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LE MONDE
This leading French daily newspaper Le Monde ("The World") was founded in December 1944 in the aftermath of World War II. Today, it is distributed in 120 countries. In late 2010, a trio formed by Pierre Berge, Xavier Niel and Matthieu Pigasse took a controlling 64.5% stake in the newspaper.
Screenshot of a meme showing a photoshopped image of Greta Thunberg doing a V sign over Andrew Tate's grave
eyes on the U.S.
Alex Hurst

Greta’s Andrew Tate Takedown Shines Light On Toxic American Males

Greta Thunberg dealt a knock-out blow online to self-proclaimed "misogynist" Andrew Tate. However, taming the spread of toxic masculinity online is not as simple.

-Analysis-

Two rounds, two knockouts in the all-out verbal dustup that saw Greta Thunberg win the year (or at least, the internet) in the final moments of 2022.

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“Hardly anyone is as skilled as Greta Thunberg when it comes to making supposedly grown men cry with rage,” writes Spain’s El Pais.

This, then, is a tale of Tate’s tears told in four tweets.

Greta v. Tate

First, the American boxer, social media influencer, and self-proclaimed “misogynist” Andrew Tate lashed out at the Swedish climate activist, gratuitously tweeting a picture of himself fueling a sports car. Noting that he had 33 such cars, Tate tauntingly offered to send the teenage Thunberg an account of their combined emissions.

Thunberg responded in a language both Tate and his audience would understand: “yes, please do enlighten me. email me at smalldickenergy@getalife.com.” It’s a response that has since become the fourth most liked tweet in history, and one that Tate could not ignore.

He fired back with an insult and a picture of himself in a bathrobe, smoking a cigar, with a pizza box in front of him. Visible on the box was the Romanian pizza shop that he had ordered from.

Just hours later, Romanian police raided Tate’s property in the country and arrested him on charges of human trafficking. He is still being held, and his precious car collection was seized.

Though police later denied that the photo was central to their operation, Thunberg had enough time in between news of the arrest and their statement to pounce again, posting to her account: “this is what happens when you don’t recycle your pizza boxes.”

The dark side of the Tate brothers

You might not have been familiar with Andrew Tate before the incident — but an alarming number of teenage boys certainly have heard of him and others who share his ideology.

“Inspirational monologues, defense of capitalism, and misogynist theories: ‘masculinist thought,’ which is based on the idea that there is a crisis affecting traditional social conceptions of masculinity, is spreading on social media and targeting a younger and younger audience via Twitter accounts, Telegram groups, and short videos spread on Instagram and TikTok,” Pauline Ferrari wrote last summer in an extensively reported piece for Le Monde.

Online propaganda is centrally linked to recent right-wing terror incidents in the U.S. and Slovenia.

In the United States and elsewhere, far-right influencers have turned to TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, appropriating memes and online lingo, as a way of targeting — mainly male — teenage youth with their ideas, writes Nicolas Baygert of the Université Libre de Bruxelles in The Conversation.

As France’s Libération reports, Europol, Europe’s cross-border police agency, sees online propaganda as centrally linked to recent high-profile, right-wing terror incidents in the U.S. and Slovenia.

Romanian publication Puterea dug deeper into the dark underbelly of the “eccentric Tate brothers”, pointing out that their influence is built on “a bonafide industry, whose sole purpose is to promote pornography and pimping … Not only are they interlopers, supported by a real marketing machine, they’re dangerous mobsters, who promote prostitution and pornography.”

Toxic masculinity

Other European sources explored what Tate’s popularity reveals about how toxic masculinity is spread online. Swedish Expressen's Helen Ablatova expressed alarm about how many men see Tate as a role model. “If there's one thing young men need, it's not Andrew Tate and his harsh rhetoric … Yes, Andrew Tate's sudden popularity is terrifying. I'd like to say I'm surprised but unfortunately I'm not. The fact that someone so blatantly, openly and extremely sexist has become so famous just shows how few male role models there are in the world. A grim, grim truth.”

While Aftonbladet questioned whether excessive coverage of Tate was inadvertently helping his views reach more people: “Shall we talk about him? Write these types of articles? Or should we rather not give ‘flat-Earthers’ extra space for their conspiracy theories?”

