Saturday News

Violence Precedes Mexico’s Election
In the final hours before Mexican voters cast their votes, demonstrators have burned ballots and attempted to disrupt voting in an election that is likely to be a referendum on President Enrique Peña Nieto, whose early popularity has been undercut by a resurgence in gang violence and corruption scandals.

“The main topics in Mexican elections tend to be the economy and security,” says Francisco Abundis, director of the polling firm Parametría in Mexico City tells Foreign Policy. “But we’ve never before seen the issue of political corruption feature so prominently.”

But the problem truly plaguing Mexico is not corruption or crime says Luis Rubio, a political analyst at the Center of Research for Development in Mexico City.

“It is a lack of governance, effective police, and an independent judiciary … everything else is a symptom and a consequence,” he argues.

While dissatisfaction with Nieto’s government is widespread, the opposition parties are rather weak and it remains unclear how many Mexicans will voice their disapproval at the voting booth on Sunday.

“The left is deeply fragmented and reeling from the role of some of its politicians in the presumed massacre of the 43 students. The National Action Party on the right is still suffering from disapproval of former President Felipe Calderon’s handling of the drug war, which has cost tens of thousands of lives,” reports The Los Angeles Times.

Cell Phones As A Tool To Fight Poverty
Brookings Institution scholars Neeti Pokhriyal, Wen Dong and Venu Govingdaraju write about a unique project in Senegal that uses cell phones to create detailed poverty index maps, one of the first steps toward a solution.

“Since poverty is a complex phenomenon, poverty maps showcasing multiple perspectives, such as ours, provide policymakers with better insights for effective responses for poverty eradication. As noted above, these maps can be used for decomposing information on deprivation of health, education, and living standards—the main indicators of human development index.

“Even more particularly, we believe that this Big Data and our models can generate disaggregated poverty maps for Senegal based on gender, the urban/rural gap, or ethnic/social divisions. Such poverty maps will assist in policy planning for inclusive and sustained growth of all sections of society,” they detail.

Guilt Fading As Reason For Germans To Support Israeli Policies
It has been almost 50 years since Germany and Israel established diplomatic ties, but the historic guilt is no longer adequate to compel Germany to support policies that some believe victimize another group, the Palestinians, says former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami.

“Germans – especially the younger generations, who feel further removed from the events of WWII – are increasingly abandoning the notion that they owe it to Israel to remain its silent, steadfast supporters. Indeed, as Israel’s right-wing government moves to bury the two-state solution for good, Germans are joining other Europeans in vocally opposing Israeli policy in Palestine,” he writes in Project Syndicate.
Turkey Heads To The Polls As Violence Flares
Turkey today prepared for its tightest elections in over a decade, with tensions riding high after a bomb attack killed two and wounded dozens at a rally of the main pro-Kurdish party.
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