Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

from Africa News blog:

African poverty falling faster than thought?

NIGERIA/The old image of an Africa doomed to get ever poorer has certainly lost credence over the past decade even if it is a view still held by some.

Well, according to a new study, Africans are getting wealthier more quickly than previously believed and the poorest continent's riches are also spreading beyond the narrow confines of its elite.

"Africa is reducing poverty, and doing it much faster than we thought," the study by U.S.-based economists Xavier Sala-i-Martin and Maxim Pinkovskiy said.

"The growth from the period 1995-2006, far from benefiting only the elites, has been sufficiently widely spread that both total African inequality and African within-country inequality actually declined over this period."

Europe draws inspiration from U.S. Peace Corps

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Carla Bruni, wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, talks to a Haitian orphan

Carla Bruni, wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, talks to a Haitian orphan

Much criticism has been heaped on the European Union — the vast majority of it by its own member states — for not being seen to do enough to help Haiti after the Caribbean state’s earthquake. 

Never mind the fact EU states and the European Commission have promised a combined 400 million euros  ($575 million) in aid and long-term reconstruction. In public relations terms, the sums have all but been eclipsed by images, beamed around the world, of  volunteer U.S. firemen pulling victims from the rubble, and emergency aid workers from the likes of Israel and Brazil running much-needed field hospitals.

Haiti and “the bad dream of newspaper headlines”

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By Tom Brown

MIAMI – Since my return from Haiti, many have asked me what it was like that first week after its devastating earthquake. Here are but a few impressions:

    
ANGER
What were the 9,000 United Nations police and troops already stationed in Haiti supposed to be doing there in the immediate aftermath of the quake? It flattened the headquarters of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti, known by the acronym MINUSTAH and killed dozens of U.N. employees, including the mission chief, Hedi Annabi.

Will EU ever move on from “soft touch” diplomacy?

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Miguel Angel Moratinos (centre)

Miguel Angel Moratinos (centre)

Spain’s Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos recalled this week that it had been said of the previous U.S. administration that what American diplomacy needed was “regime change”. Europeans, meanwhile, he said, simply needed “a regime”.

America got its regime change with President Barack Obama, Moratinos explained this week, while Europeans got a new regime with the Lisbon treaty, a document that is supposed to help bolster the EU on the world stage and creates a more powerful foreign policy chief for the bloc.

from Africa News blog:

The unnumbered dead

CONGO-DEMOCRATICThe simple answer to the question of how many people died in Congo’s civil war is “too many”.

Trying to get a realistic figure is fraught with difficulties and a new report suggests that a widely used estimate of 5.4 million dead – potentially making Congo the deadliest conflict since World War Two - is hugely inaccurate and that the loss of life may be less than half that.

EU catches up in race to help Haiti

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OUKTP-UK-QUAKE-HAITI-UNIn the six days since a powerful earthquake struck Haiti, the world has responded with vast amounts of aid and promises of long-term reconstruction, something the Caribbean country’s creaking infrastructure desperately needs.

The World Bank and the United States pledged $100 million each, the United Nations promised $10 million and announced a “flash” appeal for $500 million more, and dozens of companies including Google, Microsoft and Bank of America committed $1 million a piece. Hollywood stars, rap singers and tennis champions all immediately raised money themselves or lent their support to encourage donations to the relief effort.

YOUR TURN TO ASK: Karel De Gucht, EU humanitarian aid chief

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** This post is from Alertnet, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global  humanitarian news Web site.**

Earthquakes, floods, the global recession and recurrent famines have been keeping aid professionals across the world as busy as ever. Such crises hit poor countries the hardest, focusing increasing attention on preventing and preparing for disasters rather than dealing with their devastating aftermath.

from Africa News blog:

Should West back Zimbabwe’s government?

The United Nations has joined Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government in appealing for more than $700 million in humanitarian aid for the ruined country.

But while Western countries may show willing when it comes to emergency aid, they are still reluctant to give money to the government between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, his old rival.

from Africa News blog:

Time to stop aid for Africa? An argument against

Earlier this month, Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo argued that Africa needs Western countries to cut long term aid that has brought dependency, distorted economies and fuelled bureaucracy and corruption. The comments on the blog posting suggested that many readers agreed. In a response, Savio Carvalho, Uganda country director for aid agency Oxfam GB, says that aid can help the continent escape poverty - if done in the right way:

In early January, I travelled to war-ravaged northern Uganda to a dusty village in Pobura and Kal parish in Kitgum District. We were there to see the completion of a 16km dirt road constructed by the community with support from Oxfam under an EU-funded programme.

from Africa News blog:

Hu reassures Africa?

If anyone in Africa was worried that the global financial crisis might dim China’s interest in the continent, President Hu Jintao will be visiting this week to give some reassurances - as well as possibly to temper any unrealistic hopes for the amount of assistance to be expected.

As Chris Buckley reported from Beijing, this visit is also about China showing the wider world that it is a responsible power.

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