Coming down to the wire. “This is the last week of campaigning ahead of Mali’s July 28 presidential election, with 27 presidential candidates crisscrossing the country to rally supporters. Authorities have handed out seven million voter cards in less than a month, and are frantically completing preparations for the ballot…”Malians must forgive each other today and shake hands for national reconciliation,” said Dramane Dembele, ADEMA – PASJ’s candidate. Many Malians blame the crisis on those who governed over the past two decades. Several of the top candidates, like Modibo Sidibe and Ibrahim Boubabar Keita, are former ministers and prime ministers and long-time fixtures on Mali’s political scene.” (VOA http://bit.ly/11852Mq)
Too Much Hope, Too Soon for Israel-Palestine Talks?
John Kerry surprised the world when he announced that direct talks between the two sides would commence, as soon as this week, for the first in years. But was he forcing the issue? Some suspect Kerry’s announcement was a pressure tactic in which he declared that talks would take place and essentially dared the parties not to show up. The hope might be that once both sides start talking again, progress could be made. But so far neither side has publicly endorsed Kerry’s framework for restarting talks. (LAT http://lat.ms/1186hLv)