Must-Reads from Around the World, August 8, 2012

Among today's picks: factional politics in China, the emerging proxy wars in the Middle East and remembering 8-8-88 in Burma.

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China's President Hu Jintao (L) and Vietnam's Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong walk past a guard of honour during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, October 11, 2011. (Photo: China Daily / Reuters)

China's President Hu Jintao (L) and Vietnam's Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong walk past a guard of honour during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, October 11, 2011. (Photo: China Daily / Reuters)

Internal Affairs – Reuters reports that Chinese President Hu Jintao is poised to promote close ally Hu Chunhua — the party boss of Inner Mongolia — to the Communist Party’s highest levels “in a bid to retain clout and preserve his legacy after retiring as party chief” early next year. The New York Times says the party is pushing back against a more outspoken military seeking greater influence over politics with “a highly visible campaign against disloyalty and corruption …”

Intervention – The Guardian reports on Iranian moves to influence events in Syria and the broader region. “Iran has launched a new campaign to intervene in the Syrian crisis, sending its top officials across the Middle East, blasting U.S. ‘warmongering’ and publicly backing a defiant Bashar Assad …” it wrote. Meanwhile, the New Yorker examines where Syria’s war may lead: “… We may well be speaking openly about a new Cold War … with new proxy conflicts yet to come.”

Landmark – Burmese media in exile The Irrawaddy looks back at August 8, 1988, “when hundreds of thousands of Burmese from all walks of life joined a popular protest in the former capital Rangoon to topple the dictator Ne Win’s single party rule that had oppressed them for 26 years.” Its enduring significance: “… The day still stands as an important milestone in modern Burmese history — a day that marked the emergence of a full-fledged democracy movement …”

Contemplating the Future – The illness and withdrawal from public view of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, “the rebel-turned-technocrat” who has ruled Ethiopia since 1991, has “given Ethiopians cause to contemplate what their nation — now enjoying one of the longest sustained periods of economic development in its history — might look like without him,” the Washington Post writes. Tola Benti, a young businessman who welcomes a change of leadership, said: “He’s like other leaders in Africa; some are better and some are worse, but all of them are addicted to power.”

Mixed Messages – Germany’s Der Spiegel observes that while the West has largely been “vocally critical of the trial against the anti-Putin punk band Pussy Riot in Moscow,” German Chancellor Angela German is displeased that “German members of a dialogue group aimed at improving ties with Russia have been largely silent.” Pussy Riot could face a seven year prison sentence for singing a defamatory song about Russian President Vladimir Putin in a church: The Moscow judge presiding over the trial said she’ll issue a verdict on August 17.

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