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.

from India Insight:

India, China leaders move to ease new strains in ties

While Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's meeting with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in Russia captured all the attention,  Singh's talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao may turn out to be just as important in easing off renewed pressure on the complex relationship between the world's rising powers.

India said this month it will bolster its defences on the unsettled China border, deploying up to 50,000 troops and its most latest Su-30 fighter aircraft at a base in the northeast.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

More churning in South Asia : India bolsters defences on China border

Power play in South Asia is always a delicate dance and anything that happens between India and China will likely play itself out across the region, not the least in Pakistan, Beijing's all weather friend.

And things are starting to move on the India-China front. We carried a report this weekabout India's plan to increase troop levels and build more airstrips in the remote state of Arunachal Pradesh, a territory disputed by China.  New Delhi planned to deploy two army divisions, the report quoted Arunachal governor J.J. Singh as saying.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

India, Pakistan and the rise of China

India has been fretting for months that it could be pushed into the background by the United States' economic dependence on China and by the renewed focus on Pakistan by President Barack Obama's administration.  That anxiety appears to have increased lately -- perhaps because the end of the country's lengthy election campaign has opened up space to think more about the external environment -- and is focusing on China.

In an interview with the Hindustan Times, Indian Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major said China posed a greater threat than Pakistan.  “China is a totally different ballgame compared to Pakistan,” he was quoted as saying. “We know very little about the actual capabilities of China, their combat edge or how professional their military is … they are certainly a greater threat.”

Fanfare but little substance at orchestrated EU-China summit

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By Tamora Vidaillet and Darren Ennis

Reporters at a long-awaited summit between the European Union and China in Prague Castle learnt more about the art of stage managing set-piece events than about the state of the EU-China relationship.

The Czech Republic, which holds the EU presidency until the end of next month, pulled out all the stops to ensure security was tight for Wednesday’s fleeting visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and a handful of ministers, who were kept away from journalists by barriers.

Ushered into a stuffy holding room hours before the meeting, journalists were kept from stepping outside even for a smoke for fear of escaping into the sprawling compound of the castle.

ASEAN seeks to create one big village

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ASEAN/ A pink dragon-like alien from outerspace (who for some odd reason is called “Blue”) is driving through space one day when he gets into a traffic accident with some space debris and falls to earth. The creature lands in Southeast Asia (where bizarre traffic accidents are commonplace) in a place called “ASEAN Village”. It is here, waiting for his spaceship to be fixed, where Blue learns about ASEAN and its acheivements over the past 40 years, and its aspiration to become one big happy ASEAN Community.

Environmental activists dressed in orangutan suits at the ASEAN summit in Hua Hin, Thailand, Feb. 28, 2009. REUTERS PHOTO/Adrees Latif

Sex, drugs and toxic shrubs: the best reads of March

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Cubans indulge baseball mania at Havana’s “Hot Corner”

For all the shouting and nose-to-nose confrontations, visitors to Havana’s Parque Central might think they had walked into a brawl or counter-revolution … but here in the park’s Hot Corner,  the topic almost always under discussion is baseball, Cuba’s national obsession.

Iraq’s orphans battle to outgrow abuse

At night, Salah Abbas Hisham wakes up screaming. Sometimes, in the dark, he silently attacks the boy next to him in a tiny Baghdad orphanage where 33 boys sleep on cots or on the floor. Salah, who saw both his parents blown apart in a car bomb, can never be left alone at night.

from Africa News blog:

France and Africa. New relationship?

Before Nicolas Sarkozy was elected president in 2007, he made clear he wanted to break with France’s old way of doing business in Africa – a cosy blend of post-colonial corruption and patronage known as “Françafrique” that suited a fair few African dictators and the French establishment alike.

He has made the same point during his past visits to the continent.

“The old pattern of relations between France and Africa is no longer understood by new generations of Africans, or for that matter by public opinion in France. We need to change the pattern of relations between France and Africa if we want to look at the future together,” Sarkozy said in South Africa early last year.

Chili’s owner Brinker dishes on global expansion

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Brinker International which owns casual dining restaurants Chili’s Grill & Bar, Maggiano’s Little Italy and On the Border brands, says that outside the United States it’s on track to open about 300 outlets over the next five years which would bring it’s total overseas presence to about 500…many of those are already located in the Middle East and Mexico. Even though the company’s international president John Reale concedes there has been a slowdown in sales “they are still up in the high single digits” which is more than they can say in the U.S. where mid-tier chains across the board have seen comparable-store sales turn negative as consumers tighten their budgets. Reale says the biggest challenge for the remainder of 2009 is trying to understand consumer behavior, but he does see a bright spot. Prices for real estate around the world, which had prevented the company from opening in some locations, have come down “30 to 40-percent.” Click here to hear what Brinker International President John Reale had to say:
Reale interview from Reuters TV on Vimeo.

from Africa News blog:

Did Dalai Lama ban make sense?

Organisers have postponed a conference of Nobel peace laureates in South Africa after the government denied a visa to Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who won the prize in 1989 - five years after South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu won his and four years before Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk won theirs for their roles in ending the racist apartheid regime.

Although local media said the visa ban followed pressure from China, an increasingly important investor and trade partner, the government said it had not been influenced by Beijing and that the Dalai Lama's presence was just not in South Africa's best interest at the moment.

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