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The Wednesday Politics Thread Checks all the Boxes

I wrote an intro I swear but the cat tore it up and tried to flush it down the toilet. I’d write another but now she’s staring at me with those Dark Brandon eyes…

Voting Is Over in Kenya’s Election. Now the Battle Continues.

The electoral commission estimated voter turnout at 60 percent of the country’s 22 million voters — a huge drop from the 80 percent turnout of the 2017 election, and a sign that many Kenyans, perhaps stung by economic hardship or jaded by endemic corruption, preferred to stay home.

In recent weeks, both Mr. Odinga and Mr. Ruto have accused the election commission and other state bodies of bias, apparently sowing the ground for a legal challenge — only, of course, if they lose.

The New York Times [archive]

Blinken draws distinctions between US and Russia as he seeks to make case for US partnership in Africa

Blinken’s visit to the continent — with stops in South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Rwanda — and pitch for US partnership there comes as Moscow has sought to step up its influence in Africa amid isolation from Europe over its war in Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov traveled to Ethiopia, Uganda, the Republic of Congo, and Egypt at the end of July.

“History shows that strong democracies tend to be more stable and less prone to conflict, but that poor governance, exclusion, and corruption inherent in weak democracies makes them more vulnerable to extremist movements as well as to foreign interference,” he said. “That includes the Kremlin-backed Wagner Group, which exploits instability to pillage resources and commit abuses with impunity, as we’ve seen in Mali and the Central African Republic.”

CNN [archive]

U.S. and Iran Weighing ‘Final’ E.U. Offer on Nuclear Deal

“What can be negotiated has been negotiated, and it’s now in a final text,” the E.U. foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell Fontelles, said Monday on Twitter.

In a notable shift, Iran has retreated from two key demands. One is an insistence that the United States remove Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps from its official list of foreign terrorist organizations, according to people briefed on the negotiations and two Iranians familiar with the talks.

The other is an insistence that the Biden administration provide guarantees that a future president will not withdraw from the deal even if Iran upholds its commitments, as Mr. Trump did in 2018. The Iranians have come to accept that such a promise is not possible, according to the two Iranians.

The New York Times [archive]

South Korea’s heaviest rainfall in 80 years leaves at least 9 dead in Seoul

More than 18 inches of rain was measured in Seoul’s hardest-hit Dongjak district from Monday to Tuesday evening. Precipitation in the area exceeded 5.5 inches per hour at one point Monday night, the highest hourly downpour measured in Seoul since 1942.

“The heavy rainfall is expected to continue for days … we need to maintain our sense of alert and respond with all-out effort,” President Yoon Suk Yeol said at the government’s emergency headquarters.

The military was prepared to deploy troops to help with recovery efforts if requested by cities or regional governments, Defense Ministry spokesperson Moon Hong-sik said.

CBS News [archive]

Japan’s wildlife turns on the human population

Dramatic changes in the landscape of rural Japan have caused significant changes in the behavior of the nation’s wild animals, leading to more frequent — and more violent — clashes with humans.

In years gone by, bear attacks have typically accounted for the majority of the attacks on humans, along with occasional rampages by boars. But there has been a sharp increase in reports of attacks by monkeys this summer, while authorities in one coastal city have warned of dolphins becoming aggressive toward swimmers.

Deutsche Welle [archive]

United States returns looted Bronze Age treasures to Cambodia

The items include artifacts from the Bronze Age to the 12th century, the attorney’s office said in a statement. Notable pieces being repatriated include a 10th-century sandstone sculpture of the Hindu god of war Skanda riding on a peacock and a monumental sculpture of Ganesha, a central Hindu and Buddhist deity; both were looted from the ancient Khmer capital, Koh Ker.

The New York attorney’s office said the artifacts had been “stolen from Cambodia as part of an organized looting network” and that many were sold by antiquities dealer Douglas Latchford to collectors and museums in the United States.

The Washington Post [archive]

Wounded Knee descendants want a Mass. museum to return artifacts looted from their relatives’ bodies

The massacre at Wounded Knee is one of the most shameful episodes in United States history, a war crime perpetrated by U.S. soldiers on U.S. soil against Native Americans. At least 250 Lakota men, women and children were gunned down by the U.S. cavalry on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in 1890. The Lakota dead were not treated with dignity. Looters took everything of value or interest from the corpses of the men, women and children.

Now, a number of those personal possessions stolen from the victims of Wounded Knee have ended up in the collection of the Barre Museum here in Massachusetts. A group of descendants of Wounded Knee survivors known as HAWK 1890 is fighting to get those personal items back.

WGBH News [archive]

Welcome to Wednesday, Politicados! May we all luxuriate in the surfeit of schadenfreude this week has so far seen fit to bestow upon us long-suffering doomposters. Hardly seems necessary to say this week, but of course the McSquirrel Rule remains in effect. If you’ve any energy to spare for hogpoggling at this point I envy you. Let’s mind those clams and keep the good times moving.

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