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America’s worst fears may have been realized by preliminary election results released today in Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai’s handpicked successor has been declared the winner, but his opponent is rejecting the outcome due to evidence of massive fraud. That could pit ethnic Tajiks and Pashtuns against each other, strengthen the Taliban and perhaps lead to another civil war. Does the US have the clout to make a difference? Can the UN help mediate a non-violent transition of power?

Also, an update on the crisis in Ukraine, and as the first pot-shop licenses are permitted in Washington state, will there be enough weed?

Banner Image: Afghans shout slogans during a protest to support presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah, in Kabul June 27, 2014. Thousands of angry protesters marched on the Afghan president's palace on Friday in support of candidate Abdullah's allegations that mass fraud had been committed during the presidential election by organizers and state officials. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

Ukraine Forces Dislodge Rebels in Eastern Ukraine 7 MIN, 50 SEC

“Final showdown” is how the government in Kiev frames today’s fighting with pro-Russia rebels in Eastern Ukraine. Over the weekend, they were dislodged from Slovyansk, an important base. Now both sides are preparing for a siege of Donestk, a city of one million and the capital of their self-proclaimed “independent” region. Alan Cullison is Moscow Correspondent for the Wall Street Journal.

Alan Cullison, Wall Street Journal (@AlanCullison)

Preliminary Results Reveal an Afghan President - But Will He Be Accepted? 34 MIN, 56 SEC

Preliminary results from Afghanistan’s runoff presidential election were released today. Some 1900 polling paces have been audited after charges of widespread ballot stuffing and audio tapes purporting to show election officials engaging in voter fraud. The Independent Election Commission says President Karzai’s hand-picked candidate, Ashraf Ghani is the winner with 56% of the vote, but the opposition, led by Abdullah Abdullah, says it won’t accept that outcome.

Azam Ahmed, New York Times (@azamsahmed)
Omar Samad, Silk Road Consulting / New America Foundation (@OmSamad)
Peter Tomsen, author and former diplomat
Vanda Felbab-Brown, Brookings Institution (@VFelbabBrown)

Afghan Election Dispute Forcing Western Officials to Take a Stand
How to Save Afghanistan's Democratic Moment
EU Urges Wider Fraud Probe in Afghan Elections
The Political Games in the Taliban Negotiations

Washington Retailers Get Pot Licenses 8 MIN, 18 SEC

In January, recreational marijuana shops opened all over Colorado, a state with a history of medical marijuana. Today, when Washington state issued its first licenses for such outlets, it was starting from scratch. 24 licenses to sell recreational marijuana were issued, the first of 334 to be granted statewide. Retail outlets won’t be opening up until tomorrow, but there’s already a predicted shortage of product.

Brian Smith, Washington State Liquor Control Board
Adam Markus, Station 420


Warren Olney

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