Here And There with Dave Marash

Dona Ana County in southern NM is at the heart of what’s expected to be the closest contest among the state’s 3 Congressional races.  In the past, low voter turnout has limited the county’s influence on such political decisions, but this year, Heath Haussamen of NM Politics.net says, county election officials are determined to change that.  It’s a non-partisan effort to get out the vote, but it could have an impact on a very partisan election.

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Israel tells Russia, a 60 mile buffer zone between Iranian forces and the Syrian-Israeli border is a non-starter; we want Iran out of Syria.  Russia’s answer –no can do…and when asked about Russian attitudes towards further Israeli airstrikes against Iranian and Hezbollah bases in Syria, his answer is, It’s not for us to say. So should Israel see this as a green light, a yellow light or a red light for future bomb and missile attacks?  Andrew Parasiliti of the RAND Corporation on the implications. 

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Russia and Germany are working together to build the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea, which will further solidify Russia as the energy supplier for Germany and much of Europe.  President Trump says this will give Russia political domination over Germany.  Keith Johnson of Foreign Policy calls that an exaggeration.  But Keith agrees with the White House that there’s no exaggerating the negatives in the new pipeline for Ukraine, both in terms of national income and energy security. 

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Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, AMLO for short, finally won the Presidency of Mexico on his 4th try, and he did it by an overwhelming majority vote.  He’s also got strong majorities in both houses of Congress to tackle his promises to reduce historic levels of crime and violence and uproot endemic corruption.  And Victoria Gaytan of the think tank Global Americans reminds us, AMLO also has to deal with Donald Trump, who has publically called him “a terrific person.” 

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Twelve Thai schoolboys, aged 11 to 16 and their soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave for more than a week before they were found alive, after which it took more than a week to bring them to safety.  It was, for its time, the biggest news story in the world.  What an event! What a media event! How did it affect politically divided Thailand and what happens next for the kids and their soccer coach?  Tassanee Vejpongsa, Bangkok-based reporter for the Associated Press has been covering the story

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The migration of mostly middle-class, often well-educated and skilled refugees from the war in Syria has stirred lots of hostility and conflict in Europe.  So why has an equally large migration of similar people fleeing the police state in Venezuela gone so much more smoothly across Latin America?  Could it be because Europeans cling to tribal identities while Latin Americans see themselves as a single community?   Demetrios Papademetriou of the Migration Policy Institute explains. 

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America has had it both ways…as a country filled with beavers to one where the busy aquatic rodents have been almost exterminated.  Finding a livable middle ground for beavers and human hasn’t been easy, but Ben Goldfarb, author of the new book, EAGER: THE SURPRISING SECRET LIFE OF BEAVERS AND WHY THEY MATTER says we’re getting there…and we’re setting examples of how to do beaver restoration that are changing Western Europe.  Find out how transformative beavers can be to our riverine environments.

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Do the facts matter anymore?  The crime rate in Germany is very low and the absorption of more than a million migrants since 2015 has hardly affected the economy.  But enough Germans have been listening to the nativist rants of outsiders like Donald Trump and insiders like Interior Minister Host Seehofer that they believe the opposite. This has put Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government in danger.  Madeleine Schwartz of the NY Review of Books is based in Berlin and has been following the story. 

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First, Donald Trump threatened to pull the US out of NATO is member states didn’t fulfill their pledges to boost their defense spending.  But that’s just a squabble about money.  Now, he’s called into doubt America’s commitment to NATO’s collective security by questioning why the US should fight to defend Montenegro.  “They’re an aggressive people,” Trump says, adding that an aggressive Montenegro could start World War 3.  Montenegrins are insulted and bemused…NATO allies are worried.  USA Today White House correspondent David M Jackson helps to sort things out. 

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