Must-Reads from Around the World

Chile's ex-president Michelle Bachelet will run for re-election, Indian activists try to fight fake godmen and the brother of Britain’s opposition leader has announced his retirement from politics

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Chilean former president (2006-2010) Michelle Bachelet waves after announcing she will run for candidate for next November presidential elections in Santiago, on March 27, 2013.

Chilean PresidencyChile‘s ex-president Michelle Bachelet has announced that she will run for re-election on Nov. 17, reports the BBC. Bachelet became the South American country’s first female president in 2006 and served for four years, leaving office with a high approval rating. Since 2010, Bachelet has been the head of U.N. Women in New York. The center-left politician, according to the BBC, stands a good chance in the upcoming election against Laurence Golborne, the center-right candidate supported by President Sebastián Piñera.

India‘s Religious Charlatans — Activists in India are trying to eradicate fraud and exploitation by fake godmen and godwomen, who are religious ascetics who claim to have supernatural powers, notes UPI. Many Indians believe and rely on the curses and rituals of godmen, but others believe that they hoax their followers instead. In 2003, the South Asian country passed an anti-superstition law to fine and jail offenders to protect Indians against blind faith, ignorance and “black magic.” Despite activists’ educational campaigns and media coverage of fake godmen, belief in their powers persists, writes UPI.
Suu Kyi Watches Military Show — Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has attended a military display in the Burmese capital Naypyidaw, in what is seen as a fledging partnership with her former military captors, reports the New York Times. The ceremony, which was broadcast on national television, was more militaristic than in previous years, featuring a parade of tanks and rocket launchers as well as a flypast by helicopters and fighter aircraft. Burma’s army seems to be in the ascendance again, notes the Times, two years after the ruling military junta ceded power to a nominally civilian administration. Suu Kyi has recently caused consternation by praising the military, which is widely resented in Burma after decades of oppression. But U Nyan Win, a leading member of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, said her presence at the military display represented a reconciliation between the army and civilians, writes the Times.

Islamic Fund Row — A $1 billion fund to protect the “Islamic and Arab character” of East Jerusalem has provoked a row between Qatar, its largest contributor, and Israel, reports the Times of London. According to a draft resolution paseed by the Arab League this week, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, pledged $250 million to finance projects and programs designed to maintain the “Arab and Islamic character of the city and reinforce the steadfastness of its people.” Both Israel and the Palestinians claim the city, which contains some of the holiest sites in Islam, Judaism and Christianity, as their capital, notes the Times. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the fund and urged Arab states to contribute to it, reports Haaretz. But an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said the initiative was “a badge of shame” for Qatar.

Miliband Quits — The brother, and former political rival, of Britain’s opposition leader has announced his retirement from politics, reports the BBC. David Miliband, a former foreign secretary, was beaten to the Labour party leadership by his younger brother Ed in 2010. At that time the older Miliband decided not to join his brother’s shadow cabinet but continued his political career as a backbench MP. His decision to quit is seen by many as a blow to his brother and to the party, writes the BBC. He will now take up a post as head of the International Rescue Committee, a non-governmental relief and development organization, in New York.