Top of the Morning: Egypt Election Results; New Top Prosecutor at the ICC; New Data on Poverty in Latin America

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And the Winners of Egypt’s First Post-Mubarak Election Are…

As suspected, parties tinged with political Islam are poised for some big gains. ”Unofficial initial results from the first two days of Egypt’s parliamentary elections pointed to a dominant showing for Islamist candidates, fulfilling most analysts’ expectations that conservative religious politicians could have the upper hand in next year’s drafting of a new Egyptian constitution. Initial tallies put the powerful Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, or FJP, in a leading position, followed by the Nour Party, which represents the ultraconservative Salafi school of Islam, FJP said. An FJP official said the party’s vote-counting observers expect the group to win as much as 50% of the vote. A Nour Party spokesman said the early returns point to a Salafi capture of about 10% to 15% of seats in the incoming Parliament. The Egyptian Bloc, a list of liberal parties dominated by the left-leaning Social Democrat Party and the pro-market Free Egyptians Party, appeared to be in third place. Official early results are expected to be announced on Thursday, the High Elections Commission said.” (WSJ http://on.wsj.com/v8XSG8)

Meet The Next Top Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court
The term of the ICC’s first prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, expires next year. It would seem that the member states of the ICC have coalesced around his successor — and she’s an African. This is significant because so far, all of the ICC’s cases have focused on Africa, and diplomats are wary that the ICC is seen as kind-of-sort-of neocolonialist institution. “International Criminal Court members on Thursday were set to formally recommend Fatou Bensouda of Gambia as chief prosecutor, after a consensus emerged that an African should hold the post. Bensouda, 50, is deputy to the current chief prosecutor…Bensouda emerged as the consensus candidate for the key post in final meetings of the ICC member nations ahead of the formal election to be held in New York on December 12…Bensouda has been the ICC deputy prosecutor since 2004. Before that she had been an adviser and trial attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania. She had also been attorney general and justice minister in the Gambia and took part in negotiations on the treaty that set up the the Economic Community of West African States. Bensouda is considered more low-key than the frequently outspoken Moreno-Ocampo, an Argentine who made his name prosecuting former senior members of the military junta that once ruled his country.” (Yahoo! http://yhoo.it/s314iE)

New Data on Poverty Rates (or lack thereof) in Latin America

What ‘global’ economic crisis?  According to new data from the United Nations, poverty rates in Latin America have dropped sharply over the past twenty years, from 48.4% in 1990 to 31.4% in 2010. The region still has 174 million inhabitants who live in poverty, but that is well below the peak of 225 million in 2002. “Several factors help to explain the fast decline in poverty. Governments managed to stabilize their economies after the 1980s ‘lost decade’ of debt crises and inflation—a period more extreme than what Europe is suffering with its current crisis. That allowed countries to spend less on servicing debt and more on social spending. Many nations like Mexico also opened to trade, which helped to lower prices for consumers. Others, like Argentina, Venezuela and Brazil, benefited from rising commodity prices in products including oil, iron ore and soybeans. Lastly, fertility rates dropped everywhere, meaning the region has fewer babies and more working-age citizens.” (WSJ http://on.wsj.com/w2fWVr)

Money Quote from a Donor.  Hillary Clinton at the Busan conference on aid effectiveness:  “Too often, we measure success by what we put in — namely, the number of textbooks delivered to schools or seeds provided to farmers — rather than what we get out. We know textbooks alone don’t lead to a well-educated workforce and that seeds alone cannot produce a thriving agricultural sector. So we have to be clear about what our outcomes should be and then hold ourselves and all of our partners to them.” (All Africa http://bit.ly/s37YUu)

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