Global News Journal

Merkel softens up and talks baking, makeup and clothes

August 26, 2009

Between running an election campaign and trying to save European carmaker Opel at the weekend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was baking a currant cake and writing out a shopping list for her husband.

Athenians lament Attica forest destruction

August 24, 2009

Dark smoke covered the Athens sky over the weekend, its thick plumes rising over the Acropolis and rekindling memories of the huge, deadly fires of 2007 that nearly cost Greece’s ruling conservatives their re-election.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Afghanistan, still the new Vietnam ?

August 24, 2009

Try hard as you can, there doesn't seem to be any escaping from comparing America's eight-year war in Afghanistan to the one it fought in Vietnam.

Iraqi faith in future of country blown away in seconds

August 22, 2009

By Aws Qusay and Aseel Kami
Just the other day, a friend was complaining about the Iraqi army checkpoints all over Baghdad. “These checkpoints kill all the fun when I go out on a picnic with my family,” he moaned.
The next day, his wife found herself sitting among bleeding and dying colleagues at the Iraqi foreign ministry after a massive truckbomb devastated the facade of the building and cut down dozens of people in a cloud of shattered glass.

Norwegian memo sparks PR crisis for UN’s Ban Ki-moon

August 21, 2009

Ban Ki-moon isn’t having a good year for public relations. Halfway through a five-year term as U.N. secretary-general, he’s been hit with a wave of negative assessments by the Financial Times, The Economist, London Times, Foreign Policy and other media organizations. In a March 2009 editorial entitled “Whereabouts Unknown,” the Times said Ban was “virtually inaudible” on pressing issues of international security and “ineffectual” on climate change, the one issue that Ban claims he has made the biggest difference on. The Economist gave him a mixed report card, assigning him two out of 10 points for his management skills while praising him on climate change (eight out of 10 points).
    
This week, Norway’s Aftenposten newspaper made an unpleasant situation much worse. It published a confidential memo assessing Ban’s 2-1/2 years in office from Oslo’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Mona Juul, to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry. Juul’s report is scathing — and it comes from a representative of one of the world’s body’s top financial contributors. She says the former South Korean foreign minister suffers from a “lack of charisma” and has “constant temper tantrums” in his offices on the 38th floor of the United Nations building in midtown Manhattan.
    
She describes Ban as a “powerless observer” during the fighting in Sri Lanka earlier this year when thousands of civilians were killed as government forces ended a 25-year civil war against Tamil Tiger rebels, trapping them on a narrow strip of coast in the country’s northeast. In Darfur, Somalia, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Congo, she wrote, Ban’s “passive and not very committed appeals seem to fall on deaf ears.” She says that his recent trip to Myanmar was a failure and that some people in Washington refer to Ban as a “one-term” secretary-general.
    
Juul’s letter could hardly have come at a more inopportune time. Ban is planning to visit Norway in the coming weeks, where he intends to meet with government officials and visit the Arctic circle to see for himself the effects of global warming and the melting polar ice. Now U.N. officials fear reporters will be more interested in what he says about Juul’s memo than climate change.

Read the Lockerbie bombing verdict

August 20, 2009

A former Libyan agent jailed for life for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people flew home on Thursday after Scottish authorities released him on compassionate grounds because he is dying of cancer.

from Africa News blog:

Where will Nigerian bank crisis lead?

August 20, 2009

The list published by Nigeria's central bank of those who owe money to the banks it has just bailed out makes clear that the situation has already gone well beyond just being a banking crisis.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

India, Pakistan : re-opening the wounds of Partition

August 19, 2009

Was it necessary to divide India and Pakistan ? Was Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, really the obdurate Muslim leader who forced Partition along religious lines in 1947 or was he pushed into it by leaders of India's Congress party, especially first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

from Africa News blog:

All change for Nigeria?

August 18, 2009

Nigeria's central bank sliced through the hubris of the business elite with its $2.6 billion bailout out of five banks and the sacking of their heads in what looks as though it could be a new era for corporate governance in Africa’s most populous country.

It’s all the fault of those people who work and save too much

August 17, 2009

One thing we’ve learnt from the crisis is that if something sounds funny it probably is. All that talk about slicing and dicing subprime debt to turn it into triple-A securities was hard to understand at the time and now we know it was just the 21st century equivalent of alchemy.