Top of the Morning: So Far, So Calm in Mali Elections

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So Far, So Calm in Mali Elections

With a huge peacekeeping mission on the way, the international community has a lot riding on this election. “Voting is underway in Mali for a presidential election seen as the first step toward getting the country back on its feet after a disastrous 18 months that saw a military coup in the south and an Islamist takeover of the north. Voting got underway slowly Sunday with polling stations starting to fill up about an hour after they opened. No major issues have been raised, though security remains a key concern in the formerly occupied north.” (VOA

Israel Agrees to Prisoner Swap, Setting Stage for Peace Talks Tomorrow

It looks like John Kerry’s intense diplomacy is starting to pay off. “The Israeli government agreed Sunday to release 104 Palestinian prisoners over the next nine months as a gesture to lure Palestinian leaders back to the negotiating table…. Netanyahu faced considerable pressure from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is hoping to renew talks in Washington on Tuesday between representatives from both sides.” (LAT

Death Toll at 72 in Egypt Massacre

Scores of pro-Morsi demonstrators were gunned down by Egyptian security forces on Saturday. “The killings occurred a day after hundreds of thousands of Egyptians marched in support of the military, responding to a call by its commander for a “mandate” to fight terrorism. The appeal by Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, who has emerged as Egypt’s de facto leader since the military removed Mr. Morsi from power, was widely seen as a green light to the security forces to increase their repression of the Islamists.” (NYT