Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

from Africa News blog:

France and Africa. New relationship?

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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.

This week he is back in Africa for a visit on which France’s business interests play a very prominent role.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sarkozy called on the country to work with former foes Rwanda and Uganda in a partnership based on exploiting the region’s natural riches.

from Africa News blog:

Did Dalai Lama ban make sense?

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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.

from Tales from the Trail:

Clinton goes on charm offensive with French

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clinton-kouchnerWASHINGTON - Hillary Clinton went on a charm offensive with France's foreign minister on Thursday, fondly recalling many trips to Paris and heaping praise on the country's education system as a model for America.
 
Clinton has played up the Transatlantic relationship this week, choosing to meet first with the foreign ministers of Britain, Germany and France in her second week as new U.S. secretary of state.
 
"I have been to France many times and I always have a good impression. I enjoy visiting in France," the former first lady and New York senator said at a joint news conference with France's Bernard Kouchner at the State Department.
 
She recalled meeting Kouchner's wife "longer ago than Christine or I care to admit" and said she was impressed by the country's preschool facilities, prompting her to return home to try and get the United States to follow France's example.
 
"I not only have enjoyed my time in France but I have learned a lot from my visits. I look forward to returning," she added. "As soon as possible," gushed Kouchner, beaming at her side.
 
The Bush administration had a prickly relationship with France at the time of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, to the extent that in congressional cafeteria the words "French fries" were changed to "Freedom fries" on menus.
 For more Reuters political news, click here

Photo Credit: Reuters/Hyungwon Kang (Clinton, Kouchner speak at the State Department)

Talking about talking to Hamas

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Should Israel and/or its allies talk to men like these, the Palestinian Islamists of Hamas, who run the Gaza Strip?

That’s a question that has been revived this week following the end of Israel’s 22-day war in Gaza, which left Hamas rule apparently intact and 1.5 million people in desperate need, and the arrival in the White House of President Barack Obama, who has indicated he might be willing to talk to people his predecessor George W. Bush had shunned.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

India – aiming for diplomatic encirclement of Pakistan?

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India is piling on the diplomatic pressure to convince the international community to lean on Pakistan to crack down on Islamist militants blamed by New Delhi for the Mumbai attacks.

According to the Times of India, "India has made it clear to the U.S. and Iran as well as Pakistan's key allies, China and Saudi Arabia, that they need to do more to use their clout to pressure Pakistan into acting..." The Press Trust of India (PTI), quoted by The Hindu, said India had used a visit by Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal to Delhi to drive home the same message.

Where would we be without Europe?

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ECB headquarters in Frankfurt/Alex GrimmIf the financial crisis looks bad, I for one am thinking it might have been even worse — in the euro zone at least — had European countries not decided to pool their economies together by launching the single European currency.

I covered Europe in the 1980s from Belgium and Luxembourg when the idea of a single currency was still the pipe dream of a few old men who back in the 1950s had been inspired by the idea of a united Europe emerging from the rubble of World War Two.

Newlook Royal facing oldstyle defeat

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French socialist party member Segolene Royal delivers a speech. Gonzalo Fuentes/ReutersFrench Socialist Segolene Royal has unveiled a chic, dishevelled new look, but the surprise makeover is unlikely to prevent her from suffering a fresh election defeat.

Royal came second in last year’s presidential ballot behind Nicolas Sarkozy. Having lost the chance to run the country, she has now fixed her sights on running her party, with Socialist party members due to elect their new leader in November.

France and Darfur: Dirty deals over genocide or pragmatism for peace?

Sarkozy at U.N. General Assembly 

French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that if Sudan changes its behavior and actively supports growing international calls for peace in Darfur, Paris would back suspending any indictments the International Criminal Court (ICC) issues against Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

Sarkozy made clear there would be strings attached.  In a speech to the U.N. General Assembly, the French leader said Sudan would have to “radically” alter its policy towards Darfur, where international experts say at least 200,000 people have died since 2003. It would have to remove a cabinet minister indicted for war crimes in Darfur from the Khartoum government and stop delaying the deployment of international peacekeepers.

Fears of conflict as tensions rise around the Black Sea

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The US Coast Guard Cutter Dallas is seen docked at the Georgia’s Black Sea port of Batumi August 27, 2008. The US Coast Guard Cutter Dallas unloaded aid hygiene kits and baby food for the tens of thousands displaced by the confrontation that erupted on Aug. 7-8 over Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia region.Tension is mounting around the Black Sea following Russia’s recognition of two Georgian regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as independent states.  

Russia said its navy was monitoring ”the build-up of NATO forces in the Black Sea area” as the U.S. Navy shipped humanitarian supplies to Georgia on Wednesday.

French defence shakeup: more for less?

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French defence It should all be music to the ears of top military brass in Brussels, Washington and at the United Nations, who have long been struggling to fill gaps in under-resourced peacekeeping missions from Africa to Afghanistan.

Although the total number of mission-fit French forces will fall to 30,000 from 50,000 under the plans, the idea is that they will be better equipped, more mobile and better able to respond to everything from terrorism to cyber-attacks.

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