The World on a Page

Article excerpt

Byline: Tunku Varadarajan

Tortillas, toffees, ancient lard--and a coup in an island paradise.

The Man from Merkel

Nicolas Sarkozy became the first French leader since Marshal Petain to be propped up, unembarrassed, by his German counterpart. Sarko, trailing badly in pre-election polls, had Angela Merkel campaign for him, exhorting French voters to stand by her man. One can only imagine the froideur at the first Franco-German summit after the election if Francois Hollande, Sarkozy's opponent, wins.

Gooooaaaal --

Fabio Capello resigned as manager of England's soccer team in protest over the English Football Association's decision to strip John Terry of the England captaincy for a "racially aggravated public order offence." Terry is alleged to have called another footballer a "f--king black c--t." The gravamen of the charge isn't the sexual ruderies, but the word in between, "black." (There are several b---k players on the team.)

Putin Pay

The group Anonymous has hacked into the emails of Nashi, the pro-Putin youth organization, revealing amounts paid to numerous pro-Putin journalists for pro-Putin pieces. By far the highest rate was charged by the photographer/blogger Ilya Varlamov, until now thought to be a friend of the opposition. He has one of the largest blog followings in Russia and allegedly received 400,000 rubles ($13,300) from Nashi for just two short posts. Nice work if you can get it.

Tortilla Flat

Josefina Vazquez Mota, the first woman to run for the Mexican presidency, is a long way behind in the polls. But she's getting a boost from an unlikely quarter: the frontrunner himself. In a newspaper interview, Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party was unable to recall how much tortillas (which Mexicans eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner) cost. Pena Nieto compounded his elitist sin by saying, by way of excuse, "I'm not the lady of the house." Will the presidency turn on the tortilla? …