In his first speech to the UN General Assembly, Donald Trump threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea while emphasising the importance of "strong sovereign nations". Is the US president breaking with all the conventions of the United Nations - the body that aims to promote global cooperation?

The opinion polls and news reports leave no doubt: Angela Merkel and the sister parties CDU-CSU are set to win Sunday's general elections to the German Bundestag. The fact that after twelve years of Merkel as chancellor there's still no sign of a change surprises some journalists, who accuse her of serious mistakes. Others believe a fourth term for Merkel will make the entire European Union more stable.

The central government in Spain is upping the pressure on the Catalan separatists. The military police arrested twelve senior officials of the regional government today, Wednesday. Meanwhile a growing number of Catalan politicians are speaking up in defence of the independence referendum slated for 1 October. People in other regions of Spain are demonstrating to show their support. Is all hope of an agreement in vain?

In an online vote to be held this weekend, the Italian protest party Movimento Cinque Stelle (M5S) will select its candidate for prime minister in the parliamentary elections next spring. Observers expect Luigi Di Maio to win the race: he is widely regarded as the political heir to founder Beppe Grillo, while little is known about his rivals. Italy's media are incensed at what they see as a pre-arranged vote.

Portugal's creditworthiness has improved, according to rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P). By raising the country's rating by a notch to BBB- on Friday it released it from junk status, triggering a rush on Portuguese bonds. But the joy over this news is not unclouded.

US President Trump is not the only one to see the need for a thoroughgoing reform of the United Nations. UN Secretary-General Guterres, for example, has said that the organisation must be more efficient and adapt to new problems. Europe's commentators believe that while reforms are necessary, there is little chance of a consensus on the precise form they should take.

France's new government has announced a change of direction in transportation policy. It plans to invest less in large projects and instead improve the existing infrastructure. French media are at odds over whether the privatisation of the state-owned railway company SNCF should be on the agenda.

A cartoon exhibition has caused a row in the European Parliament: the British MEP Catherine Bearder blocked 12 of the 28 Greek caricatures submitted for an exhibition in Brussels on the grounds that they go against the EU's values. Other MEPs are protesting the decision. Greek newspapers are also incensed.

The Finnish language contains many job titles that clearly refer to men. The daily Aamulehti wants to stop using these titles on the basis that they discriminate against women. While the move has prompted a heated debate among opponents of such changes in the country, Finnish commentators are lavish in their praise.

Less than a week before the elections to the German parliament the SPD's approval ratings have dropped to between 20 and 22 percent, the lowest since Martin Schulz was elected party leader. Commentators take stock of the chancellor candidate's weaknesses and discuss why social democrats aren't winning elections anywhere in Europe.

The EU finance minsters continued working on their plan to tighten pan-European tax regulations for technology companies on the weekend. Under the new plan the tax to be paid by companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon would be based not on profits but on sales, in a bid to prevent multinationals from declaring their taxes in countries with particularly low tax rates. Europe's press is enthusiastic.

In last week's state of the union address EU Commission President Juncker spoke out in favour of extending the Schengen Area to include Romania and Bulgaria without delay. In view of criticism from various EU member states, however, commentators in the two countries have little hope that border checks will soon be a thing of the past for them.

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