Must-Reads from Around the World: February 28, 2012

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Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks while chairing a meeting with activists of the All-Russian People's Front in Moscow on October 26, 2011. (Alexander Zemlianichenko / AFP / Getty Images)

Electioneering – The New York Times casts skepticism on revelations Monday that Ukrainian and Russian intelligence services have thwarted an assassination attempt on Vladimir Putin. “The report came less than a week before the Russian presidential election on Sunday, raising questions about the timing, in part because two suspects were arrested weeks ago,” it states.

India ParalyzedIBNLive reports banking, transport and government services across India at a standstill Tuesday thanks to a broad trade unions strike. Their demands: “…an end to contract labor, amendment to [the] Minimum Wages Act, increase [in] the gratuity payout and compulsory registration of trade unions within 45 days,” according to the Times of India.

Luxurious OutpostsForeign Policy takes a fascinating look at the Serena hotel chain, operated by the Aga Khan’s Fund for Economic Development, which has set up shop in some of the world’s most dangerous locations (Kabul, Quetta, Baghdad, etc.) “Welcome to the Serena Hotels, outposts of multi-star luxury in countries with zero-star conditions,” writes Michael Z. Wise.

Occupy London – The Occupy camp at St. Paul’s Cathedral was dismantled by police in the early hours of Tuesday morning after the High Court rejected the protesters appeal of the eviction, the BBC reports. Members vowed to regorganize at the group’s other location in London’s Finsbury Square. The “mostly peaceful” operation resulted in 20 arrests.

National Ambition – Germany finds itself in a unique position during the euro zone crisis: in power. The Los Angeles Times looks at the complicated relationship between the country’s history and current role as a power player on the world stage. “Gone are the days when Germany was considered an economic giant but a political dwarf,” the newspaper writes. The New York Times wonders if Angela Merkel ‘s grip on power is weakening, as the chancellor was able to get enough support to approve the Greek rescue package, but at her own political expense.

Crippled Costa – A second Costa Cruise ship is in peril. Six weeks after the Costa Concordia capsized off the coast of Italy, killing at least 25 people, a sister ship, the Costa Allegra, is adrift in the Indian Ocean following a fire in the engine room, the Daily Telegraph reports. The ship and its more than 1,000 passengers and crew onboard are being towed to the Seychelles but aren’t expected to reach the tiny resort island until Wednesday.