The World Tunes In To Vegas


It’s a favorite trope in U.S. presidential campaign coverage to say “the world is watching.” In this campaign, it comes with a heavy dose of close-the-shades embarrassment, between Donald Trump’s treatment of women and Hillary Clinton’s treatment of her emails. But as the two candidates prepare for what promises to be a fiery final debate, tonight in Las Vegas, it’s worth remembering that specific things will change for countries and people far away when a new tenant arrives at the White House:

  • Starting, of course, with Mexicans. As economist Fernando Chavez noted in a piece for América Economia (translated here by Worldcrunch), their contribution to the U.S. economy is huge. But a Trump president is determined to deport scores to the other side of a wall Mexico will be asked to pay for. For Muslims, it’s a matter of whether they’ll be banned from entering the U.S. (or is it “extremely vetted”?).
  • Which side China is on is anybody’s guess, but perhaps the correct answer is: none. From Beijing’s perspective, they’re either faced with someone who threatened to “ring China with missile defense” and increase U.S. presence in the South China Sea, or with someone who threatens to unleash an all-out trade war.
  • In Europe, a quiet but diffused preference for Clinton is countered by those who are clearly rooting for Trump, hoping that his victory will spell a wave of anti-establishment successes across the continent. With crucial elections in France, the Netherlands and Germany next year, Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders and the Alternative für Deutschland party respectively, all see Trump as a model to emulate. His victory, on top of the Brexit referendum, would put wind in all sails heading sharply to the right.
  • Perhaps the foreign leader with the most at stake in this election is Vladimir Putin. Between Clinton, an interventionist who saves her toughest words for Russian foreign policy, and Trump, an isolationist who boasts that he can work together with the Kremlin, the choice appears quite clear for the Russian president. For further proof of where Putin stands, one need only look at the number of reports in the Russian media about risks of nuclear war between Moscow and Washington if Clinton wins.


  • Las Vegas hosts the third and final U.S. presidential debate.
  • Yemen 72-hour ceasefire goes into effect at midnight.
  • The European Space Agency’s Schiaparelli spacecraft to land on Mars.
  • Tesla unveils mysterious new product.


Fighting is intensifying around the Iraqi city of Mosul, as Iraqi forces have made key progress in the battle to retake the city from ISIS. But despite widespread shows of confidence that the offensive will succeed, a brigadier general of Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces told CNN that it would take two weeks to enter Mosul, and two months to liberate the city, warning that bad weather could delay the process. The UN refugee agency said that 900 civilians had fled Mosul to cross into Syria. Many jihadists have followed the same itinerary over the past few weeks and days, and some fear they may wind up in Europe.


Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed that the government had decided to “temporarily” restrict Julian Assange’s Internet access at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, in the wake of the WikiLeaks release of documents from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The statement said that the leaks have had a “major impact” on the U.S. presidential elections, which contradicted Ecuador’s “principles of nonintervention in the affairs of other nations.” Assange sought refuge in the embassy in 2012 to avoid questioning in Sweden linked to rape allegations, which the WikiLeaks founder denies. Read more from The Washington Post.


Any John le Carré fans out there? Time for your 57-second shot of history!


“Chemical castration, if we enforce it consistently, will reduce sex crimes and wipe them out over time,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo told the BBC, justifying legislation passed earlier this month that allows chemical castration for pedophiles.


China’s economic growth remained stable and on target in the third quarter with the country’s GDP rising 6.7% from last year. But the Financial Times reports that several analysts are worried over the levels of debt and the housing bubble fueling the growth.


Versailles, the German Pavilion in Barcelona, Phillip Johnson’s Glass House … More and more famous buildings around the world are hosting so-called “ephemeral art exhibitions” in a bid to “reboot” their significance. For Argentine daily Clarin, Norberto Feal writes: “Such interventions on architectural landmarks risk becoming more and more common, as artists and curators are finding museums and public spaces too restricted for their shows now. And so some of the world's finest building are subject to these kinds of ‘reboots.’ ... Why are masterpieces of architecture treated this way? One wonders, what would happen if Velásquez's Las Meninas in the Prado were covered with Kusama's polkadots?”

Read the full article, When Art Tarnishes A Masterpiece Of Architecture.


