Mexicans turn out in droves to protest electoral overhaul, see democracy at risk:
On Wednesday, Mexico's Congress approved a major overhaul of the National Electoral Institute (INE), an independent body which Lopez Obrador has attacked as corrupt and inefficient. The 69-year-old president denies his changes will weaken Mexican democracy. Critics have vowed to take the legislation, which slashes the INE's budget and staff as well as paring back its responsibilities, to the Supreme Court. On Sunday, huge crowds gathered to condemn government moves to shrink the electoral authority as a threat to democracy, in what appeared to be the largest protest so far against President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's administration.
Russia to suspend participation in last remaining nuclear treaty with US:
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual state of the nation address at the Gostiny Dvor conference center in central Moscow. Photo: Dmitry Astakhov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images
On Monday, Russian President Putin gave a speech where he railed against Western nations with his own version of history, claiming that Russia was forced to invade Ukraine to defend itself against Western actions. Putin ended the speech by announcing "I am forced to announce today that Russia is suspending its participation in the strategic offensive arms treaty.” He is referring to the New START treaty, which sought to limit the long-range nuclear weapons programs of the US and Russia. This marks a breakdown in US-Russia and may be in response to Biden’s recent visit to Ukraine. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg called on Putin to reconsider. "With today's decision on New START, the whole arms control architecture has been dismantled," he said.
Packs of condoms at a pharmacy in the western Afghan city of Herat in December. Photograph: Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters
Taliban fighters have stopped the sale of contraceptives in two of Afghanistan’s main cities, claiming their use by women is a western conspiracy to control the Muslim population. The Taliban has been going door to door, threatening midwives and ordering pharmacies to clear their shelves of all birth control medicines and devices. Restricting contraceptives will be a significant blow in a country with an already fragile healthcare system. It is the latest attack on women’s rights by the Taliban who, since coming to power in August 2021, have ended higher education for girls, closed universities to young women, forced women out of their jobs and restricted their ability to leave their homes.