Greek Compliance – Germany’s Der Spiegel examines the perhaps surprising results of assessing Athens’ austerity measures. “Many German politicians accuse Greece of not doing enough to cut spending,” it wrote. “But studies show that, measured in relative terms, Athens has carried out the most brutal austerity program in the E.U.’s history. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is making it clear that he wants to change his country’s culture of cronyism.”
Marital Breakdown – Reuters reveals comments made Wednesday by Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to Washington, that the U.S. and Pakistan should “divorce” given unrealistic expectations in both countries. “If in 65 years, you haven’t been able to find sufficient common ground to live together, and you had three separations and four reaffirmations of marriage, then maybe the better way is to find friendship outside of the marital bond,” it reported he said.
Rights Boost – The Los Angeles Times reports on a key decision by Mexico’s top court Tuesday over military trials of human rights abuses. The Mexican Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional part of the military law that allowed soldiers accused of abusing civilians to be tried by military tribunals. “… the court cited an article of the Mexican Constitution that states that military courts should ‘in no case and for no reason’ have jurisdiction over civilians,” it said.
Foreign Fighters — Reuters reports on the U.K. joining the U.S. in warning Syria over using the threat of chemical weapons as “completely unacceptable,” forcing them to “revisit their approach” to the conflict. Meanwhile, Al Jazeera English writes that “Syrians battling government forces in Aleppo” have expressed “disappointment” that “more local residents have not joined their cause.” Instead, the rebels have been joined by foreign fighters (some of whom have claimed allegiance to al-Qaeda), while the majority of young rebels have come from rural areas around the city.
Old Wounds Reopened– CNN observes how the ongoing islands dispute between Japan and China has led to old tensions resurfacing. Known as the Diaoyu Islands by the Chinese and the Senkaku Islands by the Japanese, they’re “symbolic of what many in China see as unfinished business, redressing the impact of Japanese occupation in the 1930s and 1940s.” While China maintains that its claim “extends back hundreds of years,” Japan asserts that sovereignty over the islands was transferred, following Japan’s victory in the Sino-Japanese war in 1895.
Miners’ Memorial – ”Events are taking place across South Africa Thursday to remember the people killed in recent violence at the north-western Marikana platinum mine,” the BBC writes. Last week, 34 miners were killed by police fire while striking to demand higher pay (ten people, including two police officers, had earlier died in violent clashes). The head of President Jacob Zuma’s office, Collins Chabane, was expected to attend a church service near the mine, while the police are believed to be keeping a low profile.