Must-Reads from Around the World: March 16, 2012

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Ted S. Warren/AP

A guarded gate at Joint Base Lewis McChord is shown Sunday, March 11, 2012

Learning More – New details have emerged about the U.S. Soldier who allegedly killed 16 Afghan civilians. The Telegraph reports the accused has hired attorney John Henry Browne, who is best known for his involvement in the defence of Ted Bundy. Browne  told reporters his client “wasn’t thrilled” to be returning to combat. Military officials alluded to the delicate mental state of the 38-year-old staff sergeant. “When it all comes out, it will be a combination of stress, alcohol and domestic issues — he just snapped,” a senior military official told the New York Times.

NATO’s Course – The Economist takes stock of the recent tragic set-backs in Afghanistan, urging the U.S. and its allies to keep to their well-planned timetable for withdrawal – or risk it all. “Avoiding chaos would not be victory; but nor would it be defeat and betrayal. Even that modest goal is now threatened by the creeping reluctance of Mr. Obama and his allies to stick to their guns,” it says.

Living in Fear – The Los Angeles Times reports on daily life in Monterrey, Mexico’s wealthiest and third-largest city, which is “beset by shootouts, armed robberies and ‘mass panic’ incidents over any sign of danger” amid the country’s continuing drug wars. The paper notes it’s leading to a “brain drain” of businessmen, artists and young professionals moving to Mexico City or to cities in nearby Texas.

Capital Flight – The China Daily, the state-run national English-language newspaper, delves into the much-publicized recent emigration of rich Chinese. “The scale of the exodus of wealth from China caused by investor immigration is much larger than previous estimated,” the paper writes following interviews with emigration experts. America remains the favored destination; Canada is second.

Border Wars – Ethiopian attacks on alleged Eritrean “terror camps” threatens to incite fighting between the neighboring nations that ended a border conflict 12 years ago. An Ethiopian spokesperson tells the Christian Science Monitor  the raids were in retaliation for Eritrean-backed groups committing violent attacks in Ethiopia. The Eritrean government rejects the provocation. The foreign ministry released a statement, saying “the people and government of Eritrea shall not entertain, and will not be entrapped by, such deceitful ploys,” the BBC reports.

Launch Party – The Guardian looks at North Korea’s announcement that it will launch its first satellite in three years next month, a move the U.S. State Department called “highly provocative.” The announcement casts doubts on the  progress made in recent talks between North Korea and the U.S. to exchange humanitarian aid for nuclear armament concessions. But in a letter to the editor to the Washington Post, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea warns of too quickly dismissing the progress made. “There is potentially much to be gained and little to be lost by this agreement,” the letter states.