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NBC NEWS (USA)

Worldcrunch

ISTANBUL – NBC News' chief correspondent Richard Engel and members of his production team were freed from captors in Syria after a firefight at a checkpoint on Monday, NBC News said early Tuesday.

"After being kidnapped and held for five days inside Syria by an unknown group, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel and his production crew members have been freed unharmed. We are pleased to report they are safely out of the country," the network said in a statement.


Monday evening local time, the prisoners were being moved to a new location in a vehicle when their captors ran into a checkpoint held by members of the Ahrar al-Sham brigade, a Syrian rebel group. There was a confrontation followed by a firefight.

The captors remain unidentified and are not believed to be loyal to the Assad regime, reports NBC News. Two of the captors died in the assault while an unknown number of others escaped.

None of the NBC team were harmed and they are reported to be in good health. They made their way to the border and re-entered Turkey Tuesday morning, according to the network.

The 39 year old reporter along with other employees disappeared shortly after crossing into Syria from Turkey on Thursday.

There has been no claim of responsibility from the captors and no request for ranson, the network says.

Richard Engel was named chief foreign correspondent of NBC News in April 2008. He is one of America's most respected war correspondents and covered several conflicts including Iraq and Libya.


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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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