Ahmadinejad make final appeal in Iranian election; Palau to resettle Gitmo prisoners; All Chinese computers to have sex and violence filters; Russia in joint bid to join WTO; and more
Top of the Agenda: Iran Elections
Iran entered its final day of campaigning before its presidential elections tomorrow. Al-Jazeera reports tens of thousands of people turned out in Tehran to hear incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad give a final appeal for reelection. Dow Jones reports Ahmadinejad's challengers held rival protests in the city, criticizing the president for his crackdowns on personal freedoms and his troubles managing Iran's struggling economy.
Several news outlets have noted that Ahmadinejad's challengers, two mild reformists and one conservative--and particularly the reformists, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi--once appeared quite weak but seem to have gained momentum in recent weeks. It remains to be seen, of course, whether any of the challengers stands a chance of unseating the president. Some analysts have predicted that Mousavi and Karroubi will split the reformist vote, undermining one another.
The Economist says the results of the vote could hinge primarily on voter turnout, with higher turnout benefiting the reformists. The piece notes that recent televised debates seem to have energized Iranians "as much as any [election] since the Islamic revolution of 1979." The New York Times reports the state of the Iranian economy has emerged as a defining issue ahead of the vote.
A new Backgrounder from CFR explains the role of the Iranian presidency and how the power invested in the office has shifted over the years. The piece also profiles the candidates in tomorrow's election and explains how the vote will work.
EurasiaNet has an analysis arguing that Ahmadinejad may be trying to foment a "revolution within the Islamic Revolution" in hopes of establishing a "neoconservative dictatorship with the blessing of the country's spiritual leader." The problem, the article says, is that Ahmadinejad's opponents are stronger than the Iranian president once thought.
Foreign Policy has a new special report on the elections questioning whether a new revolution might be afoot.
PACIFIC RIM: Palau-Gitmo Agreement
The BBC reports the Pacific island state of Palau has agreed to resettle seventeen Chinese Uighur muslims the United States has been holding at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.
CHINA: The Chinese news outlet Global Times reports some Chinese are questioning a government mandate that all personal computers sold in China starting in July contain software that filters some violent and sexual content.