Groundhog Days — Pakistan’s Dawn ridicules the never-ending power struggle between the supreme court and the president. The court has once again ordered a prime minister — this time Raja Pervez Ashraf — to appear before it, likely to face contempt of court charges for failing to order the reopening of a Swiss investigation into President Asif Ali Zardari’s finances. “Another prime minister, another walk of shame,” began its op-ed entitled, “Déjà vu.”
Backroom Deal — The Japan Times reports Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda avoided a “double punch” no confidence vote and censure motion Wednesday by promising a general election “soon,” in an apparent deal with the Liberal Democratic Party. At stake: a contentious tax bill raising the national sales tax to 10%. “But Noda’s vague vow to hold an election in the near future leaves room for interpretation and it is not clear when he would actually call it,” it said.
Profitable Climate — The New York Times reveals how coolant gas manufacturers use a U.N. compensation system for big financial gains. Instead of reducing carbon emissions, they instead destroy an obscure — but warming — waste gas and then sell their credits on international markets. The U.N. is struggling to undo “this unintended bonanza,” it writes. “The lucrative incentive has become so entrenched that efforts to roll it back are proving tricky, even risky.”
Sinai’s Jihadists — The BBC considers why Egypt’s Sinai peninsula remains a “tempting location for jihadists,” noting that the “barren, partly mountainous triangle wedged between Africa and Asia has always been harder to police than the heavily populated Nile Valley and Delta of mainland Egypt.” Most of its inhabitants are ethnically different to mainland Egyptians and feel they have been distanced from the government-backed investment and economic development on the mainland.
Rural Skeptics — While in the past year Burma’s former military junta has “embraced an economic and political opening that has won praise from Washington to Tokyo,” Reuters examines how in the farming heartland, home to the majority of the Burmese population, “change is coming either too slowly, or in the wrong forms.” Farmer skepticism to planned reforms stems from the government’s slowness to aid rural disaster areas when Cyclone Nargis struck four years ago.
Peaceful Handover — Libya’s National Transitional Council officially handed over power to the General National Congress, the national assembly formed by elections last month. CCN writes: “The ceremony in a conference center in Tripoli marked the country’s first peaceful government transition since before Moammar Gadhafi seized power in 1969.” It was held on the 20th day of Ramadan, “to mark the anniversary of the start of the liberation of the capital city from Gadhafi’s grip.”