Why does a Google search call Germany’s former First Lady a prostitute?

Ear to the World, Sept. 11th: What are people around the globe reading about America?

By Nicholas Nehamas

A Google search for “Bettina Wulff.”

Every day, the global media talks and writes about the United States. Every day, Latitude News brings you the best global stories with an American edge.

  • If you enter the name “Bettina Wulff” into Google, the first two suggested search terms that pop up are “escort” and “prostitute.” Wulff, who’s married to Germany’s ex-president, Christian Wulff, is understandably furious. In fact, she’s suing the American search engine for making “false statements of fact” in a Hamburg court. It’s not clear if Google can actually be held liable, reports Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle. The rumors that Wulff was once a call girl are untrue, but they’ve swirled around her for years and picked up steam in 2011 when her husband, then Germany’s president, was implicated in a scandal over an improper loan. He resigned the following year. We can’t help but point out: Isn’t this a little reminiscent of former Senator Rick Santorum’s Google problem?

 

  • In Japan, tens of thousands of people have gathered to protest the deployment of several American “Osprey” aircrafts, which combine features of airplanes and helicopters, to a U.S. military base in Okinawa. The demonstrators say the Osprey is structurally unsafe, pointing to two accidents earlier this year in Morocco and Florida. Pentagon reports implied the crashes were the result of human error. “It cannot be considered normal to live under conditions in which an Osprey may fall from the sky at any moment,” said one Japanese politician to the crowd in comments carried by the Japan Times

  • South Carolina’s Nikki Haley, pictured here with Mitt Romney. (Reuters)

    Nikki Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants and the first female governor of South Carolina, has published her autobiography “Can’t Is Not an Option: My American Story.” The book seems to be a standard political self-history, chock full of platitudes but sorely lacking in the red meat of personal struggle that makes for a good page-turner. We haven’t actually read the book yet: that assessment comes from an unenthusiastic review in the The Hindu of India. “[This] book is a missed opportunity. A politician’s manifesto, at best, and not even a strong one. A politician who in the quest to be more American than most has distanced herself from what makes her interesting.”

  • The sports network ESPN has released its annual rankings of 122 professional North American sports teams. At the very bottom of that list? The Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League. Toronto hasn’t made the play-offs since 2004. But their American-born general manager, Brian Burke, wasn’t impressed by ESPN’s evaluation of his team. “I don’t think ESPN knows a single thing about hockey,” Burke told Canada’s Globe and Mail. “I think their hockey coverage stinks. I don’t think they know anything about Canada.”