Bureau Chief, Southeastern U.S. and Caribbean
Pascal's Feed
Apr 24, 2012

Newsmaker: Bashir wields stick to lead Sudan shorn of south

By Pascal Fletcher

(Reuters) – Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir likes to wave a stick when he speaks in public, and he does not speak softly.

Whether rallying his armed forces against internal rebels and the army of newly-independent South Sudan, or defying a war crimes arrest warrant from The Hague, the leader of mostly Muslim Sudan projects a career soldier’s voice of command.

Apr 11, 2012

Timbuktu librarians protect manuscripts from rebels

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Malian scholars, librarians and ordinary citizens in the rebel-occupied city of Timbuktu are hiding away priceless ancient manuscripts to prevent them from being damaged or looted, a South African academic in contact with them said.

Cape Town University’s Professor Shamil Jeppie said he was in daily contact with curators and private owners safeguarding tens of thousands of historic texts in Timbuktu, the fabled desert trading town and seat of Islamic learning overrun by Tuareg-led rebels on April 1.

Apr 4, 2012

Timbuktu: from city of myth to rebel stronghold

April 4 (Reuters) – When turban-swathed Tuareg rebels swept
into Timbuktu on Sunday to plant the flag of their northern Mali
homeland, they found very few tourists in the bars, hotels,
museums, mosques and libraries of the fabled and ancient Saharan
trading town.

Local guides say numbers of foreign visitors had already
fallen off after a Dutchman, a South African and a Swede were
seized by gunmen in the historic Malian city in November. A
German citizen was killed in the abduction claimed by al Qaeda.

Mar 22, 2012

Mali’s “Soldier of Democracy” toppled by own army

By Pascal Fletcher

(Reuters) – Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure, whom renegade army officers said they toppled in an overnight coup, had gained the nickname of “Soldier of Democracy” in his West African state and was preparing to cede power after elections later this month.

But he is no stranger to coups or mutinies.

Toure, 63, a former paratrooper popularly known by his initials “ATT”, had himself seized power through arms in 1991, overthrowing military ruler Moussa Traore after the latter’s security forces killed more than 100 pro-democracy demonstrators.

Mar 15, 2012

Goldman banker always stuck to principles – former teacher

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Greg Smith was a principled and competitive student, the kind of person whose strong sense of right and wrong probably pushed him to resign from Goldman Sachs in a scathing letter to an international newspaper, his former teacher and coach said.

A quiet, unassuming child, the South African first attended the private Jewish King David’s High School in suburban Johannesburg before winning a scholarship to Stanford University in the United States.

Mar 15, 2012

SAfrican Goldman banker always stuck to principles

JOHANNESBURG, March 15 (Reuters) – Greg Smith was a
principled and competitive student, the kind of person whose
strong sense of right and wrong probably pushed him to resign
from Goldman Sachs in a scathing letter to an international
newspaper, his former teacher and coach said.

A quiet, unassuming child, the South African first attended
the private Jewish King David’s High School in suburban
Johannesburg before winning a scholarship to Stanford University
in the United States.

Mar 13, 2012

Senegal: holding back Africa “democracy recession”

DAKAR (Reuters) – Asked what might happen if Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade is declared winner of the West African country’s elections, student Nando da Silva mouths the sound of an explosion: “Boom!”

Casting his first round ballot last month in Grand Yoff, a dusty Dakar suburb which is a labyrinth of sandy streets and crowded homes, da Silva is one of many young Senegalese who want to see an end to the octogenarian president’s 12-year rule.

Feb 27, 2012

Voters show faith in health of Senegal’s democracy

DAKAR, Feb 27 (Reuters) – In one polling station in
Senegal’s dusty capital Dakar, election officials counted votes
in a civic health bureau, surrounded by peeling posters giving
advice on how to avoid malaria and have a healthy pregnancy.

The West African state went into Sunday’s presidential
election overshadowed by dire warnings that its precious
democracy and stability, unsullied by coups or civil war since
independence from France in 1960, was sick and in mortal danger.

Feb 27, 2012

Senegal’s Wade in tight race for new term

DAKAR (Reuters) – Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade is in a tight race with chief rival Macky Sall, according to early unofficial tallies from the West African state’s most contentious poll in recent history, signaling a possible run-off between the former allies.

The election follows weeks of violent street protests against the 85-year-old Wade’s bid for a third term in office despite a two-term limit, and warnings that Senegal’s reputation as an established democracy hangs in the balance.

Feb 25, 2012

Senegalese to vote in test of nation’s stability

DAKAR (Reuters) – Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade faces re-election on Sunday, having defied opposition efforts to block him from standing and warnings that his candidacy risked destabilizing the usually tranquil West African state.

Overshadowing voting is a row over whether the octogenarian leader should be able to run for a third term. It has sparked violent street protests and a stream of warnings that Senegal’s reputation as an established democracy now hangs in the balance.

    • About Pascal

      "I am based in Miami, heading the editorial reporting team covering the southeastern United States and the Caribbean. This includes Cuba and Haiti and we are also in charge of covering the annual Atlantic hurricane season and Space missions from Cape Canaveral. Previously, I was Chief Correspondent for West and Central Africa, and chief correspondent, Venezuela, following earlier postings in Cuba, Brazil, southern Africa, Portugal and Spain."
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