"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.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- The 29th ASEAN summit ends today.
- NFL season kicks off.
- It's World Physical Therapy Day. Get cracking.
ASEAN SUMMIT DISCUSSES SOUTH CHINA SEA ROW
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.
ARRESTS MADE AFTER PARIS TERROR SCARE
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.
— ON THIS DAY
Here's your 57-second shot of history, today celebrating, among other things, 25 years of independence for Macedonia!
TRUMP, CLINTON CONTRAST ON NATIONAL SECURITY
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.
— EXTRA! PARALYMPICS OPEN
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 TO BUY LEAKED PANAMA PAPERS DATA
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 â€˜populist' is already widely misused in Europe, but it arguably applies to the American billionaire. â€˜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.
U.S., TURKEY COULD JOIN FORCES AGAINST ISIS CAPITAL
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.
— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD
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 UNVEILS NEW IPHONE
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.
MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH
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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.