The first round of the French national election begins this weekend and Vox has an article that outlines all the candidates running and what the issues are. While there are eleven candidates, the analysts believe that only four have a real shot at emerging as the two candidates for the second round of elections later on. The terrorist attack in Paris yesterday has given the election a jolt and it remains to be seen whether the attack favors the right wing candidate, Le Pen, or the left wing candidate, Mélenchon. The Pew Research Center has some very interesting information about where the support for the right-wing National Front comes from. This election is critically important for the future of Europe and should be watched carefully.
The world is facing catastrophes in three countries because of food shortages: South Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria. We could also add Yemen to the list as well as several others who are just hovering at the brink of collapse. The world, however, is not doing very much to help the millions in these countries–indeed, the international organizations and non-governmental organizations which respond to these crises are critically short of money and resources at this point in time. Our colleague at Hampshire College, Michael Klare, makes the argument that these disasters are linked to climate change and should therefore be considered a form of genocide because of the lack of action.
At least 12 people were killed in Venezuela as protests turned to rioting and looting. The situation continues to deteriorate as it becomes clearer that there is no likelihood of political concessions by the Maduro government. The desperation of the people is obvious and political violence is probably the only alternative left for the people to achieve a change. Venezuela is potentially the richest country in Latin America and its descent into chaos is a clear example of the singular importance of good governance. One should never underestimate the significance of a responsive government.