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On Saturday Night Live this past weekend, Kate McKinnon and Larry David – the actors impersonating Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders – waltzed into the sunset to the tune of Tchaikovsky’s the Nutcracker in a gauzy, dry ice-filled dream sequence that sees the rivals cheerily reminisce over the primary’s high and lows, laugh, embrace and even pirouette.

Would that were the case. Read more

By Gideon Rachman

The rise of Donald Trump has been accompanied by predictable murmurs of “only in America”. But the Trump phenomenon is better understood as part of a global trend: the return of the “strongman” leader in international politics.

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At 6.27am on Thursday, while most of America was still asleep, Donald Trump took to Twitter with a snap conclusion about EgyptAir flight 804. “Looks like yet another terrorist attack,” he wrote. “When will we get tough, smart and vigilant. Great hate and sickness.”

The rapid-reaction tweet was another example of the style that delights supporters, exasperates party leaders and tantalises the media. It also provided a template for how a terrorist incident might play out in the autumn if one were to take place on US territory.

 Read more

An EgyptAir aircraft on a flight from Paris to Cairo has crashed into the Mediterranean, with 66 people on board.

A multinational search and rescue effort is underway in an area between the Greek island of Karpathos and the northern coast of Egypt.

Key points

  • Flight MS804 left Paris on Wednesday night, but lost contact at around 02:45 Egyptian time

  • The plane, an Airbus A320, was carrying 56 passengers and 10 crew

  • The authorities have said it is too early to say what caused the crash

  • There are reports that debris, believed to be from the aircraft, has been spotted in the sea


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After earning a reputation for some of the toughest questioning of Donald Trump during the Republican race, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly threw in the towel on Tuesday night with a very soft interview with the tycoon. The man who once said she had “blood coming out of her wherever” and retweeted comments that described her as a “bimbo” said in the interview that, “I like our relationship right now”. Read more

Filipinos elect wild card president
The Philippines has taken a radical change of political direction with the election of Rodrigo Duterte as president. Gideon Rachman discusses why outsiders and investors are so taken aback by the development with Avantika Chilkoti and Tony Tassell.

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Donald Trump faces yet another barrage over his stance on women. Priorities USA, an outside group supporting Hillary Clinton, released the first in a series of political attack ads that will air on television in the swing states of Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Nevada. The video shows numerous women speaking but with their voices dubbed over by Trump delivering some of his controversial comments on women. Some of the lines include, “Does she have a good body? No. Does she have a fat ass? Absolutely” and “If Ivanka weren’t my daughter perhaps I would be dating her.” Read more

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Donald Trump spent much of the past day on Twitter attacking a New York Times story that depicted his treatment of women as “degrading”. The paper quoted a former model who described how he urged her to change into a swimming costume when they met at a pool party that he was hosting at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. She later accused the paper of mispresenting her, saying Trump had been a gentlemanRead more

By Gideon Rachman

The rise of Donald Trump has been accompanied by predictable murmurs of “only in America”. But the Trump phenomenon is better understood as part of a global trend: the return of the “strongman” leader in international politics.

Every presidential nominee over the past four decades has released his tax returns for all to devour, but Donald Trump says his effective tax rate is “none of your business”. That snippy response to an ABC interviewer’s question dominated the presidential news.

He did say “you’ll see it when I release it’, then added something that has got less attention: “I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.” That’s hardly unusual coming from a canny billionaire, but it carries a certain irony as Trump doesn’t seem to think it’s OK for other businesses to do the same thing. Read more

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After a fractious Republican primary, Donald Trump and his erstwhile Republican critics appear to be attempting a different approach ahead of the general election: party unity.

On Thursday, Trump travelled to Washington to meet Paul Ryan, the House speaker, and a handful of other Republican officials – an experiment that went basically as well as it possibly could have. Read more

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Thirteen months into his presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders has finally gotten the recognition that a candidate with 19 primary and caucus wins, millions of supporters and over $180m in campaign contribution deserves: a disparaging moniker from Donald Trump. Read more

Saudi Arabia’s ambitious reforms
Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has shaken up expectations about the world’s biggest oil exporter. MbS, as he’s known, plans to wean the kingdom off oil and boost the private sector, slashing unemployment along the way. Ben Hall discusses the kingdom’s ambitious reform plans with Anjli Raval and Simeon Kerr.

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There are few things as American as Budweiser, even though there are many craft breweries across the US that produce beer that this Irishman finds more palatable. But the legendary brand is undergoing a temporary makeover by renaming itself as “America” for the summer months. The push to tap into the patriotic mood as the US election approaches is a novel way to jump on the Trump bandwagonRead more

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When Donald Rumsfeld was asked in 2006 how the search for Osama bin Laden was going, his response was: “If you’re chasing the chicken around the chicken yard and you don’t have him yet and the question is ‘how close are you?’ the answer is ‘it’s tough to characterise because there’s lots of zigs and zags’.”

What does this have to do with the 2016 election? Well Hillary Clinton, who tussled with Rumsfeld as a member of the Senate armed services committee, might be forgiven for feeling that chasing those chickens was easier than pinning down Donald Trump over his zigzags on economic policy from tackling the US debt to tax policy. Read more

By Gideon Rachman

The news that Donald Trump has in effect secured the Republican party’s nomination for the US presidency took me back to Europe in 2002. Back then it was a huge shock when Jean-Marie Le Pen, a far-right candidate, made it through to the last two in the French presidential election. I remember going to the EU press room in Brussels the morning after Mr Le Pen’s initial success, and witnessing the horror and shame of my French colleagues.

Donald, show us your sums.

At the end of a week when Donald Trump became the Republican nominee, he’s getting a taste of the ever-increasing scrutiny – if it wasn’t high enough already – that he’s going to face in the run-up to the November election. Read more

This is the latest edition of LatAm Viva, our weekly newsletter on the continent. To receive it every Friday by email, sign up here.

Speaking of internecine politics, it seems France is the stick in the mud in trade talksbetween the European Union and Mercosur, the South American trading block. France is leading a rebellion of 13 countries concerned about the impact the deal could have on European farmers. The move comes ironically as Mercosur looks finally ready to budge on trade with a new investor-friendly government in place in Argentina and one possibly on the way in Brazil if Mr Temer gets in. Read more

Donald Tusk, European Council President (L) Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission (far R), Martin Schulz, President of the European parliament (2nd R), with Joseph Weiler

The three EU chieftains– Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk, and Martin Schulz – swapped the corridors of power in Brussels for the halls of Rome’s Capitoline Museums on Thursday night, but the magnificent setting only seemed to deepen their gloom about the state of European integration.

The trio was in the Italian capital ahead of Friday’s ceremony to deliver the prestigious Charlemagne award to Pope Francis at the Vatican. But first they had to debate the future of Europe at a time when it appears to be in serious jeopardy amid the rise of populism, weak economic growth, and, the migration crisisRead more

The Trumpistan rollercoaster is running at full tilt. Paul Ryan, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, declared that he was “not ready” to endorse Trump. Given that Ryan is the most powerful and most popular Republican in the country, that is a blow to Trump who claims that he wants to unify the party. Trump hit back by saying that he was “not ready” to support Ryan’s agenda.

Trump also reversed policy on accepting big donations and revealed that a former Goldman Sachs partner would help him raise money. That is a stunning development as, over the past three months, most of the people I have talked to at Trump rallies have listed the tycoon mostly funding his own campaign as one of the reasons that they were supporting him. Trump needs a lot of money to compete against Hillary Clinton, but he also risks losing some of his core support unless he can convince people, once again, that he is Houdini. Read more