Must-Reads from Around the World, July 9, 2012

In today's brief: an interview with the Dalai Lama, Israeli settlements under the spotlight and the mysterious deaths of U.S. forces in Africa

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Ashwini Bhatia / AP

The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, listens to a speaker at the inauguration of a hospital near the Tibetan capital-in-exile in Dharamsala, India, on July 4, 2012.

Burning Issue — India’s The Hindu exclusively interviews the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan spiritual leader gives his most detailed comments yet on the self-immolation protests — “a very, very delicate political issue” — occurring across ethnic Tibetan areas. “Now, the reality is that if I say something positive, then the Chinese immediately blame me,” he said. “If I say something negative, then the family members of those people feel very sad.”

Settlements — The Jerusalem Post leaks details from a new government-initiated report on West Bank settlements which concluded that Israel has a right to build the outposts. Meanwhile Germany’s Der Spiegel reports on a conference, in part organized by right-wing European politicians, held last Thursday in Hebron between Palestinian clan leaders and Jewish settlers. “They are billing it as an alternative path to peace in the region,” it wrote.

Malian Mystery — The Washington Post probes a fatal car crash April 20 which killed three U.S. commandos and three alleged Moroccan prostitutes in Mali. “What the men were doing in the impoverished country of Mali, and why they were still there a month after the United States suspended military relations with its government, is at the crux of a mystery that officials have not fully explained even 10 weeks later,” it said.

Honeymoon Over — As South Sudan celebrates its first anniversary, the Guardian examines the cost of independence. It writes that, “South Sudan faces economic disaster that could reverse recent development gains after it shut down production in a dispute over pipeline fees with Sudan.” 80% of its economy and 98% of its revenues derive from oil production, prompting fears that the government will soon run out of money, as evidenced by the shutting down of vital services.

Day of Mourning — In the aftermath of flash floods in Southern Russia this past weekend, in which 171 people have been confirmed dead, the New York Times reports on the questions emerging “about whether official negligence or misconduct had played a role in the disaster.” Officials have dismissed suggestions that floods in Krmsk, the worst affected town, were worsened by the release of water from a local reservoir. President Vladimir Putin has declared a national day of mourning in honor of the victims, and toured the region by air Saturday, comparing it to a tsunami.

Annan and Assad Meet — The Daily Telegraph writes that the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) has criticized the decision of Kofi Annan, the U.N. and Arab League’s envoy to Syria, to meet with President Bashar Assad, “saying thousands have been killed in the country despite a ceasefire that is a key point of the envoy’s plan.” The SNC has further questioned why Annan “chose to meet with the symbols of the Syrian regime, while abstaining from the Friends of Syria conference in Paris.”