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Power In America And American Power

The election of Donald Trump is a shocking event for millions of Americans. And not only Americans. The man set to move into the White House has spent the past 18 months crossing lines of both basic decency and what we still like to call modern democracy. Beyond any fair debate on points of policy, Trump's candidacy amounted to a vitriolic, almost violent thirst for power and disregard for a half-century of progress in the way we talk to and about each other. He also seems utterly uninterested in doing the basic homework necessary for one of the most demanding and consequential jobs in the world.

While some Americans expressed their outrage at Trump's win by protesting on the streets, The New Yorker editor David Remnick articulated his own in words. "The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump's shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy."

And yet, even if one can imagine them sharing such a sentiment, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had something very different to say out loud yesterday. In her concession speech, Clinton told her supporters that they must now root for Trump's success: "We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead." This is something much bigger than courtesy or protocol. Public officials, at their best, know the stakes of their work and weight of their words — and how they can influence both their own followers and their fiercest rivals. In part because it is unclear what Trump actually believes or wants to do with his power, his opponents in America must now decide whether to try to limit the harm of his presidency through coaxing or confrontation.

Contained in the famous quote "war is merely the continuation of politics by other means," is the understanding that the democratic battle over power and ideas is always at risk of suddenly turning very ugly. That applies both at home and abroad. Some non-Americans have lamented Trump's victory as the death of the U.S. model for progressive democracy and discourse, while others have noted bitterly that Washington may be about to get a taste of the kind of "strongman" leadership it has long imposed on other countries around the world.

Geneva-based Le Temps asked Rupert Colville of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights about Trump. "If we think that the decisions or practices of the next American administration violate the human rights of any groups or individuals, we will say so, just as we have done in the past, and as we do in the rest of the world." We might all agree the world is better off with such checks in place on American power. Now we must also hope the checks are in place on the power of any one American.



Protests erupted in various cities across the U.S. as thousands of people took to the streets against Donald Trump's victory, with chanting "Not my president!" At least 65 demonstrators were arrested in New York City after protesters outside Trump Tower burned American flags and effigies of the president-elect, NBC News reports. Though most other protests were peaceful, a demonstration in Oakland, California, ended in violence with street fires and smashed windows.


Asian stocks roared back after suffering spectacular losses yesterday in reaction to Trump's unexpected victory. European shares were also up again this morning, with The Guardian writing that "analysts who predicted markets would slump if Trump pulled off a shock win have some explaining to do today."


On this day, Bill Gates unveiled the very first version of Windows. They grow up so fast.


Gunmen wearing Iraqi Federal Police uniforms reportedly tortured and killed civilians in villages south of Mosul in late October, according to Amnesty International. The report says that at least six people were extrajudicially executed on suspicions of being ISIS jihadists. Inside Mosul meanwhile, ISIS killed at least 20 people accused of "passing information to the enemy" over the past two days. According to Reuters, five bodies were crucified and put on display at a road junction, and others were hanged to electricity poles and traffic signals, to send a message to the city's inhabitants that the terror group is still in charge.


Brediterranean View — Valletta, 1990


The Democratic Republic of the Congo could descend into civil war if President Joseph Kabila doesn't leave office at the end of his current mandate, opposition leaders have warned. Kabila, who succeeded his father after his murder in 2001, was elected in 2006 and again 2011, but the Constitution bars him from seeking a third mandate. He recently announced however that elections, scheduled for this month, would be postponed to April 2018, amid growing unrest. Read more from The Guardian.


Meng Hongwei, China's Vice Public Security Minister, was elected today as Interpol's new president, becoming the first Chinese to lead the global police organization, AFP reports. The news agency notes however that this is a "potentially controversial choice" given Beijing's campaign to hunt down fugitives abroad.



If you look very closely, you might be able to see this robot establish a new record for the fastest-solved Rubik's Cube.

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Why Poland's Draconian Anti-Abortion Laws May Get Even Crueler

Poland has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe. Several parties vying in national elections on Oct. 15 are competing for conservative Catholic voters by promising new laws that could put women's lives at risk.

Photograph of a woman with her lower face covered holding a red lightning bolt - the symbol of the Women's Strike - during the demonstration outside Kaczynski's house.

November 28, 2022, Warsaw, Poland: A protester holds a red lightning bolt - the symbol of the Women's Strike - during the demonstration outside Kaczynski's house.

Attila Husejnow/ZUMA
Katarzyna Skiba


In 2020, Poland was rocked by mass protests when the country’s Constitutional Tribunal declared abortions in the case of severe fetal illness or deformity illegal. This was one of only three exceptions to Poland’s ban on abortions, which now only applies in cases of sexual assault or when the life of the mother is at risk.

Since the 2020 ruling, several women have filed complaints to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) after giving birth to children with severe fetal abnormalities, many of whom do not survive long after birth. One woman working at John Paul II hospital in the Southern Polish town of Nowy Targ told Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza that a patient was forced to give birth to a child suffering from acrania a lethal disorder where infants are born without a skull.

However, even in cases where abortion is technically legal, hospitals and medical professionals in Poland still often refuse to perform the procedure, citing moral objections.

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