Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Zimbabwe sinking fast


From a distance it is always hard to picture just how hard life is in Zimbabwe and to imagine how much worse it can get. For so long we have been writing about economic collapse, inflation statistics beyond comprehension, the fact that at least a quarter of the country has fled to seek work abroad and that life expectancy has tumbled.

Commentators have long spoken of the dangers of a possible ‘meltdown’. The signs of what that might look like have grown stronger this week.

The death toll from the worst cholera epidemic in recent records is near 500 – and possibly double – with shortages of water in Harare and elsewhere and a health system hopelessly ill equipped to cope. Not so long ago, one of the region’s more prosperous countries would probably have been able to prevent an outbreak of cholera and would certainly have been able to treat it.

Unprecedented clashes on Monday between what the army described as “indisciplined” soldiers and Zimbabweans have added to fears the situation could get out of hand. The army understandably said it was worried by the troubles, put down by police. As too many other African countries have found out, angry soldiers can prove a danger to everyone.

Silvio Berlusconi’s self fulfilling prophecy



Would someone please explain to Silvio Berlusconi the
meaning of a “self fulfilling prophecy.”

    Italy’s billionaire prime minister loves to be entertaining
but in recent months his jocular style has got stuck on a story
he just can’t stop repeating which he describes as “what the
English call a self fulfilling prophecy”.

Banana art on the River Nile


    It looked like a perfect picture story, with all the right elements — the Nile, a fountain, 2,000 large inflatable bananas heaped in the shape of a pyramid, all set in a framework of Austrian conceptual art theory. The idea was that when the fountain began to shoot water into the air the bundles of bananas piled up from the base would explode and the bananas would disperse, floating gently down the Nile.

    ”The numerous, individual elements of the floating bananas are not only supposed to change the river’s colour but also, while drifting down the river are expected to develop distinctive dynamics, individually and through mutual interplay,” read the blurb from the Austrian Cultural Forum/Cairo (acf/c), which dreamt up and organised the event.

No mercy for Beirut traffic offender


Lebanon, once a byword for violent anarchy, remains a country where the rule of law is patchy, to put it kindly. But Interior Minister Ziad Baroud, a youthful reform-minded lawyer who was appointed in July as part of a national unity government, is determined to change that, or at least to make a start. He has told the traffic police to do something about the cheerful but sometimes lethal chaos that pervades the roads. 

    Few Lebanese normally bother with seat belts or crash helmets. Speeding with a mobile phone glued to your ear or an infant in your lap comes naturally. Double or triple parking is the norm, lane discipline an alien concept and right of way determined by who gets there first or who drives a bigger vehicle. Scooters fizz everywhere, a law unto themselves.