Must-Reads from Around the World

In today's offerings: Live bullfighting returns to Spanish television after a six year absence, Hong Kong's top official attempts to find more affordable housing in one the world's most expensive cities, and Quebec's newly elected leader ploughs ahead in the shadow of fatal shootings at her victory rally.

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Animal rights activists from group Equanimal protest against bullfighting, on August 25, 2012, in the Northern Spanish Basque city of Bilbao.

Bullfighting on Live TV — Spanish public television aired a live bullfight Wednesday for the first time in six years, reports the Los Angeles Times, after Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy reversed a ban on live broadcasts of the age-old sport. In 2006, the Spanish government banned the live airing of bullfighting because it considered showing the killing of animals in the early evening, when many children watch TV, as inappropriate. “The return of bullfighting to Spanish public TV is a victory for its advocates, who recently convinced the government to reclassify the practice as an art form, protected by the Ministry of Culture, rather than as a sport,” it wrote.

Chemical Hazard — The U.N. Environment Program warns in its latest report that health and environmental hazards from chemical substances are rising, according to VOA News. “Global Chemicals Outlook” indicates that the world is overwhelmed by a growing number of chemicals but only a small portion of the roughly 143,000 chemicals that are produced have been assessed for their effects on human health and the environment. UNEP suggests that the “sound management of chemicals could save millions of lives and provide an economic bonanza to nations worldwide,” wrote VOA.

Quest for Affordable HousingBloomberg Businessweek reports that Hong Kong‘s top leader, Leung Chun-ying, is trying to make housing more affordable in one of the world’s most expensive cities. Leung, who took office in July, said he would increase public housing units and start drafting legislation that gives preference to local Hong Kongers over buyers from mainland China to help bring down property prices that have increased by 85% since 2009, wrote Businessweek. Experts, however, note that Leung faces a tough balancing act of introducing more property curbs to stem prices without disrupting the local property market amid the economic slowdown.
World’s Most Dangerous City – Harking back to TIME’s cover story on Karachi as “Pakistan’s Dark Heart,” Al Jazeera English examines its “endemic political violence and crime,” deeming it “the world’s most dangerous megacity.” Crime statistics compiled from governments, police departments and the U.N. reveal that Karachi has the highest homicide rate among the 13 largest cities in the word by a margin of at least 25%. Its position is “comparable” to Sao Paulo, Brazil in the mid-2000s, “when it was wracked with violence linked to organised crime and drugs.”

Gay Marriage Row – The Sydney Morning Herald observes the Australian Christian Lobby’s defence of its controversial remarks comparing same-sex marriage to smoking, which prompted Prime Minister Julia Gillard to withdraw from speaking at its annual conference. In a statement, Gillard asserted: “To compare the health effects of smoking cigarettes with the many struggles gay and lesbian Australians endure in contemporary society is heartless and wrong.” The organization said her decision was an “abandonment of the Christian constituency”.

Shadow of a Gunman – In wake of fatal shootings at Quebec’s newly elected Premier Pauline Marois’ victory rally, the Guardian covers the leader’s plans for her minority government. Elected amidst student protests over tuition fee rises, Marois has promised to reverse the fee hike and stated her intention to hold a summit on higher education. In an election where social and cultural issues came to the fore, she also insisted she would “protect” Quebec’s Anglophone residents. Reflecting on the shootings, she said: “A man is dead for no reason. Madness has struck.”

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