However, German Der Freitag pointed out that social media was not the only cause of toxic masculinity: “Social media must be understood as a place of anti-feminist radicalization. But the advertising industry, or the film industry, also echo the binary gender logic and thus strengthen power relations. This suggests, especially to young men, that it is okay to strive for competition and control.”

In other news …

📰 UP, FRONT PAGE AND CENTER

As the House proceeds to more votes for Speaker today, Europe’s papers (like the Frankfurter Rundschau here) have taken note of the “chaos” caused by the inability of the House Republican majority to get on with what should be the simplest of tasks: electing a leader.

🏈 A CONTACT SPORT INDEED

Ankle sprains, knee injuries, concussions, fractures, herniated discs … In the wake of Buffalo Bills star player Damar Hamlin suffering a cardiac arrest during a game on Monday, El Universal draws a list of the most frequent injuries in futbol americano — a “contact sport that can be very dangerous,” as the Mexican daily writes.

❄️🗽 CHILLY LIBERTY

The "once-in-a-century" blizzard that struck the U.S. in late December and early January inspired Algerian daily Le Soir d'Algérie's cartoonist Karim Bouguemra.

Zelensky In Washington: How It Played In Moscow, Kyiv And The Rest Of The World
In The News
Cameron Manley

Zelensky In Washington: How It Played In Moscow, Kyiv And The Rest Of The World

For the Russians, the Ukrainian president went to the U.S. “begging for money.” But elsewhere in the world, this visit was shaping up as one of the most significant episodes of a 10-month-old war with planetary implications.

-Analysis-

Ten months into Russia’s war in Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky once again took the world by storm. His momentous visit to Washington was his first trip abroad since Russia’s full scale invasion, and signals a landmark moment in a war with so much at stake beyond Ukraine’s borders.

Zelensky addressed a joint session of Congress late Wednesday, stressing the need for more weapons and adding that “against all odds, and doom and gloom scenarios, Ukraine didn’t fall. Ukraine is alive and kicking.”

Earlier, U.S. President Joe Biden welcomed the Ukrainian president at the White House, where he confirmed a new $1.85 billion U.S. aid package to Ukraine, including the much discussed Patriot missile defense system. “We understand in our bones that Ukraine’s fight is part of something much bigger,” Biden said.

As dawn broke in Moscow, the reaction from Russian leaders was swift — and dripping with sarcasm and vitriol.

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How Trump’s Legal Troubles Look In Places Where Presidents Get Prosecuted
eyes on the U.S.
Alex Hurst

How Trump’s Legal Troubles Look In Places Where Presidents Get Prosecuted

-Analysis-

What do South Korea, Taiwan, Israel, Italy, France, Portugal, and Iceland all have in common? They’re all wealthy democracies that have charged and prosecuted former heads of state or heads of government for criminal acts committed while in office.

The United States is not a member of this club — at least, not yet.

Add to the above list, Argentina and Brazil, though not as wealthy, another pair of more or less mature democracies that have recently seen former leaders face prosecution.

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So how are countries like these, and others, looking at the U.S. House of Representative Committee’s recommendation that Donald Trump be prosecuted for, among other things, inciting an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021? Is the view in their mainstream news outlets informed by their own experiences with charging former leaders?

“The first time in history that Congress recommends criminal punishment for a former president,” notes South Korea’s largest daily, Chosun. Conversely, any indication that the staunchly anti-China former U.S. President might end up in jail received rather scant coverage from Taiwan’s pro-independence Liberty Times.

Israel’s left-wing daily Haaretz duly reported the news, but as a republication from Reuters — perhaps there will be columns forthcoming in the next few days linking potential charges against Trump with Israeli prosecutors’ own attempt to indict and convict former and now once-again Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Trump: nightmare week.”

In Latin America though, which is no stranger to seeing former rulers jailed, Argentina’s Clarin offers an in-depth explanation of the charges the U.S. Justice Department will have to decide whether or not to pursue: “insurrection, obstruction of official process, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and conspiracy to lie, for which he could face jail time and removal from office.”

Brazil’s O Globo says what U.S. media have been hesitant to say straight out: “January 6, 2021 entered into the history of the United States as the first coup attempt during a transition of power.”

