Must-Reads from Around the World, June 28, 2012

Today's global media stories look at the conviction of a prominent journalist in Ethiopia, the possibility of peace talks being revived in the Middle East, and the debate over Egypt's new first lady.

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Stephen Hird/Files/Reuters

Pedestrians walk past a Barclays bank logo in central London in this October 7, 2008 file photo.

Too Big to Obey — In the wake of Barclays bank being fined for manipulating key market interest rates, the U.K. Chancellor is expected to make an emergency statement to parliamentarians, the Guardian reports. Bob Diamond and his colleagues face harsh criticism, with some politicians describing Barclays’ activities as “inexcusable” and the shadow Treasury Minister, Chris Leslie, asking whether there should be a criminal investigation. Regulators have, however, said that the bank “had also taken steps to fix the rates as the bank was concerned about its public image during the 2008 financial crisis.”

Egypt’s Everywoman — The New York Times takes a look at Egypt’s new first lady, Naglaa Ali Mahmoud, who has “come to symbolize the dividing line in the culture war that has made unity an elusive goal since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.” Egyptians are split over what her image means to them, as well as to outsiders,  with some relieved that “she probably looks like your mother and everybody else’s” and some horrified that she could become “the image for ‘ladies’ in Egypt” with her traditional head covering.

Hope of Unity — Amid the escalation of violence in Syria, Al Jazeera reports on Kofi Anna’s proposal of a possible unity government including members of the opposition and the current regime. Crucially, the proposal has support from Syria’s key ally, Russia, according to the report. Annan’s plan, set to be discussed this weekend in Geneva, would not include officials “whose presence could harm the transition and jeopardize the credibility of the government or undermine efforts to bring reconciliation.” 

Mideast Meeting —Long-stalled Middle East peace talks could be revived with news emerging Thursday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet with Israel’s new Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz. According to senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat, who spoke to Voice of Palestine Radio, the pair will sit down in the West Bank city of Ramallah this Sunday. Mofaz’s spokesman, Imri Mazor, however, said that efforts were being made to arrange a meeting, but didn’t specify a date.

Journalist Silenced — After prominent Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega was convicted of conspiring to commit acts of terrorism, the Christian Science Monitor reports on the deteriorating press freedoms in the country. Eskinder and nearly two dozen other activists and writers were found guilty of plotting a violent revolt, but supporters say “his actual crime was voicing pro-democracy views and discussing the possibility of peaceful protests in the wake of the Arab Spring.”