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Kenya's new President William Ruto stands during his swearing-in ceremony.

Baz Ratner via Reuters

What We’re Watching: Kenya’s new leader inaugurated, conflict flares between Armenia and Azerbaijan

Kenya's new leader already stirring controversy

More than a month after winning a nail-biter presidential election and a week after the Supreme Court upheld the result – which had been challenged by his rival – William Ruto was sworn in Tuesday as Kenya's fifth president. Unfortunately, the inauguration ceremony in a Nairobi stadium was overshadowed by two things. First, a stampede outside the gates left at least 60 people injured, some reportedly beaten by cops. Second, Ruto's comms team barred Kenyan media outlets from carrying the event on live TV. Instead, it gave exclusive broadcast rights to a South African pay-TV company — not a good omen for press freedom under Kenya's new leader. During the campaign, Ruto promised to be the champion of the poor — especially what he calls Kenya's "hustlers," young people working multiple gigs in the informal economy. But he faces a stagnant economy and high inflation, with three-quarters of Kenyans struggling to make ends meet. Meanwhile, Uhuru Kenyatta, Ruto's predecessor and former boss, has agreed to be the president’s envoy for peace talks in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia.

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A man scuffles with the security officials before the result of Kenya's presidential election is announced in Nairobi.

REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

What We’re Watching: Kenyan election jitters, Ukraine hits Wagner, Israel strikes near Russian bases

Kenya's new president is … ?

Deputy President William Ruto won Kenya's presidential election with 50.5% of the vote, the electoral commission declared Monday. Still, the process was very messy: authorities initially delayed the announcement amid clashes at the national counting center and accusations of vote rigging from Ruto's rival Raila Odinga. What’s more, four out of the commission's seven members refused to endorse the result over vague fraud claims. So, what happens now? Odinga, who represents the country’s dynastic politics, might contest the result in court, as he did five years ago, when the Supreme Court found so many logistical errors in the presidential election that it forced a rerun. Also, in 2007 more than 1,200 Kenyans were killed following a similarly disputed vote. (Both Ruto and outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta were then taken before the International Criminal Court for inciting violence, but charges against both were later dropped.) All eyes are now on the 77-year-old Odinga, in his fifth and presumably last run for the presidency. Will he risk more unrest and perhaps violence to win at all costs? Such uncertainty doesn't bode well for East Africa's most vibrant democracy. This election “started off as the most transparent and ends up in farce," tweeted political cartoonist Patrick Gathara.

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Cricket fans, with their faces painted in the Indian and Pakistani national flag colors, ahead of a match between the two countries.

REUTERS/Amit Dave

What We’re Watching: Partition 75th anniversary, Kenyan vote count, US-China in Southeast Asia

India & Pakistan turn 75

This year’s Aug. 15 Diamond Jubilee of Partition, when the British Raj split into India and Pakistan, is a complicated affair. India has gained more from independence in 1947 than Pakistan: earlier this summer, the Indian economy crossed the $3.3 trillion mark and officially overtook the UK to become the world’s fifth-largest — a nice touch to celebrate 75 years of independence from its colonial master. But India’s democratic credentials remain under threat by the rise of Hindu nationalism. However, Pakistan’s experiments after Partition — proxy wars, civil war, martial law, and Islamism — brought much suffering to its people. Today, the country is at the verge of another financial crisis and negotiating its 23rd IMF bailout, as well as in talks with its own version of the Taliban. Unfortunately, a growing nuclear arsenal is the only equalizer for the political and economic imbalance between the two countries. But there is still hope yet. After years of making zero progress, India and Pakistan are now involved in a backchannel dialogue, which may bring some normalcy between the old enemies. That, and the cricket, of course: Pakistan has won more games overall against its arch-rival, but never beaten India in a World Cup match.

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Paige Fusco

Kenya’s presidential “choice” is 2 flavors of continuity

Kenyans go to the polls Tuesday to elect a successor to term-limited President Uhuru Kenyatta, who’s stepping down after 10 years in East Africa’s economic hub. But their choice is limited to one between Kenyatta’s longtime enemy-turned-ally, or the president’s own VP, who’s running against Kenyatta’s record (and therefore his own).

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Plastic letters arranged to read "Inflation" are placed on British Pound banknote

Reuters

Hard Numbers: BoE warns of recession, Joseph Stalin arrested, cops charged in Breonna Taylor death, Kenyan women lawmakers targeted

27: The Bank of England raised interest rates by 50 basis points on Thursday, its biggest hike in 27 years, and the bank warned that inflation will likely peak at a staggering 13.3% this fall with a drawn-out recession being all but inevitable.

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman fist bumps US President Joe Biden in Jeddah.

Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS

What We're Watching: Biden-MBS fist bump, Xi in Xinjiang, Kenya-Somalia thaw

Biden’s Saudi trip fallout

Engagement with would-be pariahs may cost you politically, but it's necessary for the national interest. Over the weekend, US President Joe Biden got panned — mostly by fellow Democrats — for fist-bumping with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aka MBS, during Biden's controversial Middle East trip. (The CIA believes MBS ordered the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Kashoggi.) Still, the White House said the president returned from the region with some important agreements, such as progress on ending the war in Yemen or making a joint pledge with Israel to stop Iran from getting nukes. But did he really achieve much else? Riyadh announced that it'll increase oil production, but not enough to tame rising gas prices and inflation in America before the November midterms. The Saudis are also nowhere near joining the Abraham Accords, and peace between Israel and the Palestinians remains as elusive as it was under Biden's predecessors. So, why go at all then? The short answer is: as long as the US wants to continue being a player in the Middle East, you simply can't afford to ignore the Saudis, or MBS himself.

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Why Do The World's Poorest Pay More For The Same Food? | Pula's Thomas Njeru | GZERO Media

Why do the world's poorest pay more for the same food?

Smallholder farmers in developing countries currently produce about 30% of the world's food. But they are way less productive than large-scale farmers in the developed world.

Thomas Njeru, who knows a thing or two about smallholder farming because he grew up on a small farm in his native Kenya before co-founding a micro-insurance firm for smallholders, says boosting the productivity of smallholders could up global food output by 30% — more than enough to cover the 10% deficit we now face.

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Protests in New York against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Richard B. Levine/ Reuters

Hard Numbers: Americans back Ukraine, New Zealand’s grand reopening, Muslims attacked in Ethiopia, Kenya’s minimum wage rise

73: A solid majority of Americans – 73% – back tough sanctions on Russia and ongoing aid to Ukraine, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Support for punitive measures on Moscow remains high despite the fact that 66% of respondents are also concerned that sanctions are contributing to cost of living pressures at home.

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