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Geopolitics

France's Hollande Gets And Gives Boost In Parliamentary Election

Worldcrunch

LIBERATION (France)

PARIS - On the wave of the solid popularity of newly installed French President François Hollande, left-wing parties look to be headed for a clear majority after Sunday's first round of parliamentary elections.

First estimates give the Left -- led by Hollande's Socialist Party -- 47% of the vote, in front of Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP, with 35%, and the far-right National Front with 13-14%, according to Libération. The second round of parliamentary elections will be held next Sunday, with top vote-getters in each district facing off.

The Socialists needs 289 out of 577 seats for an absolute majority. The left-wing alliance is poised to garner between 275 and 329 seats, to which it hopes to add 8-18 green MP's (Europe Ecologie-Les Verts) and 13-20 far-left MP's (Front de Gauche).

Conservative party UMP is poised to lose it majority, but should be able to keep from 210 to 270 parliamentary seats.

National Front leader Marine LePen won more than 42% of the vote in her district in northern France, putting her in a strong position to enter Parliament. Still, record low voter turnout (around 60%) translated into a disappointing national showing for the far-right, which was unable to match Le Pen's 18-point performance in the first round of the presidential election in late April.

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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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