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Daily Brief: Opposition Boycotts Kenyan Election Rerun


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. October 26, 2017 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA Opposition Boycotts Kenyan Election Rerun A rerun of an annulled presidential election in Kenya began Thursday morning, marked by apparent low voter turnout (FT) and sporadic clashes. Opposition figure Raila Odinga, who took 45 percent of votes in an August election and challenged the vote's integrity in court, withdrew from the election rerun earlier this month. Odinga urged his supporters to boycott the vote (NYT), saying demands made to electoral authorities were not met. The Supreme Court failed this week to hear a challenge to the Thursday vote (Al Jazeera) by activists and lawyers after only one justice appeared for the hearing. A victory for incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta (Guardian) appears guaranteed. ANALYSIS "Already there are numerous grounds to claim that the October 26 elections are not credible, no matter what the outcome," writes CFR's John Campbell. "The churches, observers, and foreign governments all pleaded for talks. But neither side was in the mood to be conciliatory," Aly Verjee writes for African Arguments. "For the West, Kenyatta is a safe pair of hands in a complex region," Nanjala Nyabola said in an interview with Foreign Policy Interrupted. PACIFIC RIM U.S. Ambassador Probed Over Remarks in Samoa U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand Scott Brown revealed Wednesday that he was investigated and cautioned by the State Department (NYT) over comments made to women at a Peace Corps event in Samoa, including calling guests "beautiful." Brown said he is "always welcoming" of advice on cultural sensitivities (AP). ASIA: The number of billionaires in Asia surpassed that of the United States (Bloomberg) for the first time, says a report by two financial consulting firms. Billionaires' wealth increased by 17 percent, or $6 trillion, in 2016, following a drop the previous year. SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA Arrest Warrant Issued for Ousted Pakistani PM An Islamabad court issued an arrest warrant on Thursday for former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after he failed to appear in court (FT). Sharif is in London with his wife, who is undergoing cancer treatment, though some analysts speculate he is preparing for exile. Kiran Nazish discusses Pakistani democracy after Sharif's ouster in Foreign Affairs. SRI LANKA: Sri Lanka is preparing legislation to offer tax breaks to investors for construction at a Colombo port that includes a $1.4 billion Chinese-supported development project (Reuters), part of Beijing's massive infrastructure push across Asia. This CFR Backgrounder looks at Chinese soft power. MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Israel Approves Major Settlement Expansion Israel has approved 176 new homes for Jewish settlers (BBC) in East Jerusalem. The additional housing would make the settlement, Nof Zion, the largest in the city. Palestinians seek East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state. JORDAN: Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki told legislators his government will push austerity measures (Reuters), including tax increases and cuts to subsidies, by the year's end. The government spends $1.2 billion annually to subsidize food, electricity, and water.  SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA U.S. Envoy Pressures South Sudan Over Aid U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told South Sudanese President Salva Kiir that the United States is "questioning" its aid to the country (VOA) and that Kiir can't "deny the stories" of military abuses. Haley's visit to a UN camp for internally displaced persons there was disrupted by anti-government protests (Sudan Tribune). CFR's Global Conflict Tracker looks at civil war in South Sudan. EUROPE Human Rights Activists Released on Bail in Turkey In a surprise move, an Istanbul court released eight prominent rights activists (NYT), including a German and a Swede, who were arrested in July on charges they aided a terrorist organization. The eleven activists still face trial. AZERBAIJAN: Europe's top human rights organization has warned Azerbaijan that it will take legal action if it does not release opposition politician Ilgar Mammadov from jail (RFE/RL) by November 29. The group says Mammadov should have been released after winning a ruling in the European Court of Human Rights. AMERICAS Brazil's Temer Avoids Corruption Trial President Michel Temer has secured enough votes in the lower house of parliament to avoid obstruction of justice and racketeering charges (BBC). Temer granted concessions sought by lawmakers (WaPo) including reduced fines for environmental damages. GUATEMALA: Hector Trujillo, a former judge and soccer official, became on Wednesday the first person to be sentenced in a U.S. probe into corruption (BBC) at the international soccer governing body FIFA. He received an eight-month sentence (DW) for conspiracy and fraud.  UNITED STATES Pence Vows Shift on Support for Persecuted Christians Vice President Mike Pence told a dinner gathering for a Christian advocacy group that the United States would retract funding for "ineffective" UN programs that aim to defend persecuted religious minorities in the Middle East (VOA) and instead pay for such programs through the U.S. Agency for International Development. This CFR Backgrounder looks at how the U.S. spends its foreign aid. Airlines including United and Emirates have warned their international passengers that they may be subject to increased security measures (WSJ), such as electronic device checks and interviews, on U.S.-bound flights due to new Department of Homeland Security requirements.          Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. Forward This Email | Subscribe to CFR Newsletters | Unsubscribe - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  


Date: October 26, 2017 at 09:54PM