Must-Reads from Around the World

Today's required reading: The United States strikes strategic defense partnership with India, Vietnam's political elite struggle to connect to the public and renewed violence further delays any chance of a solution to the Turkish Kurd Conflict.

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A Kurdish protester clashes with Turkish police during a "Noruz" or "Navroz" celebration in Istanbul on March 18, 2012.

No End in Sight — Following the deaths of nine Turkish security officials in clashes with Kurdish rebels, Reuters examines the diminishing possibility of peace in the Turkish Kurd Conflict. “It is a vicious cycle,” said Soner Cagaptay from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “Whenever there is a spike in violence, Turkey‘s willingness to consider a political solution becomes weaker.” Over 40,000 people have so far been killed in the 28-year-old conflict, with militants striving to create a separate state in the predominantly Kurdish southeastern Turkey.

Defense Partnership — The partnership between the U.S., the world’s top arms manufacturer, and India, one of the world’s top arms importers, is strengthening as American defense companies try to gain a larger foothold in India, according to the Washington Post. The U.S. defense department has started “easing defense trade and technology transfer to India,” and has also “begun to rework stringent export controls that hinder sharing of high-end technology.” Although the U.S. defense firms are trying to win more lucrative contracts from India, the country is closely guarding its strategic freedom and is hesitant to get too close with the American military, it reports.

Growing Divide — The New York Times reports that the political elite in Vietnam, like their counterparts in China, “are struggling to reconcile their party’s message of social justice and equality with the realities of an elite awash in wealth and privilege.” Vietnam’s top political officials and their family members have benefited from the country’s rapid economic growth. Recent financial woes, however, are provoking resentment among the ordinary public against the upper class and spotlighting the nation’s economic model of crony capitalism, which is characterized by close ties between tycoons and political leaders.
Buying American Assets — With many U.S. companies starved for cash, Chinese firms are buying up American assets at a record pace, notes the Los Angeles Times. Chinese companies are, “making huge bids for American energy, aviation, entertainment, and other businesses” as a way to “gain technological know-how and international reach,” it wrote. Analysts said this kind of investment pattern will help China, which is considered a low-end manufacturer, to move up the value chain.

Mubarak’s Millions — A six-month BBC Arabic investigation, released in conjunction with the Guardian and al-Hayat, reveals the British government’s consent to members of Egypt’s ousted Mubarak regime retaining property and business assets worth millions in the U.K. The situation, which risks “violating a globally-agreed set of sanctions” against the toppled government, has fuelled accusations that British ministers are “more interested in preserving the City of London’s cosy relationship with the Arab financial sector than in securing justice.”

Gold Rush — The BBC covers a decade-long debate in Romania, which is set to come to a head as Romanian politicians decide whether to finally permit the opening of a large gold mine in the mountain commune of Rosia Montana. The company leading the project, Rosia Montana Gold Corporation, claims the new mine could add $19 billion to Romania’s economy and lead to the creation of thousands of jobs. However, Sorin Jorca, a Rosia Montana local, said: “If this project starts, life is over for me. I would lose my house, the graves of my parents, the church, and the heritage that belongs to all of us.”