Must-Reads from Around the World: April 17, 2012

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Thinly Veiled – Following Monday’s U.N. Security Council censure of North Korea for its recent failed rocket launch, China’s Global Times issued a stern editorial — “Pyongyang must remember to heed China’s advice.” The semi-official mouthpiece continued: “Pyongyang should treat China as a friend as China does it. It will pay the price if it really tries to abduct China’s North Korea policy.” In case that wasn’t clear, it then added: “China’s prosperity and strength are crucial to Pyongyang’s political stability. North Korea needs to be fully aware of this.”

South of the Border – Boston-based Global Post launches an in-depth series on Latin America’s “drug rethink,” noting that a “critical mass” of regional leaders are now discussing alternatives to the war on drugs, including decriminalization. The online-only outfit says conservative heads of state allied with the U.S. are mulling a legal narcotics trade, worrying President Barack Obama. “The taboo is broken. ‘Legalize it’ is gaining ground,”  it writes.

Smoking in Court – The Guardian reports on four tobacco companies’ high court bid to stop the introduction of cigarette plain-packaging in Australia. The country has legislated for cigarettes to be sold in drab packs with large health warnings and no brand logos. “The case… will claim the new laws are unconstitutional and mean the government will illegally acquire their intellectual property without compensation,” the paper says of the closely-watched test case.

Italian Renaissance – As former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi continues to be tried for allegedly having sex with an underage prostitute, new premier Mario Monti is pushing through reforms to fix the economy. Al Jazeera suggests that left-wing voters in Italy “want Berlusconi back,” preferring the “political impasse” under his rule to Monti’s “determination” to execute policy, such as labor reform,  “regardless of the vital demands of his country.”

Appointment Disappointment – As Korean-American physician Jim Yong Kim is appointed to head the World Bank, Nairobi radio station Capital FM issues an article arguing that the decision was “sadly predetermined,” undermining Nigerian candidate Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s chance of taking the position in a contest that was not “merit-based and transparent.”

Cult of Death – The German-language Swiss daily paper Tages-Anzeiger compares accused Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik’s actions to those of Columbine perpetrator Eric Harris in that both had a narcissistic “messianic identity” that spurred them on.