In Italy, where former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was convicted of tax fraud, Corriere della Sera writes at more length about what it called “Trump: nightmare week,” and lists out the twice-impeached, single-term former president’s perils: possible charges, a concrete mark on his historical legacy, whether his taxes records will be made public, and the impact of all of that on his support among Republican voters.

In Portugal, former Prime Minister José Socratès was charged with corruption, money laundering, and falsifying documents — though the corruption charges were dismissed, the latter two were upheld in 2021. Of Trump, Lisbon-based Publico emphasizes the thoroughness of the year-and-a-half long investigation, and the 154 page report released Monday.

“Although they do not have legal force, these recommendations have a very relevant symbolism, since this is the first time that a former President of the United States has been referred to a criminal process,” writes Publico’s Joao Pedro Pincha. “If the former president is actually indicted, he faces the prospect of a long prison sentence and jeopardizes his aspirations to return to the White House in 2024.”

From France, where former President Nicolas Sarkozy was convicted and sentenced for corruption, Le Monde is the most scathing. In an editorial titled, “After the assault on the Capitol, the devastating legacy of Donald Trump,” two central lessons are drawn.

The first is that “despite a handful of conservatives who paid with their political careers,” the Republican Party has been “decidedly incapable of opposing on principle the man who has continuously debased it.” The second goes beyond the fate of a single party: that “the gravest threats to American democracy today come from a supremacist extreme-right whose rhetoric Donald Trump has rendered banal.”

Le Figaro saw the latest news as a chance to run a simple online poll for its French readers. “La Question du Jour: “Should Donald Trump renounce his candidacy for the next American presidential election?”

Regardless of what the French think he should do, the whole world by now knows that the question of what these singularly troubling politicians will do is not only impossible to predict, but is bound to reverberate far beyond America’s borders …

— Alex Hurst

In other news …

📰  UP, FRONT PAGE AND CENTER

L’Economia picked tech billionaire Elon Musk as its person of the year. Just as the SpaceX and Tesla CEO’s fate hangs in the balance with his latest venture, Twitter, Italian daily Corriere Della Sera’s economy supplement describes him as “innovative and controversial, over-the-top and visionary, loved and hated.”

🤫 SO AMERICAN

Equally loved and hated is the series Emily in Paris, whose third season is about to hit Netflix. For the occasion, French TV channel BFM met with some of the show’s actors, who hail from both sides of the Atlantic, for a bit of U.S. v. France banter.

Résultat: Cast members trading barbs about U.S. aloofness, French straightforwardness, Parisians being blasés and Americans being LOUD.

🇵🇭🛥🇨🇳 IN BRIEF

Newspapers in the Philippines are focused this week on the latest reports of Chinese naval vessels “swarming” near contested islands in the South China Sea — and the swift U.S. backing of Manila.

In its lead front-page story, The Philippine Daily Inquirer referred to the statement of U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price: “The reported escalating swarms of PRC vessels in the vicinity of Iroquois Reef and Sabina Shoal in the Spratly Islands interfere with the livelihoods of Philippine fishing communities, and also reflect continuing disregard for other South China Sea claimants and states lawfully operating in the region.”

The Philippine Star offered similar Page One treatment, with the headline: “U.S. slams swarming of China ships in WPS” — referring to the West Philippine Sea, Manila’s official name for the part of the South China Sea that falls within its economic zone of influence.

Photo of comic artist Bastien Vivès
Society
Emma Albright

Free Speech v. Sexual Deviance: French Cartoonist Accused Of Promoting Pedophilia And Incest

The prestigious Angoulême International Comics Festival has cancelled the participation of Bastien Vivès, a leading French cartoonist, after a petition accused both drawings and comments that seem to justify pedophilia and incest. The festival cited risks of violence after threats were made online against Vivès.

This story has been updated Dec. 14, 8 p.m. local time

From Charlie Hebdo to Xavier Gorce to R. Crumb, cartoonists in France have a history of provocation and courting controversy—and generally receive French public support in return. But the latest provocateur, Bastien Vivès, may have crossed the line on the limits of free speech and artistic expression.

The 38-year-old comic book artist from Paris is facing a sudden backlash to work from four years ago that has resurfaced, as well as more recent comments, that critics charge excuse, or even promote, incest and pedophilia.

