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US mid-term elections and their longer term repercussions

In next week’s US mid-terms, the Republicans are looking to win back control of the Senate and increase their majority in the House of Representatives, giving them control of the legislative agenda and the ability to further constrain President Barack Obama during his final two years in office. Ben Hall discusses the elections and their and longer term repercussions with Richard McGregor and Ed Luce.

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Tony Barber

Since a cabinet reshuffle in August instigated by President François Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls, France has had its most reform-minded government in 20 years. A new broom is doubtless a good thing – but is every break with past practice deserving of applause?

Take Fleur Pellerin, who was appointed culture minister in August. She revealed this week that she hadn’t read a book in two years. This is like a British health minister saying he or she can’t be bothered to visit a National Health Service hospital, or a Russian defence minister saying he has no interest in tanks and guided missiles. Read more >>

  • Hungary’s introduction of the world’s first internet tax is just the latest in a batch of unorthodox uneconomic policies, dubbed ‘Orbanomics‘, that some say are leading to increased government control over the economy
  • Through their alliances with jihadis and actions that flout the democratic will, Libya’s Islamists are courting disaster for themselves and their country
  • The disappearance of 43 students has brought attention back to Mexico’s security woes and away from its economic reforms, threatening to tarnish President Enrique Peña Nieto’s record of success
  • Quantitative easing in the US has kicked back into gear Wall Street’s securitisation machine – providing a supply of risky assets that bundle together car loans, corporate debt and mortgages
  • The forgotten Yazidi refugees who once captured the world’s attention now sit outside the spotlight, wondering how they will survive the winter, reports Foreign Policy

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Senzo Meyiwa, the captain of South Africa’s national football team, was clearly a popular and talented player whose star was on the rise.

So when South Africans woke up to the news that the 27-year-old goalkeeper had been shot and killed in what appears to be an attempted robbery at his girlfriend’s house on Sunday evening, it is little surprise that there was an explosion of grief.

Television stations provided blanket coverage. The presidency quickly offered its condolences, with President Jacob Zuma saying “the law enforcement authorities must leave no stone unturned in finding his killers.”

At a hastily arranged press conference, Riah Phiyega, the national police chief, announced there was a R250,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the killers. Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba, the national football coach, broke down in tears as he recalled a young man who was “was a team player, he was everything.”

The sad truth is that fast on the back of the Oscar Pistorius trial, a promising, young life has been lost in tragic circumstances, while South Africa once again draws international attention for all the wrong reasons. Read more >>

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Gideon Rachman

Nobody ever said that reforming Italy would be easy. But Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, is going through a series of brutal tests this month – as he fights on two fronts, in Brussels and in Rome. Read more >>

Geoff Dyer

The shooting spree inside Canada’s parliament building on Wednesday poses an important political test of the Edward Snowden revelations about government surveillance.

By killing a Canadian soldier and then getting perilously close to the country’s prime minister, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau is sparking a debate in Canada that will have reverberations well beyond the country’s borders. Read more >>

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