Must-Reads from Around the World, August 10, 2012

Today's required reading: the Chinese Communist Party's version of events in the murder trial of Bo Xilai's wife, more trouble for Sheldon Adelson and an interview with the departing envoy to Iraq.

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Gu Kailai (2nd L), wife of ousted Chinese Communist Party Politburo member Bo Xilai, and Zhang Xiaojun (2nd R), are escorted into the court room for trial at Hefei Intermediate People's Court in this still image taken from video August 9, 2012

Official Account — State-run media, permitted only to use China’s official Xinhua news agency reports, provides details of the trial of Bo Xilai’s wife and the Communist Party’s version of events in the case. “Prosecutors said Bogu and her son, surnamed Bo, had conflicts with British businessman Neil Heywood over economic interests. Worried about the threat Heywood posed to her son’s personal security, prosecutors alleged Bogu decided to murder Heywood,” it said.

High Stakes — The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. authorities are investigating Sheldon Adelson’s Macau casino venture, Sands China, for possible violations of anti-bribery regulations, following other active probes by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. “… The government and company investigations are looking into at least three transactions in mainland China unrelated to the company’s Macau casino properties …” it wrote.

Push Back — Al-Monitor, a new media site covering the Middle East, interviews departing U.S. Iraq envoy James F. Jeffrey, who “fiercely defended” the U.S.’s ultimately futile 2011 negotiations with the Iraqis on a possible American military force staying in Iraq. “It costs a million dollars to keep a U.S. soldier a year in a combat zone like Iraq,” said the former ambassador. “So somebody tell me what we buy with $30 billion dollars of expenditure for 30,000 troops in Iraq in 2012.”

Kurdish Power — The BBC assesses whether Syria’s Kurdish minority, who comprise just 10% of the population, could benefit from the political turmoil engulfing the nation. Aaron David Miller, a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC, said: “Syria is coming apart, and there’s not much chance it will be reassembled with the kind of centralised authority we saw under the Assads,” hence there is “an opportunity to create more autonomy and respect for Kurdish rights.”

Territorial Dispute — After South Korean leader Lee Myung-bak angered neighboring Japan by scheduling a visit to a set of remote islands that both nations lay claim to, Reuters writes that Japan has retaliated by recalling its ambassador to South Korea. The dispute over the islands remains “a persistent irritant in relations between the two countries even after they moved on from Japan’s colonial occupation to develop flourishing commercial ties.”

Rule of Law — The Associated Press reports that after threatening a security guard at gunpoint, Kenya’s second most powerful judge looks set to lose her seat on the bench, “a decision that rekindled hopes that under the new constitution the rule of law can prevail in a country that has long protected the powerful.” Kenya’s director of public prosecutions announced that deputy chief justice Nancy Baraza should be charged with assault. Baraza intends to appeal the tribunal’s decision with the Supreme Court.