Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

from Africa News blog:

Somalia’s mean sealanes

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somalia_pirates_troops.jpgIt's the stuff for a Hollywood blockbuster to rival Ridley Scott's 2001 thriller "Black Hawk Down": A bunch of 50 Somali pirates in speedboats and heavily armed with grenade launchers clamber aboard a Ukranian ship in the Gulf of Aden. They overwhelm the 20-man crew and take control of the ship and its dubious cargo of 33 battle tanks, supposedly destined for the Kenyan military. Six days later and with US navy ships stalking, a shootout breaks out on board among the pirates, killing three.

The hijacking of the MV Faina is only the most high-profile of what is turning into the biggest scourge of sea piracy in modern times. According to the International Maritime Bureau, presumed Somali pirates have attacked more than 60 ships in the area this year. It's piracy alert website reported on Sept. 26 that four ships had been attacked in the Gulf of Aden within a 48-hour period.

"Intelligence sources revealed that there are now three suspicious vessels in the Gulf of Aden believed to be pirate mother vessels looking to attack ships with the intent to hijack," it said.somalia_pirates_bossasso.jpg

Somali pirates taking advantage of chaos onshore, where an Islamist insurgency has raged for nearly two years, have intensified attacks this year on vessels plying the main water route linking Asia and the Middle East to Europe. Somalia has been a dysfunctional state since 1991. The upsurge in piracy has sent shipping insurance costs soaring tenfold, according to Lloyds List, and prompting shipowners to call for tougher international action. The alternative would be rerouting sea trade through the Cape of Good Hope, adding thousands of miles to the journey.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan names new spy chief: at U.S. behest or own move?

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Pakistan has replaced the head of its powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency, following months of questions from the United States about its reliability in the battle against the Taliban and al Qaeda.  Lieutenant-General Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, formerly head of military operations, will replace Lieutenant-General Nadeem Taj.

File photo of General Ashfaq KayaniThe change was part of a major overhaul of the military leadership by Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani, who also replaced the head of the 10 Corps in Rawalpindi, the most powerful corps in the army.

Long list of enemies in Syria blast

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One of the problems with countries like Syria – secretive and authoritarian – is that whenever a bomb goes off or someone is assassinated, the list of possible suspects is extensive.

Bulldozer removes debris from blast site in front of security complex after explosion in Damascus REUTERS/Khaled Al HaririOne can draw up a long list of enemies who could have plotted and carried out Saturday’s rare car bomb attack on a major road near a Syrian state security complex and an intersection leading to a famous Shi’ite Muslim shrine. The blast, which killed 17 people including a brigadier general and his son, poses another test to Syria’s reputation for keeping a tight grip on dissent and maintaining stability in a troubled area. 

The Party’s Over For Merkel

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Suddenly, the outlook has darkened for Chancellor Angela Merkel, thanks to Bavaria’s conservatives who suffered their worst result in half a century in a state vote on Sunday.

German Chancellor Angela MerkelMerkel is used to riding high in polls and had looked to be cruising to re-election in a year’s time.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan’s Zardari wins mixed reviews with U.S. trip

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President Asif Ali Zardari meets Alaska Governor Sarah Palin/Shannon StapletonDepending on who you read, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari was either an embarrassment for trying to flirt with Sarah Palin during his trip to New York last week, or a street-smart wheeler-dealer bravely standing up to Islamist militancy after the assassination of his wife Benazir Bhutto.

Time revisits the encounter between Zardari and Palin -- in which he told the vice-presidential candidate she was gorgeous and threatened to hug her in a scene now frequently being replayed on YouTube -- writing that it led to Zardari being "pilloried at home as a source of national embarrassment and accused of sexism and impropriety".

Newlook Royal facing oldstyle defeat

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French socialist party member Segolene Royal delivers a speech. Gonzalo Fuentes/ReutersFrench Socialist Segolene Royal has unveiled a chic, dishevelled new look, but the surprise makeover is unlikely to prevent her from suffering a fresh election defeat.

Royal came second in last year’s presidential ballot behind Nicolas Sarkozy. Having lost the chance to run the country, she has now fixed her sights on running her party, with Socialist party members due to elect their new leader in November.

A foreign policy tell-all from Rice?

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condi.jpgNEW YORK -  When her eight years in the Bush administration end on Jan. 20, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice plans to write a book about U.S. foreign policy.

Asked in a Reuters interview on Friday if it would be a tell-all memoir and reveal secret meetings in the build-up to the Iraq war, Rice replied: “Tell-all? What’s a tell-all?”

from FaithWorld:

Should religious groups talk to Iranian president?

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ahmadinejad-waves.jpgA rabbi, a Mennonite and a Zoroastrian priest were having dinner with the president of Iran -- sounds like the start of a joke, but it happened in New York this week.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had dinner with around 200 people of various faiths including Mennonites, Quakers, United Methodists, Jews and Zoroastrians who said they wanted to promote peace by meeting such a prominent foe of the United States.  You can read our story about the meeting here.

Poland to Russia: Please keep the nuke threats to a minimum

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sikorsky1.jpgPolish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski would appreciate it if Russia would stop threatening his country with nuclear annihilation — or at least limit its threats to once a month.

“It is not a friendly thing to do, and we have asked them to do it no more than once a month. But as the Atlantic alliance we have nukes too,” Sikorski told an audience at Columbia University this week.

from Africa News blog:

Motlanthe greeted with relief, but South Africa’s problems are not over

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Kgalema Motlanthe takes the oath of office as South Africa’s president in Cape TownSouth Africans have widely greeted new President Kgalema Motlanthe, many of them with a sense of relief after the bitter and divisive power struggle between his ousted predecessor Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, leader of the ruling African National Congress.

Motlanthe, quiet spoken and dignified, struck exactly the note the public were looking for when he took office, sober but smiling gently - a huge contrast to the theatrical ebullience of Zuma and the aloof, intellectual style of Mbeki, who was seen as arrogant and out of touch with his people.

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