Must-Reads from Around the World

In today's required reading: where al-Qaeda stands 11 years after the 9/11 attacks, Somalia's struggle to recover after decades of warfare, and the possibility that four Pakistani soldiers who went missing 47 years ago might still be alive.

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China's premier Wen Jiabao speaks during a news conference following the close of China's National People's Congress (NPC) at The Great Hall of The People on March 14, 2012 in Beijing.

Debt Holdings — A Pentagon report said China‘s holdings of U.S. debt and the prospect that Beijing might suddenly withdraw a significant amount of funds is not a national security threat, reports Bloomberg. The report dated July 20 states, “China has few attractive options for investing the bulk of its large foreign exchange holdings out of U.S. Treasury securities.” As the second-largest holder of U.S. government debt after the Federal Reserve, China holds more than $1 trillion in U.S. debt and the Republican presidential campaign has cited Beijing’s holdings as a sign of American vulnerability.

China’s Slowdown — Staying with China and its economic slowdown is underscoring the vulnerability of Japan and Korea’s economy to China’s performance, notes the Financial Times. Weakening import and export figures from China, the most important trading partner to Japan and Korea, have prompted Tokyo to slash its second-quarter growth estimate, while Seoul introduced a new round of $5.3 billion’s worth of fiscal stimulus measures. China’s export-oriented economy is stalling largely because of “muted demand in the U.S. and Europe” but Beijing “is struggling to find the right policy measures to address it,” reported the FT.

Wind Power — Two new scientific studies show that the Earth has enough wind to power the whole world, reports CBS News. Both studies, conducted by two different American research teams, conclude that the Earth’s winds could generate hundreds of trillions of watts of electric power, which is more than 10 times what the world currently consumes. The research, however, only looks at geophysical limits of wind power and does not address economic or environmental factors that could hinder growth.
11 Years On — On the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, CNN examines the current position of al-Qaeda, with many of its key figures, most notably Osama Bin Laden, now dead or captured in counter-terrorism operations in Pakistan. Furthermore, many of its post-9/11 plots against the West were “aborted or broken up,” and an uncertainty over the extent to which the al-Qaeda inner circle was aware of attacks such as the Madrid train bombings in March 2004.

Somalia’s Suffering — While Reuters reports on the election of “political newcomer” Hassan Mohamud as Somalia’s president, Al Jazeera English observes that despite signs of recovery in the capital Mogadishu, following “decades of factional fighting,” outside the city “towns are hardly experiencing a renaissance.” Many towns are still “struggling to emerge” from the shadow of the al-Qaeda-affiliated militia al-Shabab, who for six years controlled much of southern and central Somalia, and continue to cause chaos in the area with car bombs, explosive devices and land mines.

Missing Soldiers — The BBC analyzes the possibility that four Pakistani soldiers, “long presumed dead” after disappearing during the 1965 India-Pakistan war, “may in fact be alive and languishing in Indian jails.” Hopes for the soldiers’ survival was sparked in 2006, following the return of a former Kashmiri militant from a neighboring village, who claimed he had seen one of the soldiers while incarcerated. In a hearing this Wednesday, India’s Supreme Court will look into whether the men are still alive and, potentially, where their current location could be.