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America's election: who is behind the scenes?

7-11-2022 |

Fresh - freshly squeezed news from the international press. We prepare it 2 times a week.

AP: Biden and Trump prepare final voter appeals

An election year that unfolded against the backdrop of economic turmoil, the elimination of federal abortion rights and broad concerns about the future of democracy is concluding with a final full day of campaigning in which leaders of both parties will issue urgent appeals to their supporters.

President Joe Biden is holding a Monday evening rally in Maryland, where Democrats have one of their best opportunities to reclaim a Republican-held governor’s seat.

Former President Donald Trump, will hold his final rally of the campaign in Ohio. As he readies another run for the White House, Ohio holds special meaning for the former president because it was one of the first places where he was able to prove his enduring power among Republican voters.

The results will have a powerful impact on the final two years of Biden’s presidency, shaping policy on everything from government spending to military support for Ukraine.

Photo: AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

Trump has long falsely claimed he lost the 2020 election only because Democrats cheated and has even begun raising the possibility of election fraud this year.

Federal intelligence agencies are warning of the possibility of political violence from far-right extremists.

Reuters: Russia's Prigozhin admits interfering in U.S. elections

Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Monday he had interfered in U.S. elections and would continue doing so in future, the first such admission from a figure who has been formally implicated by Washington in efforts to influence American politics.

In comments posted by the press service of his Concord catering firm on Russia's Facebook equivalent VKontakte, Prigozhin said:

"We have interfered (in U.S. elections), we are interfering and we will continue to interfere. Carefully, accurately, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do."

The remark was posted on the eve of the U.S. midterm elections in response to a request for comment from a Russian news site.

"During our pinpoint operations, we will remove both kidneys and the liver at once," Prigozhin said. He did not elaborate on the cryptic comment.

Prigozhin, who is often referred to as "Putin's chef" because his catering company operates Kremlin contracts, has been formally accused of sponsoring Russia-based "troll farms" that seek to influence U.S. politics.

In July, the U.S. State Department offered a reward of up to $10 million for information on Prigozhin in connection with "engagement in U.S. election interference". He has been hit by U.S., British and European Union sanctions.

Prigozhin kept a low public profile until recently but has become more outspoken in the course of the Ukraine war, including by criticising the performance of Russia's generals.

In September he admitted to founding the Kremlin-aligned Wagner Group mercenary group, which is active in Syria, Africa and Ukraine. Last Friday it opened a defence technology centre in St Petersburg, a further step by Prigozhin to highlight his military credentials.

The Guardian: One in four Europeans is concerned about their financial situation

One in four Europeans describe their financial position as “precarious”, more than half see a serious risk it will become so over the coming months, and 80% have already been forced into hard spending choices, according to a survey.

As the cost of living crisis, driven by high energy prices, rampant inflation and Russia’s war on Ukraine, tightens its grip, the six-country survey for the French anti-poverty NGO Secours Populaire painted an alarming picture of “a continent on the brink”.

More than half (54%) of more than 6,000 people across France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland and the UK told the pollster Ipsos their purchasing power had fallen over the past three years – mostly due to higher food, fuel, heating and rent bills.

The hardest-hit country was Greece, where 68% of respondents said their spending power had fallen “a lot” or “somewhat” since 2019, followed by 63% in France, 57% in Italy, 54% in Germany, 48% in Britain and 38% in Poland.

On average, about 27% of respondents across the six countries said their financial and material situation was “precarious”, defined as “one unexpected expenditure could change everything”, while 55% said they had to pay attention.

Parents in particular were feeling the strain, the survey showed. A large majority (72%) across the six countries said they had cut back on their own leisure activities (76%), hair and beauty treatments (72%) and clothes budget (72%) in order to preserve their children’s quality of life.

Almost half of parents (48%) across the six countries also said they regularly cut back on their own food to feed their children, while 66% said they had been forced to rein in their children’s activities, including outings and holidays.

The study showed striking differences between the countries in terms of which groups were deemed most at risk of falling into poverty: retirees in Germany (61%), younger people in Italy (57%), and in the UK, single-parent families (55%).

BBC: A climate crisis is on the doorstep

The UN's climate change summit has opened in Egypt with a warning that our planet is "sending a distress signal".

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was responding to a UN report released on Sunday saying the past eight years were on track to be the warmest on record.

Scientists estimate that global temperatures have now risen by 1.15C since pre-industrial times and said the latest eight years were on track to be the warmest on record.

The report also warned of the other wide-ranging impacts of climate change, including the acceleration of sea level rise, record glacier mass losses and record breaking heatwaves.

Mr Guterres sent a video message to the conference in which he called the the State of the Global Climate Report 2022 a "chronicle of climate chaos" and said that in light of these findings, COP27 must be the place for urgent and credible climate action.

COP27 president, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, urged leaders to not let food and energy crises related to Russia's invasion of Ukraine get in the way of action on climate change.

"It is inherent on us all in Sharm el-Sheikh to demonstrate our recognition of the magnitude of the challenges we face and our steadfast resolve to overcome it."

World leaders will speak on Monday and Tuesday, and once they depart, conference delegates get down to the business of negotiation.

As well as all the formal negotiations there will be hundreds of events over the two weeks with exhibitions, workshops and cultural performances from youth, business groups, indigenous societies, academia, artists and fashion communities from all over the world.

Picked and squeezed for you: Irina Iakovleva