Global Briefing, Mar. 8, 2011: Homophobes, Strongmen and Rebellious Women

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She-Rebels — “Well-behaved women rarely make history,” Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of Britain’s womens suffrage movement, once said. In honor of Pankhurst — and International Women’s Day — TIME profiles 16 of history’s most wonderfully rebellious women.

France’s Far Right — A second poll has confirmed that Marine Le Pen, daughter of extreme-right demagogue Jean-Marie Le Pen, is the early leader heading into the first round of France’s 2012 presidential battle, reports TIME’s Bruce Crumley. Read his profile of the conservative candidate, here.

Race Bait — Three U.S. states are mulling bans on Shark’s Fin Soup, an astronomically expensive — and environmentally disastrous — Southern Chinese delicacy. Slate‘s food writer, Francis Lam, unpacks the cultural politics. For more on shark fin debate, read Krista Mahr’s post “Extinction in a Bowl.”

¡Viva la Revolución! — Will faster Internet access start an information revolution in Cuba? Not quite. But, says the Economist, a new fibre-optic cable is improving Web access and setting the stage for blogger battles to come.

Case in Point — NBC’s Adrienne Mong highlights the dearth of prominent female politicians in China. As if on cue, the People’s Daily Online, a state-run outfit, produces a sexist photo series on the “attractive females” attending this year’s legislative sessions.

State-Sanctioned Hate — On the Root, Clay Cane calls attention to Jamaica’s virulent, violent anti-gay movement. Homophobia is not an intrinsic part of Jamaican culture, he says, but rather “colonized culture.” He argues that this culture can — and must — change.  For more on homophobia in Jamaica, read this 2006 dispatch from TIME.

Isolating Tibet — It’s been almost three years since Tibetan uprisings rocked western China. Just shy of the anniversary, Beijing is barring tourists from the region, citing concerns about… the weather…

Olympic Spirit — Sochi, the Black Sea resort town that will host the  2014 Winter Olympic, presents some “security concerns,” reports the New York Times. And how. Last year, an ex-KGB Colonel told TIME the area is “a muddied and bloodied aquarium of conflict.”

Jihadist Central? — The New York Times profiles Darnah, the fiercely independent eastern Libyan port city that Muammar Gaddafi claims is a haven for fundamentalists. The reality is far more nuanced, diverse and interesting.

A Moderate Among the Mullahs — Former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani loses his post at the head of an influential clerical council.