Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Parte il rush finale: dal Veltrusconi all’Ok Corral

La giornata elettorale è sintetizzata da una vignetta e da
un’intervista. Nella prima, di Vincino, sul Corriere della Sera Pirlo (che ha sbagliato a fine partita il rigore per evitare la sconfitta ieri al Milan con l’Atalanta) abbraccia Berlusconi, entrambi in lacrime e il titolo parla del “Milan vecchio e
stanco di Pirlo e Berlusconi”. Nella seconda, sulla Stampa, Pier Luigi Bersani invita il Pd a un “colpo di reni”. C’è aria di
stanchezza, in giro.

Non è un caso che lo slogan che sta mettendo un po’ di pepe sulla campagna elettorale, rilanciato da Newsweek, sia vecchio di mesi. Quel “Veltrusconi” (come si può leggere nell’articolo di Paolo Biondi su Reuters) irridente a mo’ di sfottò che il settimanale americano ha fatto diventare un titolo programmatico
per dare un nome a quella che considera una inevitabile e
necessaria grande coalizione, altro non è che il nome che nel
novembre scorso era stato dato al possibile accordo in
Parlamento attorno a una riforma elettorale.

Secondo il Corriere della sera, il copyright del nome è
incerto e si perde nelle calure estive dello scorso agosto
quando (pare) fece capolino in un graffito sul muro di una
scuola romana.

Il Veltrusconi di novembre sfiorì però in pochi giorni. E’
rimasto in filigrana nel dibattito politico soprattutto nel
linguaggio dei partiti minori, esclusi dalle due coalizioni
maggiori, come denuncia del “grande inciucio”.

Italy’s hybrid candidate: “Veltrusconi”


Silvio Berlusconi in recent campaign shotThe Italian media thought they coined the term “Veltrusconi” for the possibility of a post-electoral deal between twice prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and his centre-left rival, Walter Veltroni, late last year when they began brief discussions about electoral reform, but the word is reported as appearing as red-painted graffiti on a school in Rome as long ago as July 2007, along with the words: “the two-headed monster”. But even though the word has been bandied about liberally in the media ever since, both candidates for April 13-14′s vote were horrified to see their faces physically merge in a disconcerting photo-montage on the front cover of Newsweek.

“It’s horrible,” Veltroni told reporters in response to the hybrid created by Newsweek for a cover story titled “The Mayor V. The Mogul”. It shows the faces of the permanently tanned 71-year-old media tycoon Berlusconi and his bespectacled, bookish 52-year-old rival blending together to the backdrop of Rome’s Colosseum.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan, India and America

India and Pakistan turn into good friends, and America is kept at arms' length. Is that possible?

Diplomacy like politics is the art of the possible, and if you listen to the new voices emerging from Pakistan, there is change blowing in the wind as it makes the transition to civilian rule after nearly nine years of military leadership.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Americans start asking about Predators in Pakistan

A story in the Washington Post "U.S. Steps Up Unilateral Strikes in Pakistan has attracted attention worldwide. It says the United States has escalated its unilateral strikes against al-Qaeda members and fighters operating in Pakistan's tribal areas, partly because of anxieties that Pakistan's new leaders will insist on scaling back military operations there. 

File photo of Predator drone"Over the past two months, U.S.-controlled Predator aircraft are known to have struck at least three sites used by al-Qaeda operatives," it says. "The moves followed a tacit understanding with (President Pervez) Musharraf and Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani that allows U.S. strikes on foreign fighters operating in Pakistan, but not against the Pakistani Taliban."

from Africa News blog:

Sudanese troops in Comoros

comoros_commandos_new.jpgSome 500 Sudanese soldiers were among a special African Union force that backed the Comoros government in its lightning operation to retake control of its rebel island of Anjouan. About 1,350 AU troops from Tanzania and Sudan arrived in the Indian Ocean Island archipelago on March 24, the eve of the operation by Comoran government commandos. The government said it seized full control of Anjouan after a seaborne assault backed by the AU. The operation was intended to topple Anjouan's local leader, French-trained former gendarme Mohamed Bacar who clung to power in an illegal election last year and commaded a militia of several hundreds.

The Sudanese government has been internationally comdemned for alleged atrocities by its forces and pro-government militia in its western Darfur Province where an estimated 200,000 have died and 2.5 million forced to flee their homes since 2003. And given Sudan's resistance to the deployment of an international force to protect the mostly non-Arab population of Darfur, what is your view on the inclusion of Sudanese soldiers in the AU force sent to Comoros? Have your say.

from Africa News blog:

Decision time for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe President Robert MugabeZimbabweans queued before dawn to vote in the most crucial election since independence in 1980, many of them desperate to end the misery of economic collapse under veteran President Robert Mugabe. Zimbabweans are suffering from the world's highest inflation of over 100,000 percent a year and shortages of everything from food to fuel. 

The 84-year-old Mugabe faced a strong challenge from his former finance minister Simba Makoni, who stood as an independent candidate, and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change. Do you think the prolonged economic crisis was a critical factor in how Zimbabweans voted, or would Mugabe's power and influence ensure he hangs on at the helm? Have your say.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

What would Russian Afghan help mean for Pakistan?

With NATO saying it is nearing a deal to use Russian land and airspace to supply its security forces in Afghanistan, I've been trying to  work out what this could mean for Pakistan.

In the Asia Times Online, former Indian diplomat M K Bhadrakumar quotes U.S. military spokesmen as saying that about three quarters of all supplies are currently sent to Afghanistan via Pakistan. "On the face of it, Washington should jump at the Russian offer of support to the NATO mission in Afghanistan," he writes. "Pakistan has proved to be an unreliable partner in the 'war on terror'. The growing political uncertainties in Pakistan put question marks on the wisdom of the US continuing to depend so heavily on Pakistan for ferrying supplies for its troops in Afghanistan."

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

The moving story of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the CIA

I just came across a feature on headlined Killing ourselves in Afghanistan which I'd recommend to anyone interested in U.S. policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Writer MatthewCole has collected evidence which he says shows that some of the $10 billion given in U.S. aid to Pakistan since 9/11 has been used to fund Taliban militants killing American and other troops in Afghanistan. "In part because of Pakistani help, the Taliban have made a steady comeback and American and Afghan casualties are at their highest annual levels since the war began," he writes. "Islamabad has denied complicity and Washington has maintained official silence, but the double-dealing is not surprising. It's just the continuation of the Pakistani government's former alliance with the Taliban, which was itself an outgrowth of a decades-old Pakistani policy of trying to exert control over the internal affairs of its chaotic neighbor."

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan’s new coalition, a brief triumph?

Benjamin Disraeli, one of Britain's foremost prime ministers of the 19th century, once said that, "Coalitions, though sucessful, have always found this, that their triumph has been brief."

News that Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari have agreed on a coalition government raised the same issue.Will theirs be a brief triumph, or the start of a sea change in Pakistani politics?

from Russia 2012:

Dmitry Medvedev wins Matryoshka immortality

Matryoshka dolls/Sergei KarpukhinIt has been less than a week since Dmitry Medvedev was elected Russian president and he already has the ultimate kitsch accolade: his own matryoshka doll. These are painted wooden figures hollowed out inside to contain a smaller doll, which in turn has an even smaller figure inside, and so on until the penultimate figure opens up to reveal the last tiny doll, usually the size of a fingernail.

The dolls are a Russian folk tradition and a favourite tourist souvenir. Outgoing President Vladimir Putin has long had his own matryoshka. Now his protege does too, selling for 350 roubles ($15) at Izmailovsky market, a vast open-air maze of stalls that sells tourist trinkets.