Must-Reads from Around the World: February 29, 2012

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Louisa Gouliamaki / AFP / Getty Images

Striking Greek steel workers march towards the Greek Parliament during a 24-hour general strike in Athens on Feb. 7, 2012. A general strike gripped debt-ridden Greece in protest of new austerity measures, demanded by the European Union as part of a new bailout deal from banks.

Weight of History – Following a backbench revolt in the German parliament Monday over the Greek bailout that’s left Angela Merkel’s coalition government weakened, Der Spiegel reports former Chancellor Helmut Kohl has stepped into the debate, warning there can be no retreat from a united Europe. “The evil spirits of the past have by no means been banished, they can always return,” he said.

Wives Club – The Guardian‘s Paris correspondent Angelique Chrisafis takes an insightful look at some of the women married to brutal regime leaders targeted by the Arab Spring. “The dictators’ wives are all very different, united by the varying degrees of hatred they inspired, eye-watering fortunes, expensive wardrobes and often a state-sanctioned so-called “feminism”…” she writes.

Border Troubles – China’s nationalist-minded Global Times ran news stories Wednesday on fresh rioting in Kashgar, in the Uighur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang, that killed 12 and on Beijing’s latest warning to the Philippines over oil exploration in contested parts of the South China Sea. The latter was accompanied by a strong commentaryentitled “Manila returns to usual games of cat and mouse.” TIME’s Austin Ramzy also weighed in, concluding that rapid growth in China “has helped the government cultivate support nationwide, but it has yet to provide a ready solution in Xinjiang.”

Extreme Measures – The Washington Post examines the risks of removing the injured from Syria. 13 opposition activists were killed Monday during an attempted rescue of wounded journalists. The group was ambushed by security forces as they tried to smuggle the injured into Lebanon. The attack jepordizes the networks’s setup to evacuate those hurt in the constant fighting.

Civil Disobedience – In Britain, Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey is calling for potential disruptions to the London 2012 Olympic Games. In an interview with the Guardian, the leader of the country’s largest union said the worldwide event is the perfect platform to air grievances about planned government spending cuts. “The attacks that are being launched on public sector workers at the moment are so deep and ideological that the idea the world should arrive in London and have these wonderful Olympic Games as though everything is nice and rosy in the garden is unthinkable,” he told the newspaper.

Members Only – Serbia is one step closer to becoming a member of the European Union. Christian Science Monitor reports the nation is expected to become a candidate by the end of the week . Following the path of other post-communist accession states, Serbia likely has lots of work to do before becoming a full-fleged member. First on the list: bettering its relationship with Kosovo.