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photo of Senegal President Macky Sall coming out of his airplane
eyes on the U.S.
Alex Hurst

Eyes On U.S. — When African Leaders Go To Washington, China Is In The Room

-Analysis-

Some 100 of the most important political eyes in Africa aren’t turned towards the U.S. this week — they’re in the U.S. For the first time in eight years, the White House is hosting 49 African heads of state and leaders of government (and the Senegalese head of the African Union) for a U.S.-Africa summit. Not invited: any nation that has recently undergone a military putsch, or otherwise not in good standing with the African Union, like Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Sudan.

It’s only the second such summit, after Barack Obama held the inaugural one in 2014. For African nations, it’s a chance to push for trade agreements and international investment, as reports FinancialAfrik, as well as to showcase their most successful businesses. According to RFI, dominant in its coverage of West Africa, on the agenda are: fighting terrorism, climate change, food security, and a financial facility intended to facilitate African exports to the U.S.

These themes are recurrent in national coverage and official diplomatic communiqués, from the likes of Cameroon (whose communiqué pointedly notes the U.S.’s “lack of colonial history” in Africa), which is seeking to regain access to the the U.S. market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, to Madagascar, which as an island nation, is particularly concerned with climate change.

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But is the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit and the accompanying nice talk all just cynical cover for what are, in fact, purely U.S. strategic interests in its wider global competition with China? That’s certainly the message from Chinese media — but also a point of view either echoed, or simply acknowledged as matter of fact, by African voices.

“No matter how many fancy words the U.S. uses, the country still sees Africa as an arena to serve its strategic goal of competing with China,” Liu Xin writes for China’s state-run Global Times.

Indeed, for the U.S., the summit is a chance to move past the disinterest — if not outright disdain — that the Trump administration showed for Africa at a time when both China and Russia were ramping up their economic and military presence on the continent. Even if Biden Administration officials have been eager to talk about Africa on its own terms, the “long shadow” of China is everywhere, writes Kenya’s The Standard.

There is more than simply a U.S.-China competition at work.

The U.S. is playing “catch up,” writes The Standard, having fallen behind China when it comes to foreign direct investment in Africa, and must convince African countries that it is a better partner than China. The Nairobi-based daily isn’t coy about Africa’s growing strategic importance, leverage, and need to be wooed, writing, “The continent, whose leaders often feel they’ve been given short shrift by leading economies, remains crucial to global powers because of its rapidly growing population, significant natural resources, and a sizable voting bloc in the United Nations.”

Cognizant of the UN voting bloc that African countries constitute, the Biden administration is eager to court their support for Ukraine, but maintains that irrespective of outcome, it wants Africa to have a louder international voice — perhaps, as Al Jazeera reports, by making an African nation a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

Finally, for Malcom Biiga, writing in the regional Francophone magazine Jeune Afrique, there is more than simply a U.S.-China competition at work, and the timing of the summit can’t be disconnected from France’s pullback from West Africa, in particular the announcement this year of the end of its military mission in Mali. “As anti-French sentiment grows larger across Africa, the U.S. is giving it a go with a charm offensive,” Biiga says. It’s not so much competitively “thumbing its nose" at French President Emmanuel Macron, but an expression of Washington’s worry that Russia or China will step in to fill France’s void — reminding readers that Russian military contractor group Wagner has done exactly that in Mali.

As Cameroonian research Paul Simon-Handy told RFI on Tuesday, the U.S. “is trying to define its own strategic vision [in Africa] while remaining a strategic ally of France [in the region].”

Biiga, meanwhile, concludes his analysis of the African leaders’ collective pilgrimage to Washington by wryly pointing out that neither President Joe Biden nor Vice President Kamala Harris has yet to visit Africa.

— Alex Hurst

In other news …

📰  UP, FRONT PAGE AND CENTER

U.S. scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announced that they have — for the first time — created a net positive amount of energy from fusion. It could be a major breakthrough in the search for near limitless clean energy. The experiment used enormous, high powered lasers to start the reaction. Even if actual electricity generation on a large scale remains a long way off, for the Italian daily LaRepubblica, it’s the very first glimpse of a “spark” from the future.

⚜️ AMERICAN EXPORT

“We need an Anglo-American cultural detox,” writes a worried Montréal columnist, otherwise les Québecois risk becoming “Anglo-Americans who just speak French.”

