Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

from MacroScope:

Why the BRICS like Africa

There is little doubt that the BRICs -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- have become big players in Africa. According to Standard Bank of South Africa, BRIC trade with the continent has snowballed from just $16 billion in 2000 to $157 billion last year. That is a 33 percent compounded annual growth rate.

What is behind this? At one level, the BRICs, as they grow, are clearly recognising commercial and strategic opportunities in Africa. But Standard Bank reckons other, more individual, drivers are also at play.

In a new report, the bank looks at what each of the individual BRIC countries is trying to do. To whit:

-- Brazil's immediate intererest in Africa is securing access to natural resources, particularly oil. But is also motivated by a desire to create a new "Southern Axis" with itself at the forefront.

What do we know about Kim Jong-il and North Korea?

Photo

Former U.S. defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s attempts to be philosophical about ‘known unknowns’ and ‘unknown unknowns’ gave him a reputation for slipperiness and cant. The phrases uttered in 2002 to explain the military’s failure to improve security in Afghanistan have passed into folklore, alongside such gems as ’stuff happens,’ which was his explanation for the looting that followed the toppling of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003.

The ‘known unknown’ concept is a more useful tool in journalism than you would think from the derision heaped on Rumsfeld by reporters. As journalists we spend our time uncovering facts, reporting data, breaking news and offering insights into the meaning of events. We rarely stop to contemplate what we do not know, what we cannot know and what impact that ignorance has in shaping perceptions.

from Africa News blog:

Overdose of trouble in West Africa

That political stability is vital for investment and development goes without saying, but it seems as though too much instability can be bad for criminal enterprises too.

The cocaine cartels that used West Africa, and Guinea-Bissau in particular, as a conduit to Europe were long accused of worsening the chaos in one of the region’s poorest and most troubled states by buying off some factions of the security forces and political leaders.

from Africa News blog:

Will Niger Delta amnesty work?

Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua has laid out the details of a 60-day amnesty programme for militants and criminals in the Niger Delta. Under the deal, all gunmen who lay down their weapons during a 60-day period ending in October will be immune from prosecution. The offer extends to those currently being prosecuted for militant-related activities, meaning Henry Okah – the suspected leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) – could also walk free if he agrees to renounce the notion of armed struggle.

Several factional leaders – including Ateke Tom, Farah Dagogo, Soboma George and Boyloaf – have said they accept the idea of amnesty in principle but want talks with President Yar’Adua to hammer out the details.

Argentine election showdown: negative campaigns

Photo

Argentine electoral campaigns don’t go negative. They start negative and steadily crank up the intensity until the end.

This Sunday’s election showdown is a close race between ex-President Nestor Kirchner, running for Congress to bolster the faltering presidency of his wife Cristina Fernandez, and millionaire Francisco de Narvaez. They are both from different wings of the Peronist party and De Narvaez claims to want to make Argentina into a “normal” country that does business with the world instead of isolating itself and befriending extremists.

Is Germany at ‘war’ in Afghanistan? Defence Minister says ‘no’

Photo

Germany’s defence minister gets his tongue in a twist every time he tries to explain why the German army is not in a “war” in Afghanistan, even though more and more German soldiers are coming home in coffins.

“If we were to speak of ‘war’ then we would only be focusing on the military aspect in the region and that would be a mistake,” Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung said after three more German soldiers were killed on Tuesday, raising the total to 35.

Capitalism’s “chickens come home to roost” at the UN

Photo

Representatives of the world’s poorest countries joined other U.N. member states in New York this week at a three-day meeting of the U.N. General Assembly on the global financial crisis and its impact on the developing world.

Many delegates from “the South” blasted capitalism and the wealthy Western powers for the crisis. For once they could say they did not cause it though they are the biggest victims. Cuban Trade Minister Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz told the delegations — roughly three quarters of the General Assembly’s 192 member states are participating — that retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro had foreseen the current crisis nearly three decades go.

from The Great Debate UK:

From afar, G8 seeks a handle on Afghanistan

Luke Baker- Luke Baker is a political and general news correspondent at Reuters. -

The mountains and deserts of southern Afghanistan are far removed from the elegant charms of Trieste in northern Italy, but there will be a link between the two this weekend.

Foreign ministers from the Group of Eight nations meet in the Italian city on the Adriatic on Thursday for three days of talks, with the state of play in Afghanistan, as well as developments in Iran and the Middle East, front and centre of their agenda.

Latest headlines from Iran

A reminder that in addition to our Iran full coverage page on Reuters.com, we’re posting links to our stories on the Twitter account Reuters_Iran and in the live headline box below. We’re also selectively re-publishing tweets from trusted sources in Iran and other media.

Note: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on their ability to report, film or take pictures in Tehran.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan’s military operation in Waziristan

In a world used to watching war played out on television, and more recently to following protests in Iran via Twitter and YouTube, the Pakistan Army's impending military offensive in South Waziristan on the Afghan border is probably not getting the attention it deserves -- not least but because the operation is shrouded in secrecy.

Yet the offensive has the potential to be a turning point in the battle against the Taliban which began with the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Many Taliban and their al Qaeda allies fled Afghanistan to Pakistan's tribal areas after the U.S. invasion -- the CIA said this month it believed Osama bin Laden was still hiding in Pakistan. The offensive in South Waziristan, designed to target Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, would if successful deprive the Taliban and al Qaeda of what has been until now one of their safest boltholes.

  •