WATCHING/IGNORING

What We're Watching

Orban vs Soros in Hungary – Hungary's nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban seems to have won his ongoing fight to shut down Central European University.


CEU, an institution founded by his Hungarian-born critic George Soros, has announced it is relocating most of its operations to Vienna. Orban's government says CEU violated the law by issuing US degrees without having a US campus. But CEU is affiliated with Bard College in New York, where it offers courses. CEU and its defenders say Orban wants to quash critics and academic freedom as part of his broader "illiberal" agenda. CEU's departure marks the first time a university has been forced to leave an EU country.

The Climate in Katowice – The problem of climate change can't be addressed without shared sacrifice among nations, a hard political sell even in the most harmonious times. But President Trump's assault on the 2015 Paris Agreement has inspired others—like Brazil's newly-elected president—to throw cold water on efforts to jointly combat global warming. This week, delegates to a UN climate change conference in Katowice, Poland will try to define workable carbon emission targets for the Paris signatories. If they can't make progress, will it fall to regions, cities, or even companies to set their own goals?

WHAT WE'RE IGNORING

Angela Merkel's cheat sheet – German Chancellor Angela Merkel was caught taking a cheat sheet into her entering meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison this weekend. The document explains who he is and what he looks like. As a number of Australians have pointed out, it's only fair: Mr. Morrison is the sixth different Australian prime minister to hold office since Merkel became Germany's chancellor in 2005.

Nigeria's Clone President – The often-ill Muhammadu Buhari, currently running for reelection as Nigeria's president, insists he has not died and been replaced by a body double. "It's the real me, I assure you," said Buhari, or maybe his clone. We're ignoring this for two reasons: We're 98 percent sure that's really Buhari and, if he is a clone, the clone Buhari would have a clear incentive to lie about it.

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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