Global News Journal

Panda-mania rocks Taiwan

December 23, 2008

By Ralph Jennings

Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan arrived in a city gripped by panda-mania today. You would think David Beckham or Tom Cruise had just flown into Taipei.

More power-sharing in Africa?

December 22, 2008

Kenya’s power-sharing government was only born after weeks of election violence that killed 1,300 people. Zimbabwe’s power sharing agreement is yet to bear fruit as southern Africa’s former breadbasket crumbles into economic ruin.

from FaithWorld:

Lots of advice for Obama on dealing with Muslims and Islam

December 22, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama has been getting a lot of advice these days on how to deal with Muslims and Islam. He invited it by saying during his campaign that he either wanted to convene a conference with leaders of Muslim countries or deliver a major speech in a Muslim country "to reboot America’s image around the world and also in the Muslim world in particular”. But where? when? why? how? Early this month, I chimed in with a pitch for a speech in Turkey or Indonesia.  Some quite interesting comments have come in since then.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Do Obama’s Afghan plans still make sense post-Mumbai?

December 21, 2008

The United States is aiming to send 20,000 to 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan by the beginning of next summer, according to the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.  The plan is not unexpected, and from a military point of view is meant to allow U.S. and NATO troops not just to clear out Taliban insurgents but also to bring enough stability to allow economic development, as highlighted in this analysis by Reuters Kabul correspondent Jon Hemming.

Hu hiccup gives vent to China power speculation

December 19, 2008

By Benjamin Kang Lim and Simon Rabinovitch

When Chinese President Hu Jintao spoke to the nation this week, an unusual six-second pause may have said more about elite politics in this secretive state than the other 90 minutes of
stolid Communist Party rhetoric. In an address marking 30 years of economic reforms, Hu appeared to lose his place in the middle of a sentence, halting awkwardly for 6.5 seconds — the only such break in his speech and an extremely rare bump for Chinese officials long-practised in flawlessly reading out speeches.

Protesters rule the web in internet backwater Greece

December 18, 2008

      Greek youths long angry with dim
prospects in a society they see as corrupt
and unfair, lashed out last week in the
country’s most violent and destructive riots
in decades.     Sparked by the Dec. 6 police killing of
a 15-year-old, the protests quickly
travelled through Greek communities and
other sympathisers from Moscow to New York, and rang a warning bell for Europe as the
global crisis starts to take its toll.     The Greek youths’ message moved so fast
over the Web and the
international response was so immediate that
it surprised many in a country seen as the
Internet backwater of Europe.     “They seem to have quickly developed an
alternative, electronic news forum, which
has no limits, no taboos,” wrote commentator
Antonis Karakousis in the major daily To
. “We are obviously living in different times.”     Greek youths appeared to reject
traditional media and set up their own ways
to communicate – internet and SMS messages.     Facebook profiles were quickly set up for the killed
teenager, Alexandros Grigoropoulos. The
policeman who shot him has been charged with
murder and ordered jailed pending trial.     Through SMS, students quickly called for
the occupation of university buildings and
gatherings. Sites such as transmitted
their message, mobilised and drew support
for their protests.     “Legal help: what to do if you are
arrested,” is one link on indymedia, while
the site keeps the daily roster of protests
updated to the minute.     “Let’s keep this to our original
reporting, information we collect ourselves
and let’s leave outside what the media
establishment says,” one contributor wrote.     A group of young protesters showed their
contempt for mainstream television by
gathering in the central Monastiraki square
and smashing TV sets. They did not allow
news cameramen to film them.     Another group calmly walked through the
gates of the state television building and
briefly took over the news studio. They came
on the air and silently held up signs
protesting the teenager’s killing and
coverage by the media, which many young
Greeks see as part of the establishment.     “We must not be afraid, we must turn off
our TVs, get out of our homes, continue to
fight, take life into our own hands,” read
pamphlets they handed to employees as they
left the building.     “Young people are shouting ‘No’ to a
miserable present and a dead-end future,”
wrote Yannis Yannarakis in Ta Nea. “And they
are shouting it through the internet.”  

Giving in to Ali Baba

December 18, 2008

I once paid a cop 30 ringgit (about $10 then) for making an apparently illegal left-hand turn in Kuala Lumpur. Scores of drivers in front of me were also handing over their “instant fines”, discreetly enclosed within the policeman’s ticketing folder. It was days ahead of a major holiday and the cops were collecting their holiday bonus from the public.

North Korea’s Kim Jong-il: Proof of life

December 18, 2008

                                                          By Jon Herskovitz

Britain prepares to leave Iraq

December 17, 2008

BASRA – It may not be the end-game Britain was hoping for when it ventured into Iraq, but it’s the end of the game nonetheless.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

And now the Chinese navy in Somali waters…

December 17, 2008

Chinese naval ships may soon be steaming into the Gulf of  Aden to join a growing fleet of international warships fighting  Somali pirates.