Must-Reads from Around the World, May 18, 2012

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Family Business – The New York Times explores at length how China’s so-called ‘Princeling’ generation — the descendants of Communist Party leaders — use family ties to gain jobs, wealth and influence. “Evidence is mounting…[they] have also amassed vast wealth, often playing central roles in businesses closely entwined with the state, including those involved in finance, energy, domestic security, telecommunications and entertainment,” it writes.

Tokyo Rebound – The Japan Times analyzes the news the country’s economy grew by an annualized rate of 4.1% in the year’s first quarter, beating market forecasts thanks to strong consumption and government stimulus. “But economists were not entirely optimistic, saying the economy was boosted by temporary factors and warning of downside risks to growth amid the gloomier outlook for the world economy, given the sovereign debt crisis in Europe,” it says.

Costly Abstention –
Ahead of this weekend’s NATO summit in Chicago, Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine examines whether Berlin’s standing in the alliance has reached a low point following its passive stance on Libyan intervention. “The country’s abstention in the U.N. vote on military action in Libya has done lasting damage to its reputation. The Germans are now seen as unreliable partners who don’t know what they want,” it claims.

Majority Report – As the U.S. Census bureau reveals that most babies born in the U.S. now belong to minority groups, the BBC investigates what a “white-minority America” would look like, questioning whether it will be “more inclusive” and predicting that young minorities coming of voting age will be “overwhelmingly Democratic,” “displacing older white Republican voters.”

Market Face-off – As Facebook makes its debut on Wall Street today, The Washington Post questions whether the stock is a “smart buy,” warning against “hype” – the “enemy” of investing – built up by Mark Zuckerberg’s “rock-star status” and the success of The Social Network movie. This element, alongside the fact that the initial public offering was raised and that “insiders and early investors would be selling even more,” leads to the piece’s conclusion: “Don’t touch this stock.”

Welcome to the Summit – Ahead of the imminent G8 Summit to be held at Camp David, The Daily Telegraph explores the sleepy mountain town of Thurmont, which is “scrambling to prepare” for an influx of journalists, government officials and protesters. The piece says the town will have to deal with a “legal, non-violent vigil on public sidewalks” by Occupy activists.