The eyes of the world are on America. Here’s what the global media is saying about the U.S. today.
- The former Canadian opposition leader, Michael Ignatieff, warns that fascism is on the rise in American politics. Ignatieff, a liberal public intellectual who never became prime minister in Canada, says Republicans have lost all respect for their Democratic rivals, and are no longer willing to work with them to pass meaningful legislation. “Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of the same sovereign, servants of the same laws,” Ignatieff said in comments carried by Canada’s Globe and Mail. He encouraged Americans to improve their political system by limiting the influence of money on elections; opening up primaries to candidates from outside the mainstream of power; and encouraging members of Congress to vote their conscience rather than the party line.
- As the East Coast starts to clean up after Sandy, other countries prone to mega-storms look to emulate the New York mayor’s “sense of urgency and swiftness of action.” As the Inquirer in Manila reports, popular senator and environmentalist Loren Lagarda called on the Philippines’ government to draw lessons from how Americans prepared for the hurricane. Manila, the country’s capital, has been subject to severe flooding in the past few years. Just this past August 80 percent of the 15 million strong city was under water – in some places over 6 feet deep.
- Further south, in Australia, under the headline “Is Australia prepared for a storm like Sandy?”, Priyan Mendis, professor of infrastructure engineering, argues that the key is good prediction tools.
“Last week the global landscape of mitigating and managing disasters changed forever. We heard the news of six Italian scientists charged for manslaughter and jailed for six years each for failing to predict the intensity of the 2009 quake that killed over 300 people. They were charged although they had mentioned the difficulty of predicting these extreme events. Some scientists, expressing outrage, said, ‘We won’t advise the state again’…Sandy struck against the backdrop of these events…Although the measuring equipment and computer prediction models are much better now, it is not easy to predict the exact path of these devastating cyclones or hurricanes. However a similar or even a less intensive storm could cripple Melbourne, Sydney and other major cities in Australia.”
- Russia isn’t big on Halloween, but a growing number of Russians are beginning to celebrate the holiday. This year about nine percent of Russians will don costumes and gobble up some candy — that’s about three percentage points higher than last year, according to The Moscow Times. “The Russians most opposed to celebrating the holiday,” says the Times, “are aged 18-24 (72 percent), 40-54 years (74 percent), people with higher education (75 percent), Muscovites (79 percent) and those who can afford to buy a car (79 percent).” About two-thirds of Russians know about Halloween but say they will not participate, while 27 percent have never heard of it.