It’s tough being an 8-million person linguistic island in the middle of a 350-million strong North American anglophone ocean … Referencing a professor friend who queried his students about Christmas movies and realized that none of them had any francophone references (like cult comedy films Le Père Noël est une ordure or Les Bronzés font du ski), Loïc Tassé doesn’t just fret about a loss of Québecois culture, but proposes solutions: more public financing of French language movies, books, and music, and introducing more francophone writers (possibly even in English translation) in school courses.

🎅🏻🎄 SO AMERICAN?

Germans are known to take their Christmas sehr seriously. And should they wish to expand their merry horizons and “celebrate it like in the USA,” Focus came up with a handy list of typically American customs for its readers. Some are well known (cookies and milk for Santa, hanging up socks, etc.) and others … less so.

Case in point, the “Christmas pickle,” which the weekly magazine says probably originated in Germany, and wherein a small cucumber (or cucumber-like ornament) is hidden among the other Christmas tree decorations. Guests and children are then invited to look for said Weihnachtsgurke, with the person finding it being awarded an extra present.

Hmmm? It seems most American readers will be as interested as Germans to discover this supposed popular tradition ...

Photo of a man working at the Hyundai car plant in Cangzhou City.
eyes on the U.S.
Alex Hurst

Eyes On U.S. — How White House Climate Action Could Spark A Global Trade War

-Analysis-

When the U.S. Congress passed the Biden administration’s landmark "green" spending bill in August, environmentalists around the world saw it as a very strong — and long overdue — step in the right direction on climate change.

For years, the European Union’s far more stringent environmental regulations have produced a more carbon-efficient economy and vastly lower CO2 emissions per capita — and EU leaders have demanded that the U.S. do its part in tackling climate change.

But what many missed in the new legislation — which included $400 billion in green-focused subsidies — was that it risked playing out in a way that could effectively trigger a trade war. That the legislation was dubbed the “Inflation Reduction Act” (IRA), to help many in Congress justify a "Yes" vote may have been a clue that economic concerns could ultimately trump all the lofty rhetoric about saving the planet.

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So now, over the past few weeks, U.S. allies have been left seeing red rather than green, reading in between the lines of climate action a healthy dose of “America First.” The Korea Herald writes that the IRA could have major negative impacts on its national automakers Hyundai and Kia, with a delegation from Seoul currently in Washington hoping to convince U.S. officials to make changes to the bill’s “Buy American” clauses.

America First, Europe Last.

For Europe, the “Buy American” provisions in the legislation represent a direct threat to its economy and industrial base — a shot taken right when the Continent is bearing the major part of the economic costs of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

“Joe Biden wants to strengthen the American economy — at the expense of Europe,” writes German weekly Die Zeit. “America First, Europe Last,” declares French business daily Les Echos.

Die Zeitexplains to its readers that because the U.S. Congress won’t approve a carbon tax, emissions trading, or strict environmental regulation. Biden is forced to pursue climate action through “subsidies and trade barriers, and thus provokes his allies in Europe.”

In the EU, green subsidies, like a rebate on the purchase of an electric vehicle, are available to consumers no matter where the automobile (or a solar panel, or wind turbine) was produced. But the nearly $400 billion IRA ties the subsidies to production located in the United States, with special waivers for Canada and Mexico.

Europe’s concern is that it is facing a double punch: high energy prices as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (LNG imported from the U.S. costs Europe four to five times as much as it does in the U.S. domestically), coupled with the new round of U.S. subsidies that may lure European manufacturers to relocate to the U.S.

Illustrating European fears, “Next year the battery manufacturer Northvolt will decide whether to build a new factory in the U.S.,” reports Sweden’s Dagens Industri.

French daily Le Monde’s Dec. 3 front page features Biden and Macron’s “uncompromising friendship”

Le Monde

Reporting on French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit last Friday to the U.S., Le Mondetakes note of Macron’s insistence that the IRA’s “protectionist” measures threatened “fragmenting the West” at a time when unity on Russia was paramount. While France would like the Biden administration to offer the same waivers for European firms as are offered to Canadian and Mexican ones, it is also urging equivalent subsidies and “Buy European” legislation at an EU level in response.

