Must-Reads From Around the World, May 29, 2012

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MAHMUD HAMS / AFP / GettyImages

Egyptians wait in a queue at a polling station in Cairo on May 23, 2012, during the country's first presidential election since a popular uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak.

A Polarized Polity – In a significant development that squarely pits the Muslim Brotherhood against Egypt’s old guard, results of the first round of polling in the country’s presidential race reveal that next month’s runoff will be a fight between Freedom and Justice party candidate Mohammed Morsy and ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak’s former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik, writes the Guardian. This outcome is not what anyone expected, says TIME’s Abigail Hauslohner — and it has left the country’s liberals and leftists crestfallen.

Self-Immolations Continue – One Tibetan died and another was seriously injured when they set themselves on fire outside a Buddhist temple in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, according to the Chinese state news agency Xinhua. At least 36 people have self-immolated since March 2011, reports the New York Times, but this is the first time that such protests against Chinese rule have occurred in the Tibetan capital.

Nuclear’s Past and Future – Recalling last year’s deadly Fukushima accident that pushed the country to the brink of “national collapse,” Japan’s former prime minister Naoto Kan told a parliamentary inquiry on Monday that the country should do away with nuclear power, reports the New York Times. Meanwhile, after months of dithering, Japan’s Parliament began a debate on Tuesday about plans for a new nuclear watchdog, Reuters reports, raising hopes of a consensus on the fraught issue of tightening industry oversight over nuclear facilities.

A Shark to a Squid – As tensions build between Iran and the West over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program, The Wall Street Journal warns against the Americans’ apparent conviction “that there’s a grand bargain to be struck with the mullahs, and that it lies just inches out of reach.” The piece says Iran is treating the West “the way a shark would a squid.”

Moscow’s Moment – Following the horrific massacre of Syrian civilians in Houla, the Canadian Globe and Mail says it is Russia’s job to save the peace process and it should avoid “the temptation to fall back on its old pattern of providing excuses and cover for the murderous Assad regime.” The piece says, however, that there are “the slimmest of hopes” that Russia will follow up on its vote of condemnation in the U.N. Security Council with action.

Imagining Peace?The Jerusalem Post questions the future of potential Israeli-Palestinian coexistence in an op-ed, offering four possible ways to divide disputed territory and concluding that none of them is viable. “Let’s face it, neither Israelis nor Palestinians want to live under the control of the other side. As far as I can see, this basic reality will not change,” the columnist writes.