Must-Reads from Around the World

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Syrian rebels take their position behind a wall as they fire their guns during a battle with the Syrian government forces, at Rastan area in Homs province, Syria, Jan. 31, 2012.

Stalemate on Syria – The Economist sets out its view on how to end the bloodshed: “a united opposition, the creation of a safe haven and Western resolve.” Foreign Policy‘s Mark Lynch cautions against the merest of military interventions: “People need to think far more carefully about the implications of funneling weapons to the Free Syrian Army before leaping into such a policy,” he writes.

Tibetan TensionRadio Free Asia reports that Chinese security forces in southwest Sichuan province shot and killed a Tibetan monk and his brother — on the run since anti-government protests two weeks ago — and another monk self-immolated at a monastery in Qinghai province. Meanwhile, the Communist Party mouthpiece Global Times announced the Tibet officials have been ordered to ready themselves for “a war against secessionist sabotage.”

State of South Africa – Fresh from celebrating the ANC’s centenary in January, President Jacob Zuma delivered his State of the Nation address Thursday. The Johannesburg Mail & Guardian analysis: “The speech, while barren of any poetry or great quotes, was strong on detail and provided a sense of the earnestness and planning being put into efforts to unlock economic potential and create jobs.”

Downfall of a ‘Superjudge’ – Following his convection for unlawful wiretapping Thursday night, Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón vowed to appeal the court’s descision. TIME’s Lisa Abend explains the devisvie history of the magistrate. Supporters of Garzón braved the cold Thursday night to show their support for the fallen judge.

Razing History – To make way for modern China’s urban sprawl, historic neighborhoods known as hutong are now an endangered species. The Atlantic explores the work of agencies trying to preserve these pieces of history. The Shanghai Daily also reports that one real estate development firm was ordered to rebuild a hutong demolished without permission because the neighborhood had been protected as a cultural heritage site in 2009.

London’s Big Year – In addition to hosting the Olympic Games, London will elect a new mayor in 2012. The New Statesman sits down for exclusive interviews with the leading candidates: the incumbent, Boris Johnson, and the challenger, Ken Livingstone. Both men trade barbs on bankers’ bonuses, the News of the World scandal and, of course, each other.