Must-Reads from Around the World

Cellphones are polluting the world and the Irish coalition government is expected to sign off on draft legislation that will lead to limited abortion in the republic

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Soe Zeya Tun / REUTERS

Policemen are deployed to provide security amid riots in Meikhtila, March 22, 2013.

Burma Ethnic Violence – Following months of sectarian violence in western Burma, a government-appointed commission has recommended that measures should be taken to limit population growth among Muslims in the country, including a family planning program, reports the Daily Telegraph. Unrest between ethnic Burmese Buddhists and the minority Rohingya Muslims last year led to over 200 deaths and tens of thousands of people displaced in the western Rakhine state. Last month, the violence spread to central Burma. The commission’s report has caused outrage among campaign groups and anti-government activists, with the deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch calling the idea of limiting births of a particular group “chilling.”

Evo Morales — Bolivia’s constitutional court has ruled that President Evo Morales will be allowed to run for his second re-election next year, reports the Guardian. As president, Morales pushed for constitutional change that only allowed one re-election but because the law took effect after his first re-election in 2009, he will be eligible to run again for office. The leftist president was first elected in 2005.

Cellphone Pollution — The New York Times reports that cellphones are polluting the world because making and disposing them damages the environment. Recycling electronic devices is difficult partly because of the design of the technology in consumer products. The U.N. Environmental Programme has called for a “major rethinking of current recycling models,” according to the paper.  The European Parliament adopted stricter guidelines for electronic waste and by 2016 E.U. countries must collect 45 tons of waste for 100 tons of electronic products sold in the previous three years.

Chinese in AfricaChina has committed $75 billion on aid and development projects in Africa over the past decade, far greater than previous estimates, according to data released on a new U.S. online database, writes the Guardian. The data, which was compiled from thousands of media reports, will likely add to the ongoing debate over China’s motives in Africa – which are, as the Guardian notes, described by some as a soft-power strategy to secure economic and political influence on the continent. The data shows that in addition to transport, storage and energy projects, China — which is notoriously secretive over its foreign aid activities — has also invested hundreds of millions of dollars in education, health and cultural programs.

Ireland Abortion Law – The Irish coalition government is expected to sign off on draft legislation that will lead to limited abortion in the republic, reports the Guardian. In 1992, the Irish supreme court found that abortion was legal under the country’s constitution if the mother’s life was at risk, following the case of a 14-year-old who became pregnant and whose lawyers fought for her to have an abortion abroad, arguing that she was suicidal – a judgment that the coalition has stated that it will enshrine in Irish law, writes the Guardian. But the abortion bill has split Ireland’s ruling party, with some backbench MPs saying they will vote against liberalization of the country’s strict anti-abortion laws. Tuesday’s move comes in the wake of an inquest into the death of Indian national Savita Halappanavar, who was refused an emergency abortion at an Irish hospital in October 2012.