Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Financial crisis: What you see depends on where you stand

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lehman.jpgDepending on where you stand, the financial crisis has been catastrophic or brought a much needed shake out in the financial sector; it has been disastrous for home owners or proved the folly of lending to people with poor credit histories; it has rightly rolled back the clock on naked capitalism or undermined a system that, in essence, functions perfectly well; it has punished bankers’ hubris or thrown many talented individuals out of work.

What you see depends on where you stand.

According to Italy’s economy minister,  Giulio Tremonti, the current economic crisis was the inevitable consequence of policies championed by former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan.

“The mastery turned out to be madness. Alan Greenspan was considered a master. Now it should be asked whether, after Bin Laden, is it not he who has done the most harm to America?”, Tremonti was quoted as saying in an interview with Corriere della Sera newspaper this week.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal in April, Greenspan hit back at his detractors. “I was praised for things I didn’t do,” he said. “I am now being blamed for things that I didn’t do.”

Israel: The victory party that wasn’t

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livni2.jpgHundreds of supporters and reporters waited for hours overnight at a banner-festooned hangar-like building in
Tel Aviv for a victory speech that never materialised from the ruling Kadima party’s newly elected leader, Tzipi Livni.

There was a lot for the party faithful to celebrate, a new Israeli leader, and the first woman to potentially become the country’s prime minister since Golda Meir in the 1970′s.

Is Mbeki’s time up?

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Thabo Mbeki, president of South Africa, speaks during a news conference at United Nations headquarters in New York

South African President Thabo Mbeki did not get to bask long in the success of securing Zimbabwe’s power-sharing deal before finding himself in the firing line again at home.

Now his most strident foes - who can be found within his ruling African National Congress – say he should be pushed from office after a judge made clear he saw political interference in the corruption trial against ANC leader and longstanding Mbeki rival Jacob Zuma.

from Africa News blog:

Niger Delta: a widening war?

niger_delta_militants2.jpgRebels fighting for greater control of Nigeria's oil wealth have raised the stakes in their campaing of bombings and kidnappings by threatening to extend attacks to offshore oil installations. Nigeria's most prominent militant group earlier announced the launch of an "oil war" against oil companies and security forces in the restive Niger Delta. The four-days of fighting since the announcement have been the heaviest since the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta began its campaign of violence against the oil sector in early 2006. International oil markets, depressed in recent days by the impact of the credit crisis on the global economy, finally began taking notice of the escalating violence in Nigeria's oil-producing region on Wednesday.

Security sources say more than 100 people may have been killed by the fighting, which has spread to at least seven villages in Rivers state.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Should the Afghans be talking to the Taliban?

Afghan President Hamid Karzai used a Sept 11 address last year to appeal to the Taliban to come for talks and end bloodshed in the war-torn nation.

The Taliban responded with even more attacks, turning 2008 into the bloodiest year yet since the U.S. led invasion seven years ago, and understandably Karzai who survived an assassination attempt this year has gone quiet on the talks offer.

Iraq’s hot summer adds to challenge of Ramadan fast

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When I was nine years old, I began fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. It is a religious duty I love to carry out each year, to experience the sense of unity with Muslims who don’t eat or drink from dawn until sunset.

Women carry water supplies in Baghdad/Kareem RaheemBut this year the chronic shortages of electricity and water supplies that plague the Iraqi capital Baghdad — combined with Ramadan falling during a very hot summer — has forced many to abandon the fast at times.

from Africa News blog:

How quickly can Zimbabweans expect economic change?

zimbabwe_talks_handshake.jpgFor Zimbabwe's long-suffering people, the true meaning of the signing of a power-sharing agreement between President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the opposition MDC would be how quickly it leads to an improvement in their daily lives. An economic crisis that began in 1998 has turned the once prosperous Southern African country into a basket case economy with the world's highest inflation at over 11 million percent. Millions of Zimbabwean's who have fled across the borders to escape unemployment and severe shortages are waiting to see if the political deal will result in economic rebound paving the way for their return.

The agreement negotiated by South African President Thabo Mbeki provides for the sharing of power between veteran President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Tsvangirai takes on the new role of Prime Minister with extensive powers, with Mugabe's 28-year hold on power significantly eroded.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Facing up to “the war in Pakistan”

Masked pro-Taliban Pakistani militantsThere has been much hesitation in the world's media about how to label U.S. military action inside Pakistan's borders, including a reported ground raid and a series of missile strikes. Do you call it an "invasion"? Or use the more innocuous-sounding "intervention"? In an editorial, the Washington Post gives it a name which is rather striking in its directness. It calls it quite simply, The War in Pakistan.

President George W. Bush's reported decision in July to step up attacks by U.S. forces in Pakistan's tribal areas, the newspaper says, was both necessary and long overdue. It acknowledges there is a risk the strikes might prompt a breach between the U.S. and Pakistani armies, or destabilize the new civilian government in Pakistan. But, it says, "no risk to Pakistan's political system or its U.S. relations is greater than that of a second 9/11 staged from the tribal territories. U.S. missile and commando attacks must be backed by the best intelligence and must minimize civilian casualties. But they must continue."

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Nudging India and Pakistan towards peace

Barricade of burning tyres in Srinagar/Fayaz KabliOne of the more recurrent themes in U.S. political punditry these days is the need to nudge India and Pakistan towards peace. The theory is that this would bolster the new civilian government in Islamabad by encouraging trade and economic development, reduce a rivalry that threatens regional stability, including in Afghanistan, and limit the role of the Pakistan Army, whose traditional dominance has been fuelled by a perceived threat from India.

So what are the chances of progress? (assuming the latest bombings just being reported in Delhi do not trigger a new downwards spiral)

What chance for Zimbabwe’s deal?

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President Robert MugabeThere have been so many swings from optimism to pessimism and back again, that Zimbabweans might find it hard to believe there finally appears to be a power-sharing deal after two months of talks.

According to both sides, President Robert Mugabe has agreed to share power with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai after 28 years of rule that concentrated power in his own hands.

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