What in the world: Gates makes the media rounds and Brazilian flash mobs

  • 16 January 2014
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A review of the best commentary on and around the world...

Today's must-read

A great deal of ink has been spilled over Defence Secretary Robert Gates's memoir, Duty.

It's been called "gossipy" and "ill tempered". He wrote it too late or too soon. He's tired of war or upset President Barack Obama didn't fight hard enough for Afghanistan.

To promote his book, Mr Gates has been doing the round of media outlets. He told BBC Radio 4 that a curtailed British military means the country can't be a "full partner" with the US. He said during an extensive interview with the television show Hardtalk that new Iran sanctions are a "serious mistake".

(You can watch the full interview on BBC World News on Thursday 16 January at 21:30 GMT)

The media

Can the New York Times' foreign coverage be trusted? - American media are too cozy with the US government, writes Salon's Patrick L Smith, and "are not yet capable of writing the truth about American conduct in global affairs".

China

A new era of relations with the US - Chinese Consul General in New York Sun Guoxiang writes that "as long as we treat each other on an equal footing, accommodate each other's core interests and major concerns, and manage our differences", the US and China "can enjoy a sound relationship and mutual development".

Italy

An education mismatch - Poor education and a lack of information are to blame for Italy's high youth unemployment rate, write the editors of Corriere della Sera.

Egypt

Misinterpreting the referendum vote - Egyptian blogger Maged Atiya writes that just because the vote on amendments to the Egyptian constitution garnered 90% in favour doesn't mean the balloting was rigged.

Iran

Zero enrichment makes zero sense - Carnegie Endowment's George Perkovich writes that completely stopping Iran's nuclear program, even through military means, is an unattainable goal. The goal should be negotiated oversight.

Brazil

Malls crack down on teenagers flash mobs - Vanessa Barbara writes about "rolezinho", where thousands of poor Brazilian teenagers organise on Facebook to meet at shopping centres. Malls are fighting back, she says, by harassing anyone who isn't old, "with whitish skin and richer looks".

Netherlands

Rolling back the welfare state - The Dutch "deserve an orange-hued salute for innovative reforms that governments worldwide might usefully emulate in the interest of maintaining a targeted, effective, and affordable safety net", writes economist Michael J Boskin.

BBC Monitoring's quote of the day

The international donor conference for Syrian refugees: "The so-called 'large-scale charity event', being held in Kuwait, is nothing more than a legalised collection of money for terrorist organisations fighting against Bashar Assad's regime." - Yevgeniy Shestakov in the Russian state-owned daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta

One more thing…

Give jury duty some love - Regent University Prof David M Wagner writes that the US founders believed in the importance of trial by jury, and so should we.

Have you found an interesting opinion piece about global issues that we missed? Share it with us via email at echochambers (at) bbc.co.uk.