What We’re Watching: Mexico’s Border Patrols, Ukrainian Outrage

Mexico's Army Stretched Thin — Mexico has deployed 15,000 troops to its border with the United States to reduce the flow of migrants seeking undocumented entry into El Norte. It's an unprecedented deployment, but the country is scrambling to reduce the flow of northbound migrants as part of a deal reached with the Trump administration earlier this month to avoid US import tariffs on Mexican goods. The move comes atop 9,000 troops already deployed to Mexico's southern border to prevent Central Americans from entering Mexico. We are watching to see how a cash-strapped Mexican government will balance the twin tasks of keeping Trump happy with border security, while addressing huge domestic security problems at the same time. There are only so many troops available.

The Defense of Human Rights in Europe — The Council of Europe, a 47-member human rights institution, has reinstated Russia's voting rights several years after revoking them over the Kremlin's annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in Eastern Ukraine. Not surprisingly, Ukraine is incensed and other Western European governments see the scot-free readmission as a blot on the integrity of an institution that defends civil liberties for more than 800 million people. But supporters of the move say it's better to give human rights activists struggling within Russia some recourse to the Council's legal protections than to risk stranding them if Russia leaves the body all together. Most Russians polled agree. And from a purely pecuniary perspective, a reinstated Russia will start paying its 10 percent share of the Council's annual budget again.

What We're Ignoring:

Word Bans in Pakistan — The deputy speaker of Pakistan's National Assembly on Sunday banned lawmakers from using the phrase "selected Prime Minister," a favorite of opposition politicians keen to suggest that Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is close to the military, was chosen by the country's generals rather than by the people in last year's election. As you might expect in Pakistan's spirited legislature, the move backfired: lawmakers are just using synonyms like "handpicked" and now the legally questionable ban itself is a focus of opposition ire, drawing far more attention to the original phrase. We are ignoring this unless they try to ban the term "Streisand Effect" next.

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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Turkey's government has captured many thousands of ISIS fighters as a result of its operations in northern Syria. Many of these prisoners have already been deported to some of the more than 100 countries they come from, and Ankara says it intends to send more. There are also more than 10,000 women and children – family members of ISIS fighters – still living in camps inside Syria.

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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