First Past the Peace: Colombia's Presidential Election

This Sunday, Colombians go to the polls in the first presidential election since a controversial peace deal ended half a century of conflict with the leftist guerrillas of the FARC.


The candidate topping polls at the moment is the youthful Ivan Duque (pictured above), a security-oriented, business-friendly lawmaker from the right who has criticized the peace deal for being too lenient. Duque is backed by hardline former President Alvaro Uribe, who is still a political kingmaker in the country.

Duque’s nearest challenger is Gustavo Petro, a left wing former mayor of the capital, Bogota, who once belonged to a guerrilla group. Petro’s program takes square aim at inequality, with higher taxes on land and companies, and seeks to wean the Colombian economy from its dependence on oil and coal.

Both men are pitching a kind of change to the Colombian people — for Duque that means taking a harder line on security than current President Juan Manuel Santos. Petro, for his part, represents a broader repudiation of the center-right political class that has traditionally run the country.

The ideological gulf between the two men atop the polls speaks to the extraordinary polarization of Colombian society as the country deals with the challenges of peace, corruption, economic growth and, now, an influx of Venezuelan refugees that is straining infrastructure and nerves.

If no one wins more than 50 percent on Sunday, a runoff would be held in June.

The Business and Market Fair that recently took place in Sanzule, Ghana featured local crops, livestock and manufactured goods, thanks in part to the Livelihood Restoration Plan (LRP), one of Eni's initiatives to diversify the local economy. The LRP program provided training and support to start new businesses to approximately 1,400 people from 205 households, invigorating entrepreneurship in the community.

Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

Russia's Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky sat down yesterday with Germany's Angela Merkel and France's Emmanuel Macron for a meeting in the Elysée Palace in Paris for peace talks. This was the first-ever meeting between Putin, Russia's dominant political force since 2000, and Zelensky, who was a TV comedian at this time last year.

Fears that Putin would use Zelensky's inexperience to back him into a deal on Russian terms weren't realized, but the relationship between the two has only just begun.

More Show less

Macron not backing down over pensions – Despite five days of mass unrest that has paralyzed Paris' public transport system and dented both tourism and Christmas retail, the government will stand firm on a proposal to reform and unify the country's 42 different pension plans. France's pension system, one of the most generous of any major industrialized country, has major budget shortfalls that contribute to the country's ballooning deficit. Last year, Macron abandoned a proposed fuel price hike that ignited the Yellow Vest movement. But overhauling France's "welfare state" was central to his 2017 election platform, and acquiescing to protesters this time around would be political suicide. France's prime minister – tapped to lead the pension reform project – is expected to announce the plan's final details tomorrow. We're watching to see how this might escalate things further.

More Show less

4: The World Anti-Doping Agency handed Russia a four-year ban from all major sporting events, precluding its participation in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, and soccer's 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Russia has three weeks to appeal the ban, which its prime minister says is the result of "chronic anti-Russian hysteria."

More Show less

Are we seeing the creation of a parallel universe for US and Chinese tech industries?

I think the answer is yes. In the past, US has dominated the world in technologies from P.C. operating systems, semiconductors, to servers, and even Internet. But ever since the rise of mobile technologies, China has really leveraged the large market with a huge amount of data and now is beginning to innovate and build great mobile apps on which there's a large amount of data being collected.

More Show less