The international community is casting early votes in the US presidential race, with one Canadian island offering itself as a refuge to Americans, should Donald Trump win the presidency.
"Hi Americans! Donald Trump may become the President of your country!," the website for Cape Breton begins. "If that happens, and you decide to get the hell out of there, might I suggest moving to Cape Breton Island!"
The tourism office for the Nova Scotia island, Destination Cape Breton, is recruiting more residents to the island after the closing of local steel mills and coal mines, Aaron Smith reported for CNN. The promotion admits that Canada's winters might dissuade some, but insists it is barely worse than the American Northeast and points to the promise of available abortions for women, gun control, and free health care.
"How much would it cost for a three bedroom lakeside home in your state?" the website finishes. "About a jillion dollars? You would need to BE Donald Trump to afford a place like that. But in Cape Breton, we have the most affordable housing market in North America!"
For the Nova Scotia tourism office, jokes about a Trump presidency may be nothing more than a handy marketing peg. But in other parts of the world, Trump's campaign is stirring various reactions.
Lawmakers in the United Kingdom debated banning the candidate from their country, although they reconsidered after what the The Times called "an extraordinary display of unanimity on Monday night."
Liberian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and activist Leymah Gbowee has spoken publicly about the message that she feels continuing support for Trump by US voters sends to the rest of the world. The response to his negative comments about immigrants and Muslims, says Gbowee, demonstrates the degree to which voters may be motivated both politically and socially by fear.
"Fear has taken over our world," Ms. Gbowee said in a speech in Boston Feb. 11. "The question that we must ask ourselves, 'Is this the world we want to live in and give the next generation?'"
On Thursday Pope Francis, on a plane leaving Mexico after his visit, made headlines when he said, referring to Trump, that he worried about the faith of a man who causes divisions, Jim Yardley of The New York Times reported.
"A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian," the pope said when a reporter asked him about Trump. "I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way, and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.”
In Jordan, a country that is 95 percent Sunni Muslim and actively supports the US operations in Syria, 51 members of parliament signed a letter officially rejecting Trump's statements on Muslims for their potential to "ignite radicalism and terror and harm Jordanian-US relations and Washington's ties with Islamic countries," Raed Omari reported for the Amman-based Jordan Times. The letter, written in December 2015, called on the government to ban Trump from Jordan.
Trump responded to a false rumor that he had been planning to visit Jordan with a compliment to the country's government on Twitter: "Despite my great respect for King Abdullah II, I will not be visiting Jordan at this time."
One of the Middle East's largest retail distributors removed "Trump Home" products from the shelves of its 190 stores in protest of anti-Muslim statements, according to Reuters. The ire was not limited to Islamic countries. In Israel, politicians from the right and left have expressed concerns about his comments on Muslims and there has been talk about support for a Trump ban, though the government itself issued a neutral statement.
Of course, not everyone is taking Trump's campaign rhetoric quite so seriously. Noting Trump's extensive business interest in the Middle East, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker told the Jordan Times he still supported Trump, who he says he believes is not serious about such a ban. Instead, he says, he believes that Trump knows the importance of unity and friendship with Muslims.
"I don't think he means it," Mr. Al Baker told Reuters. "He has many Muslim friends. He has investments in Muslim countries. And at the same time he has only put this out of context just to gain some more votes."
And Russian President Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump have sung each other's praises. In December, Mr. Putin told reporters he welcomed Trump's desire for better relations with Russia, Reuters reported.
“He is a very flamboyant man, very talented, no doubt about that. But it’s not our business to judge his merits, it’s up to the voters of the United States," Putin told reporters.
"He is an absolute leader of the presidential race, as we see it today. He says that he wants to move to another level relations, a deeper level of relations with Russia," Putin said. "How can we not welcome that? Of course, we welcome it.”