Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

from Africa News blog:

South Africa’s unions flex their muscles

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After South Africa’s unions came close to blocking the listing of mobile phone group Vodacom, new President Jacob Zuma may want to keep a closer eye on his left wing allies.

The attempt to sink the $10 billion bourse debut of Vodacom, which went ahead on Monday after an 11th-hour court ruling, hurt the rand currency and revived investor concerns over Zuma.

There was no doubt the bid had undermined Zuma's strenuous efforts before last month's election to assure business and investors that there would be no policy shift towards his left wing allies once he took office.

Lawyers for the government opposed union federation COSATU's attempt to stop the listing in court and made clear the Zuma administration stood by what had been agreed already.

from Africa News blog:

A question of scale

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For days now Britons have been regaled with newspaper stories detailing the dubious expense claims of their Members of Parliament.

The Honourable Members, it seems, have been charging for everything from a few thousand pounds for clearing a moat to a few pence for a new bath plug. An outraged nation has risen almost as one to denounce its greedy lawmakers.

from UK News:

Echoes of Italy’s Clean Hands revolution

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The shockwaves reverberating through Westminster as the MPs' expenses scandal unfolds have been compared with the "Clean Hands" bribery scandal that effectively demolished Italy's post-war political establishment in the space of a couple of years in the early 1990s.

If things are going to get that bad, the guilty politicians are going to have an uncomfortable time.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

After Indian election, relationship with Pakistan back in focus

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After a diplomatic pause enforced by India's lengthy election campaign, the country will soon have a new government after the ruling Congress party won an unexpectedly decisive victory.  But analysts doubt the change of government will bring a significant change of heart in India towards Pakistan.

Despite Pakistan's offensive against the Taliban in the Swat valley, they say India has yet to be convinced the Pakistan Army is ready to crack down more widely on Islamist militants, fearing instead that it will selectively go after some groups, while leaving others like the Afghan Taliban and Kashmir-oriented groups alone.  While Pakistan wants to resume talks broken off by New Delhi after last November's attack on Mumbai, India has said it wants Islamabad to take more action first against those behind the assault, which it blamed on the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.

from MacroScope:

North Korea: New Europe?

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Finance ministers and other executives busy discussing the future of Eastern European transition economies at a European Bank for Reconstruction and Development meeting were reminded of a country far from Europe which needs aid to transform its economy.

South Korea thinks its Stalinist neighbour should receive aid from the London-based lender, set up in 1991 to help former communist countries make the transition to market economies.

When is a coalition not a coalition?

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How can you tell when U.S. forces in Afghanistan are operating alone?

When they call it “the coalition”.

That’s not a joke. It’s just how things work in Afghanistan, where two separate forces with two separate command structures — one completely American, the other about half American — operate side by side under the command of the same U.S. general.

 ”When we say ‘coalition’, basically that means it’s just us,” a helpful U.S. military spokeswoman explained last month to a reporter who had just arrived in country after being away for a couple of  years. “Otherwise, it’s the ‘alliance’.”

Blood-suckers and blood-thirsty revenge: an interview with South Korean director Park Chan-wook

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South Korean director Park Chan-wook talked vampires and the movie industry at an interview with Reuters in Seoul this week as his movie “Thirst” prepares to enter the competition at the Cannes International Film Festival which opens today. Park’s movie “Oldboy” won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2004 and this is his first film in competition since then.

“Thirst” stars Song Kang-ho and Kim Ok-vin  as a priest turned vampire and a femme fatale respectively.

Germans have to live with Nazi past a bit longer

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More than six decades after World War Two and the Holocaust, and just when it is starting to take a more assertive role on the world stage, Germany has been confronted by its Nazi past – again.

Retired U.S. auto worker John Demjanjuk, 89, has been deported to Germany and prosecutors in Munich want to put him on trial for assisting to murder at least 29,000 Jews at the Sobibor extermination camp in 1943. With most Nazi criminals dead, it is likely to be the last big Nazi war crime trial in Germany.

Expenses: They order this matter differently in Sweden

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A scandal about expenses claimed by British members of parliament has damaged the already low standing of British politicians and helped Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labour Party to its worst opinion poll showing since polling began.

The MPs argue that what they are doing is within the rules – correct, but missing the point that it is out of line with public sentiment especially at a time of national belt-tightening.

from Africa News blog:

How will the Zuma team do?

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Thousands of South Africans danced, cheered and sang hymns to celebrate President Jacob Zuma's swearing in. Zuma, they said, as a man of the people, would give them houses and electricity, fight AIDS and crime, and ensure prosperity even as South Africa is on the brink of its first recession in 17 years.

But appointments to key ministries have raised questions over how well the new government will function.

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