More proof that Donald Trump still has the Sadim touch (that’s Midas spelled backwards): the company that arranges speeches and events for the former president is apparently on financial thin ice. “The American Freedom Tour, which struck a multimillion-dollar deal with Trump after he left office, has lost two top executives and canceled events in a number of locations as it has failed to pay its bills,” reported The Washington Post, noting that the organization is “struggling to pay vendors, investors and employees,” and that its owner, Brian J. Forte, “who has a history of bankruptcy filings, recently sought bankruptcy protection again.” It really was only a matter of time before Trump and Forte met and decided to go into business together.

And what is the American Freedom Tour, concept-wise? “A celebration of faith, family, unalienable rights and God-given American freedoms,” says its Web site. “Never before have America’s greatest conservative insiders and influencers come together for an event to unify an entire nation of silenced voices.” Among those great conservatives are “President Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump Jr, Mike Pompeo, Dinesh D’Souza and many, many more LIVE & IN PERSON.”

The tour is now putting all its chips on a black-tie gala at Mar-a-Lago in December. Tickets start at $10,000 per couple, reported the newspaper, though “dinner and a photo with Trump costs $40,000, and a private library meeting with Trump is so pricey that it’s only listed as: ‘INQUIRE BELOW.’ The company declined to say how much Trump is being paid for the event.” But the fact is he—maybe he alone—is. In case you were concerned.

Sandrine Rousseau

Sandrine Rousseau has Elon Musk in her sights. France’s Green Party M.P. has called him “the archetype of the conquering male entrepreneur who should be considered one of the greatest environmental killers of all time,” according to The Times of London.

Should he worry? Well, the other week Rousseau “forced Julien Bayou, her party leader, to stand down after accusing him of ‘morally’ mistreating a woman who had told the party she was depressed after a break-up with Bayou,” reported the newspaper. And earlier this year, Rousseau called for an end to barbecues. (“We have to change mentalities so that eating an entrecôte steak cooked on a barbecue is no longer a symbol of virility.”) But Gallic grilling, as far as we know, continues unapologetically, so perhaps Musk can take some solace in that.

There’ll be some changes around here, people …

And what about the new king—what can one expect? While the Sussex-centric material from Valentine Low’s forthcoming Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown has understandably drawn much advance attention, the book’s reporting on Charles is equally revealing. “Working for him is not a nine-to-five job,” wrote Low in an extract published in The Times of London. “The phone calls could come at any time, from after breakfast until 11 at night, even at Christmas.… Charles’s office is suffused with a ferocious work ethic: he is a man with a mission.”

Low cites “two key difficulties” facing anyone in Charles’s employ: “One was the internal backstabbing [among the courtiers]. The other was how to deal with the helpful suggestions made by all the outside advisers that Charles also spoke to. Over the years, there have been scores of them, whispering in his ear their thoughts on architecture, alternative medicine, business, organic farming, housing, Jungian psychoanalysis, Islamic art, rainforests, crop circles and the media.”

Possibly a third difficulty as well, though apparently a manageable one: “Dickie Arbiter, his press secretary, was once walking out of the palace with the private secretary a short distance behind Charles when the prince, infuriated by something the private secretary had said, turned round and directed an ill-tempered outburst at the hapless courtier,” writes Low. “Arbiter recalled: ‘I said sotto voce, “If anybody talked to me like that, I’d tell them to bugger off.”’ It was just loud enough for Charles to hear. ‘There was a slight flicker of a smile, but he got my message. The only thing he could do was fire me. And he didn’t.’”

Meanwhile, this village in southwest India is tacking in another direction. At seven o’clock each evening, a siren “signals 3,000 villagers [to] turn off their phones and televisions,” reported The Times of London. Another siren, at 8:30, gives the all clear to log on again. “Children weren’t doing their homework,” Jitender Dudi, a local official, told the newspaper. “Teachers complained that during the pandemic and school closures, children had not only fallen behind but had got used to spending much more time on their phones.” At the sound of the first siren, said Dudi, the quiet was a delight: “All that ambient noise from Bollywood videos stops and it’s as though everyone just breathes and focuses.”


Spain will soon be offering a “digital nomad” visa— the 16th European country to do so—“to people who work remotely for enterprises outside Spain and who derive a maximum of 20% of their income from Spanish firms,” according to The Guardian. “It is expected that the visa — essentially a residency permit — will be initially valid for one year, renewable for up to five years depending on the applicant’s circumstances. Close relatives, such as a spouse or children, will be eligible to join the applicant.” Specific requirements are still being worked out (though if you have an E.U. passport, and can already move freely around the Continent, you’re not eligible to apply). But some of the appeal is self-evident: sun, empanadas, tax breaks.

They have their points, the Elbphilharmonie concert hall (stunning) and the Hamburger Kunsthalle art museum (impressive). But this city’s biggest tourist attraction—Germany’s biggest tourist attraction—is Miniatur Wunderland, a “computer-controlled 1:87 scale world [with] 40 planes taking off and landing every minute, a 30,000-litre North Sea with cruise liners and simulated tides, fire engines rushing to put out blazes and police cars pulling over traffic offenders,” as The Times of London recently described it. Miniatur Wunderland also includes 10 miles of railway tracks “and a population of 265,000 tiny people…. Its population is involved in all facets of life, with funeral ceremonies, music festivals and a naked man being chased across a balcony by a woman with a rolling pin.” In short, if the phrase “world’s largest miniature airport” thrills rather than puzzles, Miniatur Wunderland is for you. But it is genuinely mind-boggling: see for yourselves.

In keeping with the project’s kitchen-sink approach—broad enough to include America and Monaco, Millennium Falcons and gondolas, Mary Poppins and the Blues Brothers—a German TV show, Die Modellbauer (The Modelers), now pits contestants against one another for the opportunity to have their minuscule creations incorporated into the ever expanding Hamburg mini-metropolis. So far, one winner has come up with a haunted hotel “that included a spider running up and down its tower, a sleepwalking girl in a bloodied white nightgown and a caged monster that rises from the ground at the push of a button,” reported the newspaper, while another entry won by supplying a luxury yacht for Miniatur Wunderland’s port. “The eagle-eyed can even spot what is on offer in the buffet inside the yacht.” Tiny little Kartoffelpuffer, we hope. —George Kalogerakis

George Kalogerakis, one of the original editor-writers at Spy, later worked for Vanity Fair, New York, and The New York Times, where he was deputy op-ed editor. A co-author of Spy: The Funny Years and co-editor of Disunion: A History of the Civil War, he is a Writer at Large for AIR MAIL