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In Afghanistan, Looking For Peace Through A Telescope

An astronomer uses stargazing to give young Afghans some much-appreciated perspective, all the while taking care not to tread on anyone's religious sensibilities.

U.S. helicopter under the night sky near Kabul, Afghanistan
U.S. helicopter under the night sky near Kabul, Afghanistan
Julien Bouissou

KABUL — When Yunos Bakhshi went to register his astronomy association with the Afghan Justice Ministry, an official there opened the palm of his hand and asked, "Can you read my fortune?"

In Afghanistan, astronomy is often confused with astrology, because people there prefer to use the stars to predict the future rather than to understand the universe. But Bakhshi sees another use for the Afghan interest in astrology.

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Geopolitics

AMLO Power Grab: Mexico's Electoral Reform Would Make Machiavelli Proud

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO, says his plans to reform the electoral system are a way to save taxpayer money. A closer look tells a different story.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico votes

Luis Rubio

OpEd-

MEXICO CITY — For supporters of Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) the goal is clear: to keep power beyond the 2024 general election, at any price. Finally, the engineers of the much-touted Fourth Transformation, ALMO's 2018 campaign promise to do away with the privileged abuses that have plagued Mexican politics for decades, are showing their colors.

Current electoral laws date back to the 1990s, when unending electoral disputes were a constant of every voting round and impeded effective governance in numerous states and districts. The National Electoral Institute (INE) and its predecessor, the IFE, were created to solve once and for all those endemic disputes.

Their promoters hoped Mexico could expect a more honest future, with the electoral question resolved. The 2006 presidential elections, which included AMLO as a recalcitrant loser, showed this was hoping for too much. That election is also, remotely, at the source of the president's new electoral initiative.

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