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DRC Elections: A Total Mess

About 400 polling stations will be open for a second day of voting. “Marred” is a word that frequently pops up in news accounts of Monday’s election in the DRC. It’s kind of an under-statement. From the NYT:  “Ballot boxes on fire, rebel fighters gunning down poll workers and outbursts of mob violence marred Congo’s national elections on Monday, only the second time this vast and troubled country has held anything resembling a democratic vote. Few here predicted these elections would be easy. President Joseph Kabila is reviled in many parts of the country and his security forces have already killed many opposition supporters and used a mix of repression and bribery to squeeze out votes. At the same time, opposition leaders are dangerously stirring up their camps, saying that the elections have been rigged and calling on people to reject the results. The leading presidential challenger, Etienne Tshisekedi, a 78-year-old rabble-rouser, has already declared himself president, and countless young people who voted for him said they were ready to flood the streets and risk their lives should Mr. Tshisekedi lose.” (NYT http://nyti.ms/tflRtJ)  And Reuters: “Violence over the weekend left at least four people dead, and it continued Monday when gunmen opened fire on a truck transporting ballots in the southeastern town of Lubumbashi. That and a subsequent attack by unidentified assailants left five more dead, according to Dikanga Kazadi, the provincial interior minister. In the capital, police fired tear gas to break up a crowd that had amassed outside a voting bureau.” (Reuters http://bit.ly/vffMR9)

Human Rights Abuses in Syria: Worse Than You Think

A long awaited UN report on human rights abuses by the Syrian regime provides grim details of the extent to which the Assad regime sought to suppress dissent. The report provides horrific accusations of soldiers being shot for refusing to fire on protesters; children being tortured to death; a father forced to watch as his teenage son is sodomized; and numerous accounts of soldiers firing into crowds of peaceably assembled civilians. (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/taYLmw)

Breaking: Dozens of hard-line Iranian students have stormed the British Embassy in Tehran, bringing down the British flag and throwing documents from windows. The students clashed with anti-riot police and chanted “the Embassy of Britain should be taken over” and “death to England.” (Reuters http://nyti.ms/tIWrST)

Money Quote from a Donor: The OECD Chair ahead of this week’s big international aid confab in Busan:  “This is about dealing with the terrible fragmentation of the aid effort,” said Brian Atwood, chair of the development assistance committee at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the group of rich, free market democracies which currently account for about 80 percent of overall global foreign aid. “There are estimates that we are possibly wasting 30 percent of the development dollars we spend because of transaction costs and lack of coordination,” he said. “We would like to have much more coordination at the country level. And this is being demanded not so much by us as by the developing countries themselves.” (Reuters http://reut.rs/tNpFko)

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