Must-Reads from Around the World

On deck for Friday: The African economy is booming, leaders in Europe decide to establish a single banking supervisor for the euro zone, and tensions continue between North and South Korea

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Allison Joyce / Reuters

The U.N. Security Council meets to discuss a European-Arab draft resolution endorsing an Arab League plan calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to give up power in New York Feb. 4, 2012.

U.N. Security Council — Bloomberg reports that the U.N. Security Council has five new non-permanent members: Australia, South Korea, Argentina, Luxembourg, and Rwanda. The five countries will begin their two-year terms at the beginning of 2013. Rotating members “can approve or reject other Security Council decisions, and are often relied on by the five permanent members (China, France, the U.K., Russia, and the U.S.) to build consensus with other member states and to help resolve regional issues,” wrote Bloomberg.

E.U. Banking Supervisor — European leaders agreed to establish a single banking supervisor for the euro zone, said Reuters. Officials said “all 6,000 banks in the single currency area would gradually come under European Central Bank supervision by 2014, starting with banks receiving state aid, then large cross-border institutions,” while national bodies would be responsible for daily oversight, it wrote. This deal is considered as a first step toward creating an effective banking union, which economists view as crucial for overcoming the euro zone’s debt crisis.

Africa’s Economy — Slow growth in developed economies has turned sub-Saharan Africa into an attractive investment and business destination, reports the Economist. Foreign direct investment in the region has increased by around 50% since 2005 and the International Monetary Fund predicts that Africa’s GDP will grow by 5% this year. Africa’s economic rise can be attributed to population growth, rapid urbanization, spread of technology, and improved governance and economic management, explains the Economist.

North and South – North Korean officials said they would open fire on South Korea if activists went ahead with plans to drop anti-North Korea leaflets across the border, Reuters reports.  A group of North Korean exiles has planned to launch giant balloons with over 200,00 leaflets that criticize the North Korean government. Reuters adds that the leaflets are printed on plastic bags and many contain $1 bills. Plans to drop the pamphlets come as Kim Han-sol, the nephew of current North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, gave a rare TV interview with a Finnish television station, the BBC reports.  Han-sol said that he hopes that the two Koreas will one day be reunified.

N. Ireland Abortion Debate – The first private abortion clinic opened in Belfast on Thursday, which has prompted large protests and an investigation by Northern Ireland’s Attorney General, the BBC and the Irish Times reports. Northern Ireland is not subject to the Abortion Act of 1967, like the rest of the United Kingdom, and instead strictly regulates abortions, allowing them only when they are necessary to save the life of the mother or if the pregnancy would have “serious, permanent physical or mental health effects.”  Over 350 protesters gathered at the opening on Thursday, the Irish Independent said.