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food / travel

Seduction And Sedition Haunt A Different Palmyra Landmark

With ISIS terror reigning in Palmyra, where treasured Roman ruins are at risk, reflections on a fascinating if less ancient part of its history: the Zenobia Cham Palace Hotel.

The Zenobia hotel in Palmyra before Syria's civil war began
The Zenobia hotel in Palmyra before Syria's civil war began
Boris Mabillard

In his satirical Dictionary of Received Ideas, French author Gustave Flaubert gave his definition of Palmyra. "An Egyptian queen? Famous ruins? Nobody knows," he wrote, back in the 1870s. The ancient Syrian city is all of that at the same time. But since the novelist's passing, another symbol has come to highlight the city's glorious history — as well as its tragic present.

This is the Zenobia Cham Palace Hotel, named after the queen who ruled the city for a short time from the year 267, following her husband's assassination. Legend has it that Zenobia, the "Warrior Queen," defied Rome by striking her own coins.

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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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