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U.S. Debate Prep: Five Foreign Policy Gaffes To Avoid

Worldcrunch

PARIS - The third and final presidential debate is slated to cover the major foreign-policy issues of our times: the rise of China, Iran's nuclear program, Harry's crown jewels.

For the two candidates, suddenly having to shift gears to global concerns in the midst of a domestic, pocketbook-centric campaign means lots of extra homework. It also means the gaffes risk multiplying like a southern European national debt.

From past experience stateside and our own twisted imagination here in Paris, here are five potential pitfalls for the MessrsObama and Romney:

1) Prepare a good answer for the question: What is Africa?

A. a continent

B. a country

C. something Sarah Palin has "heard of"

2) You don't have to tell Americans that other languages are spoken around the world. They can understand Simon Cowell perfectly well, thank you very much. Still, on debate night, when everyone is watching, and several hundred are listening, Obama and Romney should not be tempted to sneak out a second language like they have in the past when (they thought) no one was looking.

3. Whatever you do, no matter the question... don't try to pronounce the name of this country:

4. Well Herman Cain was probably never destined for a presidency beyond the American Restaurant Association. But legend has it that Ronald Reagan himself was once asked about then French President Giscard d'Estaing... to which he responded: Where's that? But hey, we empathize with all these damn foreign names and foreign countries that keep popping up around the world. Did you know that the current French President has a Dutch name? The Belgian Prime Minister has an Italian name (and wears a bow tie)? And the new boss in Georgia has never even been to Atlanta (and has a French passport). Anyway, beware if the debate moderator asks about the conflict brewing between Burma and Myanmar, it's a trick question!

5. Iran and Iraq are both complicated countries that have now long been devoted to making life very unpleasant for Americans and American presidents. It's just a lot to keep track of. This, however, is not a solution to suggest in tonight's debate...

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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