Foreign Policy magazine has just released its 2009 list of failing states or those at risk of failure and South Asia makes for sobering reading.
Global News Journal
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.
from India Insight:
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.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
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.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
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.
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.
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.
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.
from Africa News blog:
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.
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.