World News Brief, Wednesday July 9

Abdullah Abdullah claims victory in Afghanistan; US-China meeting aims to stabilise rocky relations; Indonesia heads to the polls; Pope Francis meets with sex abuse victims, condemns pedophile priests; Nicaragua unveils plans for canal to link Pacific and Atlantic; and more 

Top of the Agenda

Potential Unrest Looms Over Afghan Vote

Afghan presidential contender Abdullah Abdullah claimed victory on Tuesday, rejecting preliminary election results that gave his rival, Ashraf Ghani, a lead of a million votes. Abdullah also called on thousands of supporters rallying in Kabul to give him time to plan his next steps and avert a crisis (TOLO). An Abdullah ally and provincial governor called Monday for "widespread civil unrest" and warned of forming a "parallel government," drawing a swift condemnation from U.S. secretary of state John Kerry, who warned that an extralegal power grab would jeopardize international financial and security support (WSJ). Kerry is expected in Kabul at the end of the week to mediate the crisis (WaPo). Meanwhile, a Taliban suicide bomber killed four NATO troops north of Kabul, as well as twelve civilians and Afghan police (AFP).


"Abdullah's re-engagement in the election process is fundamental to any hope of an outcome to this election which is acceptable to all parties. However, the presence of his observers is also, in a very practical way, crucial to getting an audit that actually scrutinises the ballots," writes Kate Clark for the Afghanistan Analysts Network.


"There is pressure on the Afghan government to get this election completed and install a new presidential administration in time to meet the political, economic, and military challenges of the transition period as foreign troops leave. There's a crucial NATO summit in September, a major meeting of donors in November, and other hurdles that will require a functioning new administration," International Crisis Group's Graeme Smith told DeutscheWelle.


"If this moment is decisive, as I suggested, it is because it will determine whether or not Afghan leaders have truly adopted the logic of democracy—as Afghan voters seem to have done—or whether the source of power is ultimately non-institutional, negotiable, the result of behind-the-curtain deals, and permanently dependent on international arbitration," writes Scott Smith for the Global Observatory.



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U.S. to Manage China Ties at Beijing Summit

The U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue is due to open Wednesday with cyberspying, maritime disputes, and North Korea's nuclear program topping the agenda. The U.S. delegation, led by Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, will prioritize the stabilizing of rocky relations (WSJ).


INDONESIA: Nearly 190 million Indonesians are expected to vote tomorrow in a tightly contested race for the presidency of the world's third-largest democracy (FT).


Pope Francis meets with sex abuse victims, condemns pedophile priests

Canal planned to link Pacific and Atlantic through Nicaragua

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