Oops: Azerbaijan released election results before voting had even started

One has to at least appreciate Russia for keeping a lid on who was chosen before elected until the right time.

Azerbaijan’s big presidential election, held on Wednesday, was anticipated to be neither free nor fair. President Ilham Aliyev, who took over from his father 10 years ago, has stepped up intimidation of activists and journalists. Rights groups are complaining about free speech restrictions and one-sided state media coverage. The BBC’s headline for its story on the election reads “The Pre-Determined President.” So expectations were pretty low.

Even still, one expects a certain ritual in these sorts of authoritarian elections, a fealty to at least the appearance of democracy, if not democracy itself. So it was a bit awkward when Azerbaijan’s election authorities released vote results – a full day before voting had even started. Continue reading

Missile Mania

China last week carried out a second flight test of a new long-range mobile missile that is capable of hitting United States cities with a nuclear warhead. The test took place days before North Korea is set to fire its long-range missile, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

U.S. intelligence airborne and space sensors detected the flight test Friday of the road-mobile DF-31A missile as it lifted off from the Wuzhai Space and Missile Test Center. The missile flew west to an impact range in western China. Continue reading