Buddhist Birdhouse? â€" Bangkok, 1993


The underwater search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which was supposed to be completed by the end of this year, will be delayed by at least two months due to bad weather in the Indian Ocean, Reuters reports. Investigators have already searched 42,500 of the 46,000 square-mile designated area.



You can grab a pork-less halal hot dog on the streets of Muslim-majority Malaysia. But the Malaysian Islamic Development Department, a religious government body, wants to change the name â€" to avoid “confusion.” Director Sirajuddin Suhaimee explains: "In Islam, dogs are considered unclean and the name cannot be related to halal certification." We’ll take two hot cows, hold the mustard.

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What It Means When The Jews Of Germany No Longer Feel Safe

A neo-Nazi has been buried in the former grave of a Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender – not an oversight, but a deliberate provocation. This is just one more example of antisemitism on the rise in Germany, and society's inability to respond.

At a protest against antisemitism in Berlin

Eva Marie Kogel


BERLIN — If you want to check the state of your society, there's a simple test: as the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, John Jay McCloy, said in 1949, the touchstone for a democracy is the well-being of Jews. This litmus test is still relevant today. And it seems Germany would not pass.

Incidents are piling up. Most recently, groups of neo-Nazis from across the country traveled to a church near Berlin for the funeral of a well-known far-right figure. He was buried in the former grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender, a gravesite chosen deliberately by the right-wing extremists.

The incident at the cemetery

They intentionally chose a Jewish grave as an act of provocation, trying to gain maximum publicity for this act of desecration. And the cemetery authorities at the graveyard in Stahnsdorf fell for it. The church issued an immediate apology, calling it a "terrible mistake" and saying they "must immediately see whether and what we can undo."

There are so many incidents that get little to no media attention.

It's unfathomable that this burial was allowed to take place at all, but now the cemetery authorities need to make a decision quickly about how to put things right. Otherwise, the grave may well become a pilgrimage site for Holocaust deniers and antisemites.

The incident has garnered attention in the international press and it will live long in the memory. Like the case of singer-songwriter Gil Ofarim, who recently claimed he was subjected to antisemitic abuse at a hotel in Leipzig. Details of the crime are still being investigated. But there are so many other incidents that get little to no media attention.

Photo of the grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

The grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

Jens Kalaene/dpa/ZUMA

Crimes against Jews are rising

Across all parts of society, antisemitism is on the rise. Until a few years ago, Jewish life was seen as an accepted part of German society. Since the attack on the synagogue in Halle in 2019, the picture has changed: it was a bitter reminder that right-wing terror against Jewish people has a long, unbroken history in Germany.

Stories have abounded about the coronavirus crisis being a Jewish conspiracy; meanwhile, Muslim antisemitism is becoming louder and more forceful. The anti-Israel boycott movement BDS rears its head in every debate on antisemitism, just as left-wing or post-colonial thinking are part of every discussion.

Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

Since 2015, the number of antisemitic crimes recorded has risen by about a third, to 2,350. But victims only report around 20% of cases. Some choose not to because they've had bad experiences with the police, others because they're afraid of the perpetrators, and still others because they just want to put it behind them. Victims clearly hold out little hope of useful reaction from the state – so crimes go unreported.

And the reality of Jewish life in Germany is a dark one. Sociologists say that Jewish children are living out their "identity under siege." What impact does it have on them when they can only go to nursery under police protection? Or when they hear Holocaust jokes at school?

Germany needs to take its antisemitism seriously

This shows that the country of commemorative services and "stumbling blocks" placed in sidewalks as a memorial to victims of the Nazis has lost its moral compass. To make it point true north again, antisemitism needs to be documented from the perspective of those affected, making it visible to the non-Jewish population. And Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

That is the first thing. The second is that we need to talk about specifically German forms of antisemitism. For example, the fact that in no other EU country are Jewish people so often confronted about the Israeli government's policies (according to a survey, 41% of German Jews have experienced this, while the EU average is 28%). Projecting the old antisemitism onto the state of Israel offers people a more comfortable target for their arguments.

Our society needs to have more conversations about antisemitism. The test of German democracy, as McCloy called it, starts with taking these concerns seriously and talking about them. We need to have these conversations because it affects all of us. It's about saving our democracy. Before it's too late.

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