Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Best reads of February

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Exotic animals trapped in net of Mexican drug trade - From the live snakes that smugglers stuff with packets of cocaine to the white tigers drug lords keep as exotic pets, rare animals are being increasingly sucked into Mexico’s deadly narcotics trade.

End of an era for the Amazon’s turbulent priests - They avoid taking buses, make sure friends know their schedules, and rarely go out when it’s dark. For the three foreign-born Roman Catholic bishops under death threat in Brazil’s northeastern state of Para, speaking out against social ills that plague this often-lawless area at the Amazon River’s mouth has come at a price.

West risks repeating Soviet mistakes in Afghanistan - The foreign warplanes swooped in just as the Afghan village of Ali Mardan was celebrating a wedding. Bombs slammed into the crowded village square, killing 30 men, women and children. After the smoke cleared and the dead were buried, all the able-bodied men left alive took up arms against the invaders. That was 1982…

Drought starts to bite in northern Kenya - Clouds of dust rising above the harsh scrub herald the arrival of more livestock at a borehole in northeastern Kenya, the end for some of a 45 km (28 mile) trek for water that must be repeated every few days. Drought is starting to bite into east Africa’s biggest economy and the government says 10 million people may face hunger and starvation.

Giving in to Ali Baba

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I once paid a cop 30 ringgit (about $10 then) for making an apparently illegal left-hand turn in Kuala Lumpur. Scores of drivers in front of me were also handing over their “instant fines”, discreetly enclosed within the policeman’s ticketing folder. It was days ahead of a major holiday and the cops were collecting their holiday bonus from the public.

Malaysia opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim holds a disc he says contains evidence of judge-fixing in Malaysia 

“Frauenpower” at Siemens: another crack in the glass ceiling?

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Siemens’ announcement this week that it has appointed a woman to its management board has generated a loud hullabaloo in the media, with newspapers trumpeting “the womanless age at Siemens is over” and “Barbara Kux, the strong woman at Siemens.”

But how was the news of a woman’s appointment to a senior executive position deserving of a celebratory press release and the ensuing excitement? Surely in an era of equal opportunities in developed countries, such news should be commonplace.

Nigeria: Will someone turn on the lights?

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Returning to Nigeria for the first time in five years, nothing is more striking than the mobile phones ringing wherever you go.

 

The phone signal barely drops on a drive some five hours out of Abuja, through countryside where the only people visible are hoeing the red earth and balancing unwieldy stems of sugar cane on bicycles. A growing number of village households now have phones.

Is Africa run better than before?

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“People look at headlines from two or three countries and forget there are 55 countries in Africa and in most of them life is normal.”

That is what Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese-born telecoms entrepreneur and one of Africa’s best known business leaders, told Reuters at the launch of the 2008 Index of African Governance by his foundation.

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