AMLO’s Troubles Come Ashore

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, known as AMLO, was elected Mexico's president in 2018 on the promise of a "radical but peaceful transformation" of the country, but after seven months in office, he's now being seriously tested.

The challenges: More than 40% of Mexico's people still live in poverty. About 34 million Mexicans live more than two to a room in houses built from dangerously flimsy construction materials.

There's no sign of progress in the fight against violent criminal gangs. Between January and May of this year, there were 14,133 recorded homicides in Mexico, a 6.3% increase from the first five months of 2018, and many of those murders were committed by members of drug cartels.

Relations with President Donald Trump remain tense and costly. AMLO recently deployed federal troops at Mexico's northern and southern borders to stem migrant flows in a bid to ward off Trump's tariff threats — that's an expensive move.

As if he didn't have enough troubles, even the ocean seems to have it in for him. Lopez Obrador last week angered some along the country's Caribbean coast by downplaying the economic and potential health impact of a surge of sargassum, a form of seaweed, on popular Mexican beaches.

AMLO's biggest problem is that he may not have enough money. The solutions he's proposed for these and other challenges require federal funding. But the Mexican economy contracted by 0.2% in the first quarter of this year, and oil production — important for Mexico's economic engine — fell by 10% last month to its lowest level in 40 years.

The bottom line: Lopez Obrador is still one of the most popular elected leaders on earth, but we're about to find out whether he can translate that support into credible solutions to his country's problems.

Last week, in Fulton, WI, together with election officials from the state of Wisconsin and the election technology company VotingWorks, Microsoft piloted ElectionGuard in an actual election for the first time.

As voters in Fulton cast ballots in a primary election for Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates, the official count was tallied using paper ballots as usual. However, ElectionGuard also provided an encrypted digital tally of the vote that enabled voters to confirm their votes have been counted and not altered. The pilot is one step in a deliberate and careful process to get ElectionGuard right before it's used more broadly across the country.

Read more about the process at Microsoft On The Issues.

The risk of a major technology blow-up between the US and Europe is growing. A few weeks ago, we wrote about how the European Union wanted to boost its "technological sovereignty" by tightening its oversight of Big Tech and promoting its own alternatives to big US and Chinese firms in areas like cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and her top digital officials unveiled their first concrete proposals for regulating AI, and pledged to invest billions of euros to turn Europe into a data superpower.

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Communal violence in Delhi: Over the past few days, India's capital city has seen its deadliest communal violence in decades. This week's surge in mob violence began as a standoff between protesters against a new citizenship law that critics say discriminates against India's Muslims and the law's Hindu nationalist defenders. Clashes between Hindu and Muslim mobs in majority-Muslim neighborhoods in northeast Delhi have killed at least 11 people, both Muslim and Hindu, since Sunday. We're watching to see how Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government responds – Delhi's police force reports to federal, rather than local, officials.

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Ian Bremmer's perspective on what's happening in geopolitics:

What are the takeaways from President Trump's visit to India?

No trade deal, in part because Modi is less popular and he's less willing to focus on economic liberalization. It's about nationalism right now. Hard to get that done. But the India US defense relationship continues to get more robust. In part, those are concerns about China and Russia.

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27,000: The Emir of Qatar has decreed a $27,000 fine and up to five years in prison for anyone who publishes, posts, or repost content that aims to "harm the national interest" or "stir up public opinion." No word on whether the Doha-based Al-Jazeera network, long a ferocious and incisive critic of other Arab governments, will be held to the same standard.

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