YES, HE KHAN

On Wednesday, Pakistan heads to the ballot box for what will be the country’s second ever peaceful democratic handover of power in its 71-year existence. The election presents the opportunity to establish a more open and pluralistic democracy in a country historically dominated by the military and a cadre of elite families.


The presumptive frontrunner, Imran Khan, is an Oxford-educated former star cricketer, whose improbable candidacy has broken the stranglehold of the country’s two dominant political parties. Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party is currently polling neck and neck with that of recently jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. To win, a party must earn the 137 directly elected seats needed to secure a majority in the National Assembly, or else jockey for the post-election support of other parties.

But if Khan represents a breath of fresh air, this election season has been marred by something all too typical in Pakistan: the long arm of the military. Over the past few weeks, there have been numerous reports of the military influencing politicians and voters to aid Khan’s candidacy. A record 370,000 soldiers (up from 70,000 in 2013) are expected to be deployed to polling stations, and the military has been granted broad authority to detain anyone they deem has committed electoral violations–inflaming fears of widespread voter intimidation.

After the controversial ouster of the previous prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, in which many suspected military involvement, it bears asking whether the powers that be are simply exchanging one favorite son for another. Pakistan’s next prime minister will face some serious challenges – from an increasingly unsustainable domestic debt, to a deterioration in relations with the US, to the ongoing Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.

But the most important test may well be whether he can set the country down a path toward a more stable and inclusive politics. That will have to start with loosening the military’s iron grip on power.

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

It's been two months since President Trump abruptly ordered the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria, paving the way for a bloody Turkish offensive in that region. (See our earlier coverage here.) What's happened since? A guide for the puzzled:

No "end date" for US troops in Syria – US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said this week that the United States has completed its military pullback in northeastern Syria. Back in October, President Trump pledged to withdraw the roughly 1,000 American troops deployed there. Since then, some American troops have left Syria altogether, while others were redeployed to defend nearby oil fields from ISIS, as well as from Syrian government troops and Russia. Now, there are roughly 600 American troops dispersed around Syria, and the remainder have been deployed in Iraq to stave off a potential ISIS resurgence. It's not clear if any troops have returned to the US. When asked about the chaotic comings and goings of US troops in Syria in recent months, the commander of US Central Command said frankly: there's no "end date" for American troops stationed there.

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These facts create a dilemma for the governments of countries where the ISIS detainees are still citizens: Should these terrorist fighters and their families be allowed to return, in many cases to face trial back home? Or should countries refuse to allow them back?

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What's the difference between Alphabet and Google?

Well, Google is the search engine, YouTube, all the stuff you probably think of as Google. Alphabet is the parent company that was created four or five years ago. And it contains a whole bunch of other entities like Jigsaw, Verily - the health care company that Google runs, Waymo - the self-driving car unit. Also, it's important to know Google makes tons of money. Alphabet, all that other stuff loses tons of money.

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The collapse of the Islamic State's self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria has given rise to a host of new challenges for governments around the world. Turkey has captured thousands of ISIS fighters as a result of its offensive in northern Syria, many of whom are foreign nationals who left their home countries to fight with the Islamic State. To date, non-Middle East countries have mostly opposed ISIS fighters returning home, leaving them, and their spouses and children, in legal limbo. Here's a look at where these foreign fighters come from.