Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Trekking through the mountains to Congo’s “De Gaulle”

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Emmanuel Braun was named as Reuters Video Journalist of the Year this month for his coverage of Africa.

The call takes me by surprise. It is our contact at the CNDP, the rebel movement in eastern Congo, telling us its leader Laurent Nkunda has agreed to meet us in his stronghold in the Masisi Mountains.

It would normally be a three-hour drive from our base in Goma to the region. But the government has banned journalists from using the main road to its enemy so we are forced to take muddy mountain paths. What follows is a 27-hour ordeal by car, motorbike and foot.

 

Our problems start as we approach the Rutshuru mountain area, a beautiful volcanic landscape. Our heavy 4×4 car is designed for deserts and is sliding toward the chasm below us. We get out and push it out of the mud. Night is falling. Some CNDP political advisors show up but are vague on how far we are from Nkunda’s headquarters. ”Twenty minutes,” says one of them. Pushed, he ups his estimate to 15 hours, maybe.

Another shock announcement from Argentina’s leader

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Argentina’s economy is slowing dramatically after seven booming years, but people here still haven’t felt much pain. The government has announced stimulus measures to buffer against the global crisis, fudged some economic statistics and persuaded carmakers and steelmakers to hold on to employees part time rather than lay them off. The effect of the crisis here has been so delayed that it was becoming easy to believe Argentine might be immune.

But Argentine President Cristina Fernandez made it startingly clear on Friday that the impact is coming and it’s going to hurt. In a surprise announcement she said she was seeking to get election rules changed so mid-term elections — to renew half of the lower house and a third of the Senate — can be held in June instead of October.  She said this was so politicians can quickly wrap up campaigns and all get together to concentrate on healing the economy.

from MacroScope:

Stealing Steinbrueck’s show?

Peer Steinbrueck, the front man in Germany's fight against the financial crisis, has a new challenge on his hands: Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. The young economy minister, in the job for only a month, is already proving to be a thorn in Finance Minister Steinbrueck's side. The telegenic 37-year-old is coming up with policy initiatives that challenge Steinbrueck's plans, and draw media attention away from him.

This is new territory for Steinbrueck. Until last month, he was able to capitalise on the low profile of former economy minister Michael Glos to make himself Germany's primary spokesman on matters financial and economic -- and the man Chancellor Angela Merkel turned to for leadership on these issues. Glos's shock resignation last month opened the way for Guttenberg to make the step up from Bavarian politics to the national stage, and he hasn't looked back.

from Africa News blog:

Madagascar: How bad can it get?

How bad can things get in Madagascar? Dissident soldiers said they had deployed tanks in the capital on Friday and the president urged the population to repel the mutineers.

In a worst case scenario, tanks in Antananarivo could lead to battles between the police and the presidential guard -- who remain loyal to President Marc Ravalomanana -- against mutinous troops and members of the military police.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan’s general and the warring politicians

Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani is much talked about these days as the one national figure who could lean on Pakistan's warring politicians to back down from a confrontation threatening the stability of the country. The question is over how he would intervene while maintaining a commitment to keep the army out of politics.

Most analysts have ruled out a coup for now and in an interview with PBS Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he believed Kayani was committed to a civilian government.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan’s “long march” in the streets and on the Internet

Pakistani authorities banned public protests and detained hundreds of lawyers and opposition workers nationwide to prevent them from launching Thursday's planned "long march" towards the capital Islamabad to force President Asif Ali Zardari to reinstate a former Supreme Court judge.

Many went into hiding according to these reports, vowing to press on with the cross-country motor convoy that will set off from cities in Baluchistan and Sind and then Puinjab on Friday before culminating outside the parliament building in the capital.

from Africa News blog:

Sign of change in Zimbabwe?

President Robert Mugabe joined the mourning for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's wife on Tuesday and called on Zimbabweans to end violence and support his old rival to help rebuild the country.

The death of Susan Tsvangirai in a road crash in which her husband was also injured has, at least on the surface, brought about a show of unity between Zimbabwe’s bitterest foes that might never have looked possible.

Will Russians take to the streets?

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“God preserve us from the Russian Uprising, senseless and merciless.”

The line from poet Alexander Pushkin was quoted to me often by Russians in the dark days of the early 1990s when the Motherland had fallen from grace, communism was collapsing and millions were pitched into unemployment and poverty. Romantic souls, bleary-eyed, would tell me how Russians were born to suffer: to suffer the piercing winter frosts of a vast land, the predations of war and invasion, the shortages, the harshness of their masters. The Russian would suffer patiently, silently; that is, until he could take no more.

from MacroScope:

Capitalism, Brazilian-style

Brazil's president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva lays out his views  today on how the world will work in the future. It's part of a Financial Times blog on the outlook for capitalism:

 

 

 

"It will reward production and not speculation. The function of the financial sector will be to stimulate productive activity.... International trade will be free of the protectionism that shows dangerous signs of intensifying. The reformed multilateral organisations will operate programmes to support poor and emerging economies with the aim of reducing the imbalances that scar the world today. There will be a new and democratic system of global governance. New energy policies, reform of systems of production and of patterns of consumption will ensure the survival of a planet threatened today by global warming. But, above all, I hope for a world free of the economic dogmas that invaded the thinking of many and were presented as absolute truths."

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan: has it reached the edge of the precipice?

Maybe this always happens at times of national upheaval. But there is a surprising disconnect between the immediacy of the crisis facing Pakistan as expressed by Pakistani bloggers and the more slow-moving debate taking place in the outside world over the right strategy to adopt towards both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Reading Pakistani blogs since confrontation between the country's two main political parties exploded and comparing them to international commentaries is a bit like watching men shout that their house is on fire, and then panning over to the fire station where the folks in charge are debating which type of water hose works best.

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