Must-Reads from Around the World

Singapore has the world's best business environment, evangelical churches in Brazil gain political traction, and an investigation into the BBC

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Nicky Loh / Getty Images

A view of the residential skyline in Singapore, February 17, 2012.

Most Competitive Country — The World Bank picked Singapore as the country with the world’s best business environment for the seventh year in a row, reports Bloomberg. Hong Kong ranked number two as a business-friendly nation, followed by New Zealand, the U.S. and Denmark.The World Bank’s “2013 Doing Business” report looks at “indicators such as the time it takes to start a business, submit tax returns and export or import goods” in 185 countries. The report also noted that developing countries are “accelerating reforms, making it easier to open and operate businesses,” wrote Bloomberg.

Praise Be — Evangelical churches in Brazil are gaining political traction, notes the Los Angeles Times, as they use their money, influence and media power to sway elections. Evangelical Christians make up roughly 20% of Brazilians and constitute one of the largest voting blocs in the Brazilian Congress. According to the Times, well-organized evangelicals are using their growing influence “to press a small set of socially conservative issues, as well as to maintain favorable conditions for their often very profitable enterprises,” and thereby creating what many other Brazilians see as an uneasy mixing of religion and politics.

U.S.-China Exports  — The New York Times reports that American exporters are feeling the chill as China’s economy slows down. U.S. exports to the world’s second-largest economy have been decreasing and “the recent slowdown in export growth has probably contributed to the loss of 38,000 jobs in the American manufacturing sector since July,” wrote the Times.

Presidential Debate – Global perspectives on the U.S. election always make for fascinating reading. And according to Aljazeera, President Barack Obama was the aggressor right from the beginning of Monday night’s third and final U.S. presidential debate. Obama criticized Governor Mitt Romney on his policy for the Middle East and made fun of the Republican candidate’s suggestion that the government should call for more ships in the U.S. army. The BBC argues that even though the president had the best lines, Romney may have had the best night, as he presented himself as a peaceful leader who will continue to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. With just two weeks until the election, it appears that the race will go down to the wire with many polls unable to separate them.

BBC Investigation – The Director-General of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), George Entwistle, is appearing before a committee of MPs at the Culture, Media and Sport select committee on Tuesday, writes the Independent. The board is investigating how the BBC handled the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse allegations. Entwistle has said that he “desperately hopes” people won’t be put off the BBC in the wake of the shelved Newsnight report, notes the Guardian. He added that Monday night’s Panorama investigative documentary is something everyone in the BBC should be proud of – “here was the BBC investigating itself on its own TV channel, asking questions of itself no other media organization on earth would do,” Entwistle told the committee.

Lebanon Army – The Lebanese army has urged “all political leaders to be cautious when expressing their stances and opinions,” writes the BBC. This recommendation follows the decision to deploy the Lebanese army onto the streets of Beirut and Tripoli in an attempt to calm tensions. Several people were killed in gunfights in Tripoli on Monday. The violence comes after the funeral of General Wissam al-Hassan – a Sunni and the head of the intelligence branch of the Internal Security Forces (ISF). Hassan, a critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was killed in a car bomb last Friday.

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