Must-Reads from Around the World, May 1, 2012

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A video grab from pooled footage taken inside the Leveson Inquiry shows former News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch giving evidence at the Leveson Inquiry into press standards at the High Court in London on April 26, 2012.

Conduct Report – British MPs tasked with investigating allegations of phone hacking at Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct tabloid, News of the World, have released a long-awaited final report on the matter. The Daily Telegraph is live-blogging its contents, reporting the parliamentary committee found that Rupert Murdoch “is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company,” and that his son James was guilty of “willful blindness” over phone-hacking. However, MPs were split along party lines as regards the Murdochs.

Sharia States – The Guardian’s Ghaith Abdul-Ahad reports from southern Yemen on the newly proclaimed jihadi emirates run by affiliates of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemeni franchise of the terrorist movement. “They are in the process of setting up an al-Qaeda utopia here, where security is provided by jihadis, justice follows sharia law and even the administration of electricity and water supplies is governed by the emir,” he writes.

Awkward Asylum – The South China Morning Post is among those reporting that blind mainland activist Chen Guangcheng, who fled house arrest last week, is likely to be given asylum in America in the coming days. The newspaper says that according to U.S.-based rights group ChinaAid, U.S. and Chinese officials are eager to try to strike a deal before high-level bilateral talks involving U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton start in Beijing on Thursday.

Public Differences – The Christian Science Monitor notes increasingly vocal disagreements in Israel over whether to attack Iran. “In one corner, the Netanyahu government. In the other, a number of Israeli security officials,” the newspaper writes, adding: “Israeli politicians are known for their very public disagreements, but differences between security officials past and present and Israel’s sitting government – especially on a topic as critical as this – are rare.”
M’aidez! – BBC News explains why Europe is the focus of labor demonstrations on May Day, due to its “unpopular austerity measures” and “rising social unrest,” with large demonstrations taking place in Greece, Spain and Portugal. It also reports that Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right-wing National Front party in France, is expected to tell her supporters at a Paris rally who to vote for in Sunday’s presidential run-off – incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy or the expected winner, Socialist Francois Hollande.

Spook the Spooks – The Guardian calls for MI5 and MI6, Britain’s secret security and intelligence agencies, to be “scrutinised by an independent inspector general,” due to the agencies being mired in recent controversies, such as “conniving” with former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s secret police, and questions about MI6’s “duty of care to its own staff,” after an inquest into former employee Gareth Williams’ mysterious death revealed that his colleagues did not report him missing for a week.

Russian Reticence – The New York Daily News analyzes U.S.-Russia relations, arguing that both countries are “doomed to live in a world of completely different perceptions,” deeming the attempted “reset” of their relations a “failure.” The piece suggests that Russia’s “banal lack of information” leads its people to believe “the wildest conspiracy theories” about the West, and in turn, America’s outlook is “shaped by a deep-seated fear of the Communist past.”