THE BATTLE FOR FRANCE

Yesterday, the French government suspended a proposed hike in carbon taxes amid a mounting wave of protests and violence across the country.


The about-face is a major defeat for President Macron, who rode to power 18 months ago on the promise to take on France's sclerotic political and economic institutions.

The extent of the defeat and what the decision means for France and the EU more broadly remains to be seen. Here are the two crucial questions to keep an eye on:

Will the pause appease protesters? The protests have been fueled by a deep resentment with the French political system that goes beyond the narrow issue of higher gasoline prices. They may not be so easily quelled. President Macron, once the leader of his own political insurrection, has become a symbol of the establishment. That's a perception that can't be fixed through a minor change in policy, and protests are set to continue this weekend.

What does it mean France and the EU? Mr. Macron's government now faces its own pocketbook problem–it can no longer count on the $3.3 billion in revenue expected from the tax. That will make it tougher for it to bring its budget in line with EU-mandated rules and could force it to delay changes to the pension and housing systems that would boost the economy and benefit the very middle-class citizens who've taken to the streets. Problems at home could also make it harder for Macron to pursue much-needed reforms to the EU that have so far made little progress.

The bottom line: In the coming days, Macron will portray the protesters as an unruly mob intent on sowing disorder; the protesters will paint him as the enemy of the people. This is only the beginning of pitched battle for France's future.

Every day thousands of people legally cross back and forth between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, on their way to jobs, schools, doctor's appointments, shopping centers and the homes of family and friends. This harmonious exchange has taken place for more than 400 years, uniting neighbors through shared social ties, geography, history and, most importantly, an interlinked economy.

Beyond the people and goods, El Paso and Ciudad Juárez also converge in a cross-border flow of ideas, ambition and aspirations that have shaped the region for centuries. This forward-looking spirit is what attracted Microsoft to the region in 2017, when it launched Microsoft TechSpark to create new economic opportunities and help digitally transform established industries with modern software and cloud services. It's also why Microsoft announced on Monday that it is expanding the TechSpark El Paso program to include Ciudad Juárez and making a $1.5 million investment in the binational Bridge Accelerator. Read more about the TechSpark announcement here.

Foreign policy played a bigger role in last night's Democratic presidential debate than in previous ones, in part because of events that came on the heels of President Trump's surprise, and disastrous, withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria. Some candidates used the opportunity to play up their foreign policy bona fides, but not all of their punches landed cleanly. Here are some key takeaways.

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Will there be agreement, and will negotiations carry on if there is no agreement in the EU?

Lord William Hague: Well, they won't carry on if there is no agreement at the European Council in the next few days. But in the EU, while you always think of things going to the last minute, in fact they usually go beyond the last minute. And that could happen in this case where there could be political agreement, agreement in principle to a Brexit deal. But they'd have to have another European Council, and more detail hammering out the actual text of it before another summit on the 28th of October, which would mean some extension to Brexit.

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Since Syria's brutal civil war began eight years ago, millions of Syrians have fled their country to escape the bombs and bullets. But hundreds of thousands have been displaced within Syria's borders, where they languish in packed refugee camps. The al-Hol camp in northern Syria is sprawling, and of its nearly 70,000 residents, some 11,000 are family members of foreign ISIS fighters, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The surprise American withdrawal from northern Syria last week paved the way for Turkey and Syria's Bashar al-Assad to move in. Some 160,000 civilians have now fled the border region that Turkey is bombarding, deepening a humanitarian crisis in a stretch of Syria that had been relatively secure since the defeat of ISIS's self-declared caliphate back in March. Here's a look at the camps for displaced people in the area.

Mozambique's democracy test Mozambicans voted yesterday in an election that will test a fragile peace accord between the ruling Frelimo party, led by president Filipe Nyusi, and Renamo, a former rebel group-turned-opposition party. The two factions were on opposite sides of a Cold War-tinged civil war that killed an estimated 1 million people between 1977 and 1992. Frelimo, which has ruled Mozambique since independence, has been losing popularity due to a corruption scandal, but is likely to hold onto power at the national level. Renamo, which foreswore violence just two months ago in exchange for electoral reforms that will help the party, will be hoping to make regional gains that allow it to win some key governorships. Disputes over the final vote count and even outright fraud or violence are possible in coming days, particularly if Renamo fails to make its hoped-for gains.

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