Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
from Tales from the Trail:
About the only thing that has gone right in the Haitian earthquake is the weather.
The dry, warm nights have been kind to the multitudes of homeless, injured and terrified Haitians sleeping out in streets, parks and pavements all over the nation. Not to mention the ever-growing legion of foreign rescuers, aid-workers and journalists who -- like the locals -- fear sleeping indoors because of still-rumbling aftershocks.
Apart from that, it has been a sheer nightmare for millions of Haitians, and for aid-groups wanting to help them, after the worst disaster on record in the Western hemisphere's poorest nation. No one knows the death-toll, and many bodies still lie untouched in the street, but clearly thousands, or tens of thousands, have perished. The Red Cross here estimates 45-50,000 dead, and 3 million injured and homeless.
It could not have happened to a more vulnerable nation.
Battered by storms in recent years, and still suffering from a long history of political turmoil, Haiti has struggled in the past to cope with far lesser disasters. Its government has precious few resources and the collapsed roof of the white presidential palace in downtown Port-au-Prince symbolizes its impotence. And of course many officials and policemen are too busy hunting for friends and relatives of their own, and picking through the rubble of their own homes, to turn their attention to any sort of nationwide rescue effort.
from Tales from the Trail:
Having hurtled by car through the Dominican Republic to the ramshackle Haitian border, I and four other foreign journalists were desperate to reach Port-au-Prince by nightfall. So after exchanging Ramon's beaten-up taxi for the the back of a modern pickup owned by one of Haiti's elite families, our speed stresses were soon put into terrible perspective.
Just a mile or two into Haiti, a group of people stood disconsolately by the road, trying to flag down any vehicle that would stop, and pointing to the collapsed face of a nearby quarry. "There's someone inside there," one of them said, pointing to a pile of rocks.
Controversial U.S. televangelist Pat Robertson said on Wednesday that earth-quake devastated Haiti was cursed because of a past pact that the island's inhabitants had made with the devil. The comments, which have spread like wildfire through the blogosphere and eslewhere on the Internet, were made during a broadcast of his Christian Broadcasting Network.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
It's the start of a year and there is some path-breaking thinking going on in Pakistan as it seeks to get back on track. This article takes on the so-called "military-jihadi nexus" that some blame for pushing a modern nation of 170 million people with a strong middle class to the edge. Dr Manzur Ejaz writing in the Daily Times says this may be the year the military takes on the demons within and goes after each and every militant group including those closely nurtured by it. Not because it has had a change of heart, but because circumstances will force it .
The chief is that the state of Pakistan - where the military enjoys immense privileges - is itself under threat. And it was to safeguard the state, that the military moved against the Taliban and other militant organisations in 2009, not just under U.S. pressure, he argues.
Every five years, the European Parliament gets an opportunity to show its muscle as it quizzes candidates for the next European Commission, the powerful body that enforces EU laws.
But rather than a forensic examination of the 26 nominees – the sort of in-the-spotlight inquisition the U.S. Senate puts presidential appointees through — the European Parliament has a tendency just to go through the motions.
Iran hastened on Monday to deny an Israeli media report that it had suspended uranium enrichment for two months to mollify Western powers mulling more sanctions against Tehran over suspicions it wants the programme to yield atomic bombs.
In the United States, Senate hearings to confirm presidential appointments are a Big News Story, with scores of photographers, TV cameras and journalists cramming into the committee rooms to follow the event live.
The European Union — which has 200 million more people than the United States and is a larger trading bloc — has something similar, with hearings before the European Parliament to confirm nominees to the European Commission, the 27-person body that enforces laws across the EU.
from Africa News blog:
So Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua has ended weeks of silence with comments on the BBC that he is getting better and hopes to be back home soon.
That at least appears to have answered speculation in local media that he could be brain damaged, in a coma or even dead.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
A nearly 24-hour gunbattle this week between militants and Indian security forces in the centre of Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, is a powerful reminder of the tensions in the region at the heart of enmity between India and Pakistan. Two people were killed along with the two militants - one of whom was described by police as a Pakistani - in the biggest attack in Srinagar in two years. Hundreds of people, who had become accustomed to relative calm after years of separatist violence, had to be rescued from nearby buildings.
The attack itself might or might not turn out to be an isolated incident. But what is troubling is that it took place within the context of a deterioration in relations between India and Pakistan.