Global Briefing, Mar. 25, 2011: Decline, Rebirth and Ragtag Armies

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The Ragtag Army — Bobby Ghosh and Abigail Hauslohner profile Libya’s rebels, showing who they are and why they fight. See the latest photographs from Libya, here.

The Next Chapter — The Economist looks ahead, mulling Japan’s post-quake future. Macleans, a Canadian magazine, argues that it’s too soon to discount the Land of the Rising Sun.

Breaking the Cycle — Australia is experimenting with ‘circle sentencing’, an initiative designed to give Australia’s indigenous minority an alternative to the criminal-justice system, reports Marina Kamenev.

Funny Men — The Daily Beast profiles Bassem Youssef, an Egyptian comedian who is being compared to Jon Stewart of The Daily Show. “We’re kind of like the ghetto version of Jon Stewart,” says the host. Can’t wait to meet his Colbert.

Shaking Syria — The regime has been rocked by protests and is offering to make changes, even as it clings to power, writes Joshua Landis. But divisions of sect and social class mean that the country’s fate may rest with the choices of the Sunni social elite.

Half the Sky — When it comes to business, Chinese women fare better, in some ways, than their American peers, suggests a new study on women in China. Shanghaiist explains this and other findings.

Detroit’s Decline —   The Independent calls Motor City “a modern-day Pompeii.” In 2009, Olivo Barbieri photographed the shrinking city for TIME.

China vs. India — “Do my neighbors sit around thinking about racing with China?” asks writer Amitav Ghosh, in an engaging interview with the Wall Street Journal. “It’s mad! It’s completely daft!” Watch the full clip here.