic stadium. Reuters reports on the backlash against the upcoming games in London, where the residents of one of the city’s most riot-prone neighborhoods in East London have been promised a real economic benefit, but have seen only nuisance from the event. And as soldiers arrive with electric fences, the working-class East Enders are feeling squeezed out of the games: “I’ve been promised a job working at the Olympics as a security guard, they’ve done all the vetting, all the checks, and I am still waiting. I am one of the statistics, one of the victims,” said one young man.
Leader Rising — Giuseppe Garibaldi, a 19th Century general and founding father of modern Italy, is set to be exhumed from his Caprera tomb, the BBC reports. Garibaldi’s descendants are reportedly concerned that his grave was tampered with and no longer contains the late general’s remains, so Italian authorities granted permission to open his tomb on an island off the coast of Sardinia. Garibaldi’s dying wish was supposedly to have his remains cremated, so there may be some debate over whether to honor his request if his body is successfully located.
U.N. Chief Pleas — Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, has “urged states to bridge differences ahead of Friday’s deadline for the draft of a new global agreement to control international arms sales,” the BBC writes. He told the negotiating nations, “We owe it to all the innocent civilians who have fallen victim to armed conflict and violence.” The U.N chief admitted that 30 days of talks in New York have yielded “very limited progress.” The U.S. has been hesitant about the international deal, opposing the stipulation to report ammunition exports in any text. Russia and China have also shown reservations, wanting restrictions to references to humanitarian law. All draft treaties require unanimous approval.