Monday News

Runoffs Slated For Elections In Haiti, Argentina
For the people of Haiti, the good news is that there was no evidence of violence in last weekend’s election. The bad news is with 54 presidential candidates, the wait for the final results could last weeks.

The two leading candidates are Jude Celestin, who was eliminated from the second round in the controversial 2010 vote, and Maryse Narcisse, a physician who has the backing of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. A runoff presidential vote will be held in December.

A presidential runoff is also on the agenda in Argentina, where a former vice president, Daniel Scioli, garnered 35.7 percent of the vote versus 35.3 percent for Buenos Aires mayor Mauricio Macri, reports The New York Times.

Immigration Debate Is About Democracy’s Foundational Principles
Author and historian Diana Pinto writes that the debate over refugees is weakening democratic countries’ foundational principles. While the focus may be on Europe’s reaction (including limiting the number of refugees entering their countries or simply turning them away) to the migrant crisis, Pinto says it is an global issue.

“The truth is that disagreements over whether countries should take in refugees are hardly unique to Europe. The contrast on display is symptomatic of a deep rift within the Western world. The divide cuts across the United States, the European Union, and Israel – and, equally important, across Jewish and Christian communities,” she contends.

What is happening is more than a simple policy debate, but a “clash of Western civilizations” that pits those who favor tough immigration laws against those who “welcome the needy in the name of higher values.”

In the end, what is at stake, she argues are the “foundational principles of our democratic traditions are at stake – principles that are being weakened by the clash itself.”

Rethinking Humanitarian Assistance
With hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees from North Africa seeking assistance in Europe and millions more internally and externally displaced worldwide, the international system to provide humanitarian aid is under more stress than ever.

Governments and international organizations need to rethink every level of aid, from funding to future outcomes.  Former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who heads the International Rescue Committee, told an audience at the U.S. Institute of Peace that it is “not just a question of there being more need for which we need more aid,’’ but a need for “different aid.”

Miliband suggested it was time to overhaul the humanitarian sector’s goals, including a new focus on more than simply keeping people alive, but providing longer-term assistance such as education.

Noting that the recent Global Sustainable Development Goals discussed at the United Nations did not even address people caught in conflict, Miliband advocates for obstacles to be cleared away should include the ban on World Bank involvement in “middle-income” countries such as Lebanon and Jordan, whose economies and infrastructure have been overwhelmed by the respective 629,000 and 1 million of Syrian refugees they’re hosting.



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