Our consulting arm Diplomatique Expert, recommends the following reads from major news outlets for insight on the main news of the week.
In Chemnitz, anti-fascists stand up to the Nazi salutes of Germany’s far right – Louise Osborne
A week after violent clashes that shook Germany and echoed round the world, demonstrators took to the streets of Chemnitz again on Saturday, for the latest round of a high-profile, high-stakes battle over the soul and future of their country.
Thousands of people, arms linked and chanting, marched down a street where a week ago far-right demonstrators performed Nazi salutes, shouted “foreigners out” and chased people they suspected of being refugees down the streets. There were fears of more violence this weekend, after the same far-right groups called a second demonstration. But a substantial group on the Chemnitz boulevard yesterday came not to attack diversity, but to celebrate it.
New York Times
After Trump, the Deluge?
Once again, there was text and subtext, and as often with this president, both were disturbing.
At a private meeting on Monday, President Trump urged evangelical Christian leaders to break federal law and openly support him from the pulpit. Does it matter that he seemed to believe that he had overturned the provision of the tax code that prevents churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates? Truth, fantasy and deceit slosh together with Mr. Trump.
What mattered more was the thought that Mr. Trump planted — that a deluge of violence and anarchy would be loosed upon the world if they failed to rally the nation’s Christian soldiers to his side.
If the Democrats win the midterm elections, the president warned, “they will overturn everything that we’ve done and they’ll do it quickly and violently, and violently.
The civil war inside the Catholic Church
Some call it a Catholic civil war, others a culture war. But, clerical decorum very much to one side, war it is.
Pope Francis, the Argentine prelate whose ascent to the chair of St Peter five years ago has given new life to the Roman Catholic Church, is facing a bitter backlash against his progressive papacy — amid a humbling crisis he has struggled to resolve over the sexual abuse of children by predator priests.
Conservatives have regrouped to fight Pope Francis’s relaxation of old doctrinal anathemas, which he sees as vital to the spiritual renewal of a two-millennia-old institution serving a notional 1.2bn Catholics around the world. Shortly after taking over from Pope Benedict XVI — who took the almost unheard of step of resigning in circumstances the Vatican has never explained — he said the Church had to find “a new balance” or it would collapse “like a house of cards”.
Anti-migrant feeling fuels Swedish far right as election looms
Last month, yards from the Social Democrats’ booth in Rinkeby town square, where Kersten Aggefors is handing out leaflets for the party that has finished first in every Swedish election since 1917, masked young people set five cars ablaze.
A few days earlier, eight unidentified men had attacked the town’s half-built new police station, crashing through the gate and hurling rocks and firecrackers at security guards, apparently in retaliation for a drug bust. In January, two gunmen walked into a crowded pizzeria and shot a man dead, in what police said was a gang execution.
Rinkeby, a symbol of Scandinavian social democracy when it was built in the 1970s, had a bad reputation, but this was largely undeserved, said Aggefors, who has lived in the suburb, 20 minutes by metro from the capital, for 47 years.
The Atlantic Council
The War in Syria: Idlib in the Crosshairs
Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s regime, backed by Russia, appears to be preparing for a major offensive on Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold located along Syria’s northwestern border with Turkey.
The population in Idlib has almost doubled to around three million as tens of thousands of Syrians trapped in other parts of the war-ravaged country were evacuated there under various ceasefire agreements with the Assad regime. An assault on Idlib would trigger an even greater humanitarian catastrophe as there are few safe spaces inside Syria to which civilians can be evacuated.