As Indonesia’s departing president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, spoke last month in the United States about the importance of public participation in politics, the party he leads was working to deprive Indonesians of their right to vote directly for their district leaders or mayors. The move was an attempt by Jakarta’s old guard, whose candidate lost the last national elections in July, to reassert itself in the face of a new breed of politician: competent local administrators who can appeal directly to voters rather than bend to the whims and corrupt interests of their political parties.
That generational clash — between candidates whose politics were shaped during the 32 years Suharto held power and those who have come of age professionally since his authoritarian rule ended in 1998 — was the central narrative of the presidential election.… Seguir leyendo »
Last Wednesday, Indonesians cast ballots to elect their seventh president. The choice: a small-town furniture salesman who stepped down as Jakarta’s reformist governor, or a well-heeled former general who harked back to an autocratic past. The race ended tight, but the most credible evidence points to a victory for the former governor. It is a testament to the maturity of voters in the world’s third-largest democracy that they resisted cheap nationalist rhetoric to safeguard their democratic rights.
The same maturity was not immediately on display among the political elite. On the basis of an early sampling of results that, in past elections, has proved accurate, Joko Widodo, the former governor, has declared victory; but the military man, Prabowo Subianto, is refusing to concede.… Seguir leyendo »
It’s been a bad few months for HIV prevention. We’ve learned that our best candidates for vaccines and virus-killing microbicides don’t work. Now we’re clutching at another straw: maybe we can treat our way out of the HIV epidemic.
At an HIV research meeting this week, boffins from the World Health Organisation revived a mathematical model that shows that if we test everyone in Africa for HIV once a year and give everyone who tests positive expensive drugs right away and for the rest of their lives, we’ll wipe out new HIV infections within seven years. That’s because HIV is passed on most easily when there’s lots of virus in the infected person’s blood and body fluids.… Seguir leyendo »