The best reads from around the worldFollow @ShortlistDaily
France: A divided nation goes to the polls "One of the central paradoxes of life in France is that for all the French preen themselves as the most civilised nation on Earth, they are also quickly prone to collapse into self-lacerating fits of low self-esteem. They even have a term for this syndrome: they call it le malaise français."
Rudd's secret mining tax deal "The night before Kevin Rudd was rolled as prime minister, he and miner Andrew Forrest had just agreed to transform the resource super profits tax into a radical proposal to revolutionise the delivery of infrastructure in Australia."
What will Obama do? "The President and his campaign have been strikingly quiet about plans for a second term. As a rule, all incumbents, of whatever office, run for reëlection on their records rather than on their future promises, but Obama appears to have taken the strategy to an extreme."
Hunting elephants while Madrid burns "King Juan Carlos' trip struck a nerve, seeming, in its timing and purpose, to embody aristocratic decadence. For one thing, it cost thirty thousand euros - eight thousand more than the average Spaniard's salary, at a moment when a bailout looms and unemployment is at twenty-four per cent. For another, killing elephants?"
Why do Kenyans make such great runners? "For such a popular, straightforward question, there's less consensus than you might think. Western research on the nature of Kenyan runners, and on successful African athletes in general, is complicated by some particularly thorny racial politics."