Sunday News

Iran’s Reformers On Way To Sweeping Victory In Elections Preliminary results in Iran’s parliamentary elections suggest reformists might win all 30 contested seats contested, thus delivering hard-liners a mortifying rebuke, and delivering President Hassan Rouhani an enormous victory.

In the first major vote since the signing of the Iran nuclear deal, Rouhani was leading the race for the Assembly of Experts, which is important because the assembly could end up choosing a successor to Ayatollah Khamenei, who at 76 is suffering in poor health.

“It is a very big victory. It is very good news for President Rouhani. We will have a very rational parliament, a less factional parliament, a more expert and technocrat parliament,” Saeed Leylaz, a former adviser to former reformist President Mohammad Khatami, told Reuters.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the parliament is responsible for passing laws, but its real powers are largely constrained by a system fundamentally governed by the supreme leader. All laws passed must be approved by the 12-member Guardian Council, a body closely overseen by the supreme leader.

Video Games Emerging As Potential Weapon For Good
When one thinks of gaming it is images of young boys sitting for hours in front of a screen engaged in battles against zombies, terrorists and all other form of bad guys. But can they be used as a tool in promoting positive social change?

Researchers and developers already are exploring creative and innovative ideas to combat AIDS and other real-world problems.

One recent peacebuilding project used games to develop a model for bringing together Jewish and Arab youth in Israel to engage and interact in digital spaces like Minecraft and Team Fortress 2 and then later meet up in person. It is a natural growth of the gaming genre, which has been used to develop ways to fight disease.

“Take the Foldit project, where developers at the University of Washington abstracted the complex nature of folding proteins into a 3-D puzzle game – one that rewards players for finding a simple way to bend and twist proteins into a desired shape. These developers found that when Foldit players were presented with real scientific challenges, they were able to come up with concrete solutions – sometimes to solve real-world problems. In 2011, Foldit players helped solve for the structure of a crucial enzyme in the reproduction of HIV,” writes Derek Caelin of the United States Institute for Peace.

Quick Headlines

President Trump?
Sultan Al Qassemi of the Middle East Institute explores what the impact of a Donald Trump presidency could mean for the region.

Ukraine: Still Fighting, Still Suffering
Anna Nemtsova, a Daily Beast reporter, finds that agreeing to a truce has failed to halt the fighting in the Ukraine and only extends the ongoing suffering of civilians and the destruction of their land.

United Nations Peacekeeping Force Has Unfortunate Legacy
Since it began in 2014, the United Nations mission in the Central African Republic has been plagued by reports and subsequent investigation into allegations of sexual abuse and rape. The Washington Post unveils the tragic legacy – the hundreds of women who have borne children of rape, as well as those babies.

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