Turn-based daily La Stampa notes that Italian automakers are more concerned about the entry of Chinese EVs into the European market (with scant possibility for reciprocity) whereas German automakers are more concerned about the IRA. Though the concerns come from different directions, they note that the “Buy European” legislation could potentially placate both.

Chinese state broadcaster CGTN was quick to pick up on the tensions, calling the IRA “hegemonic.” It’s a reminder that, as a Czech diplomat pointed out, the biggest winner in any EU-U.S. trade war would be … China.

— Alex Hurst

In other news …

🛳 SO AMERICAN

It has been called the “the Walmart of the Seas. A German travel journalist invites you to come aboardCarnival Celebration, the recently-christened mega ship cruising off the coast of Florida. This floating city (it can accommodate 5,800+ passengers) is a bonafide U.S. extravaganza: It includes burger joints, Miami-themed areas complete with pink flamingos, as well as an open-air rollercoaster. As the reviewer tongue-in-cheekily puts it, “in spite of — or perhaps because” it is so typically American, “you will be surprised how charming the ship is.”

🤖💀 IN BRIEF

U.S. police kill more people per year than their counterparts in almost any other country, and now they can even outsource the job. Newspapers in Portugal, Italy and France reported (with various degrees of shock) that the San Francisco Police Department is deploying “killer robots.” That is, robots with the authorization to use lethal force and take human life.

As Spain's El Pais notes, it is perhaps yet another step in the militarization of U.S. police departments as spillover from the Iraq War.

⚽️ OOH BURN!

A cheeky exchange took place between Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and U.S. President Joe Biden after the Netherlands beat the American team at the World Cup in Qatar. Responding to Biden’s pre-match video that saw him mock-argue that the beautiful game ought to be called “soccer,” the American way, and not “football,” Rutte jokingly tweeted “Sorry Joe, football won.”

President Joe Biden speaks on midterm elections results. Live broadcast on CNN TV channel from Clermont-Ferrand, France, November 9, 2022​.
eyes on the U.S.
Alex Hurst

Eyes On U.S. — No 'Vague Rouge,' No Final Results: How The World Makes Sense Of Midterms

While some breathed sighs of relief that the Republicans' predicted "red wave" sweep didn't happen, others chuckle at how long it takes to count the votes. And then there's Senõr Musk...

PARIS — Three full days later, and there's still no real clarity on the U.S. midterms — but the world has gotten used to American elections dragging out for days or even weeks, for both political and technical reasons.

One French journalist wondered if there’s a simpler way.



But whatever the final tally, whoever winds up with majority control of the House of Representatives and Senate, readers learned that — after weeks of forecasts of huge Republican gains — the Democrats have avoided the vague rouge (Montreal)... onda rossa (Rome) ... chervona khvylya (Kyiv).

Elisabetta Grande of Italian magazine MicroMega noted that, while the midterms are not quite a win for the Democrats and President Joe Biden, voters rejected candidates in the "election denier" camp of the Republican party allied with former President Donald Trump.

France’s left-leaning Libération on Thursday was already looking ahead to the Republican battle royale shaping up between Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for the 2024 Republican nomination.

Portugal’s Publicozeros in on the Democrats man of the moment, John Fetterman, the newly elected Senator from Pennsylvania, who they describe as not having “supporters,” but rather “fans.” Publico sees particular relevance in the fact that Fetterman took down Trump’s handpicked candidate, Mehmet Oz.

Brazil’s O Globo gives Fetterman front page treatment, at least in part because he is married to a Brazilian, Gisele Barreto.


With DeSantis' midterms victory, "Trump already has a rival" for the 2024 presidential election, foresees Monterrey-based Mexican newspaper Milenio.

Global right-wing connections

European eyes remain concerned. From Germany, security and foreign policy watcher Marcel Dirsus quips, “it’d be a lot less unnerving to watch Americans vote from Europe if we weren’t so damn dependent on their choices.” No place is that more true today than the war in Ukraine, where Washington is by far the biggest contributor of military aid.

Kyiv-based news website Livy Beregnoted the results of exit polls that showed Americans are focused, above all, on the impact of a growing economic crisis and how it could affect U.S. support for Ukraine in the war against Russia. Notably, 81% of Democrats supported providing additional aid to Ukraine, compared to just 35% of Republicans.

