Must-Reads from Around the World

Today picks: years of poor management leave Vietnam's banks in unhealthy shape, concern's over whether Mongolia's mining boom comes at the expense of its citizens, and the Royal Family's latest scandal comes at the cruellest possible time.

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Juan Mabromata / AFP / Getty Images

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner delivers a speech in front of a backdrop displaying the Falkland Islands at the Government Palace in Buenos Aires on February 7, 2012

Argentine Protests — Thousands of Argentines protested Thursday in cities around the country to protest what they see as President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner’s growing encroachment upon the “pocketbooks and lifestyle of the middle and upper classes” with her latest populist policies, reports Al Jazeera English. On Thursday, the government expanded its welfare program in peso terms, which include a 26% increase in cash handouts to families with children to keep up with inflation that has soared higher than 25% annually. In addition to her populist policies, “many Argentines fear the president will use her control of Congress to do away with term limits and try to win more elections that could extend her rule to 2019 and beyond,” it said.

Vietnam’s Shaky Economy — Banks in Vietnam are in trouble following years of mismanagement, analyzes The Economist, with corruption and waste rampant in the local economy. In late August, the arrest of Nguyen Duc Kien, a businessman and founder of the Asia Commercial Joint-Stock Bank (ACB), over charges of “illegal business,” underscored the country’s economic challenges, including large business debts and growing competition from other Southeast Asian nations like Cambodia, Indonesia, and Burma. “The privileged place of the state enterprises—accounting for two-fifths of the country’s output—is chiefly responsible for all the graft, misallocation of resources, and mad spending that drags Vietnam down,” added The Economist.

Mining in Mongolia — The massive Oyu Tolgoi mine in the outskirts of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert is transforming the country’s landscape, even though it doesn’t open until next month, notes the New York Times. Last month, TIME reported that the mine is “Mongolia’s biggest economic undertaking;” it already accounts for approximately 30% of Mongolia’s yearly economic output, adds the NYTYet the development of infrastructure and influx of people to the region are raising concerns that the mining boom comes at the expense of Mongolians, especially those who have relied on the natural environment for their livelihoods.

Royal Scandal —Following the publication of topless photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge by the French edition of Closer magazine, decried by the Royal Family as a “grotesque and totally unjustifiable” breach of privacy, the Daily Telegraph observes that the timing could “could not have been crueller,” coming ahead of her visit to a mosque in Kuala Lumpur, and comments that it will be “particularly distressing” to her husband, Prince William, “given the close media scrutiny of the prince’s mother.” Meanwhile, the BBC examines whether France’s notoriously tight privacy laws are really as strict as they outwardly appear.