Global Briefing, April 18, 2011: Bad Advice and Salty Humor

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Colonial Legacies —  Does Sarkozy’s push for military action in Ivory Coast and Libya constitute a return to the bad old days Françafrique? asks the New York Times.

Truth or Truthiness —  The American television show 60 Minutes says they’ve found inconsistencies in Greg Mortenson’s AfPak memoir, Three Cups of Tea. The climber-turned-humanitarian denies their claims. More on Mortenson, here.

Split Personalities —Who, exactly, is Bashar al-Assad? The Syrian leader seems at war with his people — and himself, writes Rania Abouzeid for TIME.

Salty Humor — The Wall Street Journal explains how strong demand from China is changing the “all-America” Pecan industry. The piece includes the line: “The Chinese want our nuts.”

The Deported— As many as 140,000 refugees living in Thailand may be forcibly returned to Burma unless Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva shows “a rare bit of backbone,” says Robert Horn.

Finland’s Fate — “We are not extremists so you can sleep safely,” says the head the country’s ascendant ‘True Finns’ party (yes, that’s their real name). Of course, not everybody agrees: “Far-right populism is an illness inflicting Europe at present and it now has a beachhead in Finland,” writes Enrique Tessieri.

Leveraging Aid —  In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Joel Brinkley urges NGOs in Cambodia to withhold aid until the state makes good on promises of political reform.

Bad Advice — Muslimah Media Watch debunks Jonah Goldberg’s essay on exporting American feminism. “Goldberg, don’t tire us with clichéd rhetoric, stop recycling Laura Bush’s campaigns…”