Must-Reads from Around the World

Indian government looks likely to survive backlash over unpopular economic reforms; Syria's Bashar Assad still defiant and resolute

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Babu / Reuters

Trucks are idle inside a depot during a nationwide strike on the outskirts of the southern Indian city of Chennai, Sept. 20, 2012.

India‘s Economic ReformsProtests have swept across India’s biggest cities, as citizens demonstrated against the government’s recent economic reforms which cut fuel subsidies and opened the country’s retail market to foreign companies. Al Jazeera English asks why Indian citizens are resisting the push for more foreign direct investment in the country. One explanation is that the retail reforms will drive India’s mom-and-pop stores out of business, said Reuters, as retail is the nation’s largest industry.

Asian Island War? — The Economist examines how the territorial dispute between Beijing and Tokyo over the archipelago, known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan, has become a serious threat to peace and prosperity in Asia. Strong nationalism and resentment over historical grievances are some of the factors fueling the dispute, which could turn into something more serious, wrote the Economist. “The islands matter, therefore, less because of fishing, oil or gas than as counters in the high-stakes game for Asia’s future” given that “every incident, however small, risks setting a precedent,” it wrote.

Turkey-Egypt Alliance — Turkey and Egypt are seeking an alliance, as both countries want to play a greater role in representing the Middle East on the international stage, notes the Associated Press. Earlier this week, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his government would give Egypt $2 billion in aid, saying, “With Egypt and the participation of other states, we will build a new Middle East.” The team “could work if Egypt follows Turkey’s moderate creed of reform and pragmatism, along with Western ties and Islamic piety,” wrote the AP.

Assad on Arab Spring – Syrian President Bashar Assad told the Egyptian weekly magazine weekly al-Ahram al-Arabi that the Arab Spring created chaos to the region and emphasized that his regime would not topple to the rebels, according to the BBC.  Assad’s remarks were published in somewhat of an exclusive for the magazine, with his telling the weekly that the toppling of Arab regimes had “not worked in the interest of freedom, democracy or ending social injustice as much as it helped create chaos.” Coinciding with the article was the continuation of fighting in Aleppo, as government forces clashed with rebels in the north-easter Arkoub district and the area of Sakhour and Bustan al Qasr also came under attack.

Day of Love Protests – A television station employee was killed in Pakistan Friday after violent protests erupted throughout Pakistan during a national holiday called the “Day of Love for the Prophet Mohammad,” the New York Times reported. The driver, Muhammad Amir, was shot three times by police while driving through Peshawar as nearby protesters burned a movie theater owned by a prominent politician. The government had encouraged peaceful protests against the controversial American-made anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims; however, “scenes of chaos in some parts of the country as the day progressed suggested that the government had failed to control public anger on the issue” the New York Times adds.