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Another Wall For The Road

"UK government has just gone full Trump." The British announcement yesterday that the construction of the "Great Wall of Calais" is about to begin was bound to arrive at the feet of Donald Trump.

Of course, the New York businessman is far from being the first, or the last, to have the idea of setting up a physical barrier between yourself and your problems. In fact, according to a study published last year on fortified boundaries, out of the 51 walls built around the world since the end of World War II, about half were set up between 2000 and 2014. The hope given by the fall of the Berlin Wall was, it seems, demolished by 9/11.

Even as many have argued that physical walls are ultimately futile, they keep going up. Added to the 50 barriers that separate countries and territories today, now comes a 3.2-million-euro, 1-kilometer-long, 4-meter-high wall separating both sides of the main road that leads to the port of Calais, in northern France, from migrants living in the so-called "Jungle" attempting to board trucks to get to the United Kingdom.

The truck drivers who regularly cross the English Channel and local Calais residents — who bear much of the weight of the intractable presence of migrants — are likely to have the strongest voices about the plans for the wall, which would cost more than 3 million euros. But ultimately, the decision reflects on all the citizens of Britain and France. Call it a troubling post-script to Brexit with a French touch.


  • The 29th ASEAN summit ends today.
  • NFL season kicks off.
  • It's World Physical Therapy Day. Get cracking.


Asian leaders attending the ASEAN summit in Vientiane, Laos, played down tensions over the South China Sea in a carefully worded summit statement issued today, Reuters reports. Before the statement was released, China had voiced frustration with countries outside the region "interfering" in rows over the strategic waterway.


Four people have been arrested in France after an abandoned car carrying six gas cylinders was discovered last Saturday near Notre-Dame cathedral, in central Paris, France 24 reports. The owner of the car, who is on French intelligence services' radicalization watchlist, was arrested but later released because he reported to police on Sunday that his car had been stolen. Authorities are now actively looking for the man's daughter, 19, who is suspected of links with radical Islam and of having stolen the car.


Here's your 57-second shot of history, today celebrating, among other things, 25 years of independence for Macedonia!


Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump made back-to-back appearances in the "Commander in Chief" forum, organized in New York last night. The two presidential candidates took very different stands on national security issues, as Donald Trump once again praised Russian President Vladimir Putin. Hillary Clinton described herself as a model of "absolute rock steadiness" on foreign policy. Read more from the Washington Post.


The 2016 Summer Paralympics opened at Rio's iconic Maracana Stadium on Wednesday evening, 17 days after the end of the Olympics. Bravos, boos and controversies: Read more about the opening ceremony, and see how Brazilian daily O Globo featured the event on its front page here.


Denmark's taxation minister Karsten Lauritzen announced the country's government will spend more than $1 million to buy leaked Panama Papers data from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, Danmarks Radio reports. With the information, the Danish government intends to investigate whether up to 600 Danes evaded tax.


Even for those who abhor the Republican nominee, it's important to get the terminology right: "Some people, including at least one former university lecturer, have begun calling Donald Trump a fascist. It is false," Pierre-Marcel Favre writes for Swiss daily Le Temps. "Let me be clear: I am certainly no fan of this grotesque candidate, but calling him a fascist makes no sense. The word ‘populist' is already widely misused in Europe, but it arguably applies to the American billionaire. ‘Far-right extremist' may be debatable, but 'fascist' is not appropriate in any way. Excessive caricature is noxious."

Read the full article, No, Donald Trump Is Not A Fascist.


"Europe is like a sleepwalker walking towards a cliff," Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in an interview published by French daily Le Monde this morning, ahead of a Euro-Mediterranean summit in Athens.


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested in private during the G20 summit in China that Turkey and the U.S. were ready to join forces to drive ISIS out of its de facto Syrian capital Raqqa, according to The New York Times. The U.S. State Department did not confirm Erdogan's statement, but underlined the importance of "local forces" being involved in the fight against the terror group.


Life By The Mountain — Chobhar, 1994


The American media company Liberty Media confirmed in a press release yesterday that it is buying the Formula 1 racing business for $4.4 billion. The media firm is buying the stake from the private equity firm CVC Capital, in what is considered one of the biggest deals in sports history.


Apple's iPhone 7 was unveiled yesterday at the tech giant's keynote in San Francisco. It is water resistant, has a longer battery life, a new camera and no headphone jack. One Apple executive boasted of the company's "courage" in removing the headphone jack, which will require an expensive wireless alternative.



You can now acquire the Beverly House, which was featured in Francis Ford Coppola's movie The Godfather. For a modest $195 million (cue in "offer-he-can't-refuse" joke), the Beverly Hills mansion comes with 30 rooms, 40 bathrooms, a garden-view bar, a two-story library and billiard room. No horse's head in the bed included.

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Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski


PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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