For Jerusalem-based Haaretz, Moshe Gilad sees a dangerous connection between the U.S. far-right, the Israeli far-right, and “Birthright,” an organization that offers young American Jews a "discovery" trip to Israel.

Meanwhile observers from the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe), which typically monitors elections in countries with weak or no democratic institutions, deplored a state of “generalized disinformation” across the U.S. ahead of the elections.

Which brings us to our next topic, disinformation, and just what the heck is going to happen with Twitter.

📰 UP, FRONT PAGE AND CENTER

Korean daily Dong-a Ilbo

🐦 Monsieur Musk, alors?

Occupying almost just as much global attention this week as the U.S. midterms is Twitter under its new master, Elon Musk.

As An-Nahar sums up from Lebanon, Twitter is seeing a flood of users leaving for other pastures because it “became the place of a notable increase of speeches of hate and racist insults right after Elon Musk’s bought back the company.”

That’s unlikely to change anytime soon — as Germany’s Die Zeit reports, Musk sacked the Twitter team that discovered that Twitter’s algorithm tended to amplify far-right content. “Now that this team has been fired, it is even less likely that change will be possible — or even that these phenomenons could be better understood within the company,” Die Zeit writes.

As a result, many are threatening to leave Twitter (1 million accounts have already been deactivated), and the platform that’s in the running to replace it is not-U.S. based: Mastodon was created in 2016 by German software engineer Eugen Rochko, who is the company’s only employee.

The quirk of Mastodon is that everything is hosted on a series of independently run, decentralized servers; there is no central company, or central organization behind it.

Our continent, our rules.

This week, both Deutsche Welle and Le Monderan explainer pieces, giving readers the rundown on how Mastodon works, and how to create an account. But whether or not the platform shapes up as a true alternative remains to be seen — as Publico’s Karla Pequenino writes, Musk’s ultimate goal is to transform Twitter into a “superapp,” the likes of which exist in southeast Asia — like China’s WeChat or Singapore based Grab.

However, though he is now the sole owner of Twitter, Musk won't necessarily be able to do as he likes with the platform. Twitter’s global reach is a strength, and a constraint, as global regulators intend to make clear.

Stéphane Séjourné, the head of the Renew Europe group — the third largest in the European Parliament — is demanding that Musk come and testify before the EU’s legislative body. “Whatever Mr. Musk chooses to do, our refrain remains the same: our continent, our rules," he tweeted. "We must assure that Twitter continues to act against disinformation and hate speech."


A crashing bird is singing on the front page of French daily Libération.

​🇪🇬 IN BRIEF

COP 27 is happening in Egypt, and the U.S., Canada, and Australia are being called out for contributing far less towards climate finance than they should, considering their share of historic emissions.

But in the case of the US, it’s not just far less, it’s far, faaaaaaaar less. The U.S. is #1 … at doing the least, says Carbon Brief. And developing countries — who will bear the biggest burden despite their lack of responsibility for the problem, are upset.

Photo of a hand holding a phone recording footage of ​Vice President Kamala Harris during a midterm rally in NYC on Nov. 3
eyes on the U.S.
Alex Hurst

Eyes On U.S. — How The World Is Tracking A High-Stakes Midterm Election

The international media is tuning in closely to Tuesday’s U.S. midterms, with global ramifications for everything from the war in Ukraine to action on climate change to the brewing superpower showdown with China.

PARIS — It’s becoming a bi-annual November ritual: International reporters touch down in some small American town or so-called “battleground state” that we’re told could decide the fate of the next two or four (or more) years in the United States — and the world.

Reporting for French daily Le Monde, Piotr Smolar was in Mount Sterling, Kentucky, where “culture wars” were infecting the schools ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections. Meanwhile, Smolar's French broadcast colleagues at France Info were in the ever crucial state of Florida, talking to locals at the grocery store about the economy.

“The prices are crazy. I’m a veteran, I spent 16 years in the army and this is what I get when I come home,” said a man named Jake in the city of Melbourne, Florida. “We’re counting every penny. It’s Biden’s recovery plan that put us in this situation.”

Yes, it will likely be local issues that determine the results of the midterm elections, where Republicans have a strong chance of taking back control of Congress and deal a potentially fatal blow to some of President Joe Biden’s signature policy objectives.

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