Spending our days on the interwebs has its advantages, one being that we come across lots of excellent pieces of journalism. Every week, we'll bring you our favorite online reads that didn't appear on our site. Disagree with the selection? Leave your suggestions in the comments or tweet #bestreads at @HuffPostWorld.
"Guantanamo Inmate: 'We Will Remain On Hunger Strike'"
Al Jazeera America -- Moath Al-Alwi
Moath al-Alwi is one of several detainees at Guantanamo Bay participating in a hunger strike that launched last February. The prisoner of Yemeni descent has been in U.S. custody since 2002 and was one of the first to be moved to the detention facility at the U.S. military base. In order to ensure al-Alwi survives despite his determination not to eat, the Yemeni is being force-fed. The prisoner gives a harrowing account of that process in an opinion piece published on the website of Al Jazeera America.
"The result can be read all over my body. It is visible on my bloodied nose and in my nostrils, swollen shut from the thick tubes the nurses force into them. It is there on my jaundiced skin, because I am denied sunlight and sleep. It is there, too, in my bloated knees and feet and my ailing back, wrecked from prolonged periods spent in the torture chair and from the riot squad’s beatings. You can even hear it in my voice: I can barely speak because they choke me every time they strap me into the chair."
At its peak, more than 100 of the 166 detainees at Guantanamo participated in the hunger strike. Detainees say they started the extreme measure to protests guards' mishandling of copies of the Quran. Human rights organization have fiercely criticized the force-feeding policy. In a letter to Defense Minister Chuck Hagel, the American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations called the process "inherently cruel, inhuman, and degrading."
Al-Alwi concludes: "As for my brothers and me, we will remain on hunger strike. We pray that the next thing we taste is freedom."
"Twenty-Eight's A Crowd"
GlobalPost -- Paul Ames and Dan Peleschuk
Next month, Ukraine and Moldova will sign agreements to strengthen their ties with the European Union. The agreements are part of the EU’s program to build bridges with the former republics of the Soviet Union. While both Moldova and Ukraine have lobbied fiercely for the diplomatic move, it doesn't come without a certain cost. Russia, for once, is pissed. Moscow sealed its borders for Ukrainian chocolate (and also banned all Ukrainian imports for an entire week last August.) Critics of the partnership within the EU, on the other hand, fear the Kremlin's wrath and wonder whether both states are up for the task. In Ukraine, for example, the political situation has diverted radically from the hopefulness that accompanied the Orange Revolution.
"Welcome To Madrid! Here's A Long List Of Things You're Not Allowed To Do"
The Atlantic Cities -- Feargus O'Sullivan
If you're planning to spend some time in Madrid in the near future, we suggest you first take a look at the municipality's list of new fines. Then think twice about activities such as dangerous rollerblading and beating carpets in the streets. Don't jump in city fountains and above all, be careful with the pots you plant on your balcony. Feargus O'Sullivan reports that the city of Madrid has launched a new effort to crack down on disorderly conduct in the capital's streets. The number of tourists visiting the metropole have drastically declined and officials are trying to impose new standards. Yet critics wonder whether the tactic will prove effective. As O'Sullivan points out: "Madrid is not Geneva, nor should it ever try to be."
"More Illegal Immigrants Ask For Asylum"
Joel Millman -- The Wall Street Journal
A growing number of people illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border are applying for asylum upon arriving in the country, swamping courts in U.S. border states with immigration proceedings. Francisco Antunez Gutierrez, a 21-year-old man from Honduras, is one of nearly 30,000 migrants filing for the status in the 2013 fiscal year. He applied for asylum after being seized near the border, arguing he would be killed by a drug cartel if he returned to his native country. The court labeled his case one of "credible fear," which allows him to stay in the U.S. during the asylum proceedings. As WSJ reports, the procedure goes on for months and has caught courts off guard. Although a large number of asylum requests are denied, the sheer number of applications suggest many prospective applicants still find it a credible way to gain residency in the U.S.