Three must-read foreign takes on the U.S.

American casino mogul's deep pockets reach all the way to Israel

John Dyer By John Dyer

Everyday at Latitude News, we share stories that hold a mirror up to the United States and American culture. Here’s a sampling that does just that:

  • Adelson on July 29, 2012 after attending a speech by U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Jerusalem. In the address, Romney said Palestinian culture was to blame for poor economic conditions among Palestinians. (Reuters)

    Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson bankrolled Newt Gingrich’s failed run for the White House. He’s now a key player in Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign. Meanwhile, in Israel, the Jewish-American billionaire is undermining journalism, according to South Africa’s Daily Maverick. The magazine reports that Adelson’s free daily newspaper, Israel Hayom, has pushed the iconic Ma’ariv newspaper into bankruptcy in a circulation war and is now threatening to do the same to the prestigious Ha’aretz. Subsidized by Adelson, bellicose on Iran and fiercely loyal to conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel Hayom is now the most widely read paper in Israel but its standards push the limits of objectivity, writes the Maverick. Sour grapes? You be the judge.

  • In India, McDonalds announced plans to open its first-ever vegetarian burger restaurant next year near the Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra, a town in the province of Jammu and Kashmir. The restaurant expects to capitalize on the influx of hungry pilgrims who regularly descend on the shrine, reports The Economic Times of India. Who says the Golden Arches represent the homogenization of worldwide culture?
  • Has the U.S. given up on Africa as a trading partner? This is Africa reports that China has surpassed the U.S. as the continent’s largest source of investment, while American government agencies have shuttered offices and Congress has dragged its feet on expanding free trade with African companies. But the magazine also notes that President Barack Obama — the son of an Kenyan father — is launching a new campaign to tap into Africa’s future growth that could lead to new trade agreement treaties as well as a publicity campaign to highlight American opportunities in Africa. Who knows if it will work. But we know Chinese merchants are making inroads from Casablanca to Zanzibar.