Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Irish Mortgage crisis - Some sort of rescue plan is essential | Irish Examiner

Mortgage crisis - Some sort of rescue plan is essential Irish Examiner

THERE are 777,321 private residential mortgage accounts held in this state involving something around €115 billion. The vast majority are being paid down as lenders and borrowers would hope. However, Central Bank figures published yesterday show that a fraction of these — 55,763 representing just 7.2% — were in arrears for more than 90 days at the end of June. This is an increase on the 6.3% of three months ago and the 5.7% recorded at the end of last year. Almost 70,000 — 69,837 — residential mortgages were described as restructured at the end of June showing a willingness on behalf of borrowers and banks to reach realistic accommodations. Of these 39,395 are meeting their obligations ...

Monday, 29 August 2011

Ministers back anti-abortion lobby reforms by Polly Curtis,

The government has caved in to calls from anti-abortionists to overhaul existing protocols and strip charities and medics of their exclusive responsibility for counselling women seeking to terminate a pregnancy.
The Department of Health confirmed that it would change the rules to ensure that women are also offered counselling "independently" of existing abortion services. Its announcement was made in advance of an attempt next week led by the Tory backbencher Nadine Dorries to amend the health and social care bill to force such a requirement. Dorries says that the charity-run abortion services – including the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) and Marie Stopes – have a financial conflict of interest in advising women seeking terminations. She says that by offering independent counselling, 60,000 of the 200,000 abortions each year could be prevented...

Circumcising children as a way to stay rooted in their heritage

Some parents see circumcising their sons as a way to stay rooted in their heritage. Sarfraz Manzoor meets some of them at a circumcision clinic. 
It was more than 30 years ago, but Chetin Mercan still winces when he recalls the day he was circumcised. "It was the summer holidays and I was eight years old," he tells me. "A couple of my uncles held me down and I remember screaming and shouting as the doctor tried to do the operation." He shakes his head. "It was horrible."...

55,000 ‘struggling’ to pay mortgages in Ireland - By Claire O’Brien, Irish Examiner
THE number of homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage has risen to 55,000 and banks are not doing enough to help them with their difficulties, according to the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton.
As new figures from the Central Bank reveal a 10% rise in cases of mortgage arrears in the past three months, Ms Burton has called for an "early warning system" to identify those falling into difficulty.

A spokesman for the Irish Banking Federation said the figures, published today, show the problem has become "more challenging". ..

100,000 seeking social housing in Ireland | Irish Examiner

100,000 seeking social housing Irish Examiner

THE number of people seeking to be housed by the state has significantly increased, according to the Minister of State for Housing, Willie Penrose. Speaking in Mullingar over the weekend, he said figures to be published soon will show almost 100,000 people on the housing list.
While there may be some adjustment to that figure to account for people availing of schemes such as rent supplement, Mr Penrose said there is "a significant increase in the number of people seeking housing"...

Read more:

British health expert backs legalisation of assisted suicide - Europe, World News -

British health expert backs legalisation of assisted suicide - Europe, World News -
Terminally ill patients who want to commit suicide should be able to receive medical help to die, a British government adviser on care for the elderly has said. Martin Green, a social care expert for the Department of Health, said patients who were too frail to take their own lives were being denied "choice" and "autonomy" because assisted suicide is illegal in the UK.

Publishers urged to cut the price of School Books in Ireland

Publishers urged to cut prices

Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has called on publishers to slash the price of school books. Mr Quinn said the cover price of the most popular textbooks for English, Irish, mathematics and other popular subjects needed to be reduced. The call follows meetings between the minister and publishers, parents representatives and poverty campaigners at the start of the summer.

Penetrating the Gibberish of Health Insurance
Anyone who has ever tried to read a health insurance policy knows how hard it is to find out what the plan actually covers and how much it will cost. The Obama administration proposed welcome new rules this month that would make it a lot easier for consumers to compare one policy with another — on cost and coverage — before signing up.

Dr. King’s Dreams
The “Dream” speech came at the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” In the following years, until he was assassinated in 1968, Dr. King focused primarily on the need for economic justice and the grim problem of poverty that remains so significant for all races today.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Despite what the banks say — Don’t give up your tracker mortgage

Despite what the banks say — don’t give up your tracker mortgage | Irish Examiner

The man was somewhat surprised as he has a secure income and has not missed any repayments on his loans, either on his home or on a couple of investment properties that he bought during the boom years. His bank manager seemed reasonably reassured but then made a suggestion: would he like to accept a lump sum as an inducement to give up his tracker mortgages? The businessman said no. He reckons that if you have a 20-year €300,000 mortgage the benefit of being on a tracker mortgage — one that guarantees the lender will charge only an agreed premium over the prevailing European Central Bank base rate — could be worth €100,000 in lesser interest rate payments over the life of the mortgage than would be available on a standard and more expensive variable rate mortgage. He was being offered €15,000 to switch, which is quite clearly a bum deal, for the borrower at any rate if not for the bank...

Read more:

Jobs resigns as Apple CEO amid concerns over health
Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple Inc on Wednesday, raising fears that the pancreatic cancer he has been fighting for several years had worsened. His right-hand man Tim Cook takes over.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

For Ireland to stay afloat, we must make sure the euro survives | Irish Examiner

For Ireland to stay afloat, we must make sure the euro survives | Irish Examiner

Cracks can no longer be papered over. Europe lacks leadership. Procrastination, indecision and inertia from the top table of prime ministers and presidents have allowed markets to dominate muppets. When Spain and Italy accompanied peripheral states of Greece, Portugal and Ireland, in requiring centralised support to finance their sovereign bonds, it was clear that the euro was unravelling. This presented a stark choice — construct a federal fiscal union or allow the break-up of the single currency...

Read more:

Government won't write off struggling homeowners' debt - National News, Frontpage -

Government won't write off struggling homeowners' debt - National News, Frontpage -
THE Government is not considering a 'debt-forgiveness' scheme to write off billions of mortgage debt for struggling homeowners, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore confirmed yesterday. The comments came as public demand grows for a mass mortgage write-off. One homeowners' group is claiming 60,000 people face losing their homes unless a solution to the mortgage crisis is found. The clamour follows last week's claim by renowned economist Morgan Kelly that a debt-forgiveness scheme to rescue those in severe difficulty with their mortgages would cost just €5bn or €6bn.

'Godless culture' attacking church, says bishop

'Godless culture' attacking church, says bishop
THE CATHOLIC Church is experiencing a testing time, having been rocked by the barbs of a “secular and godless culture” on the outside and the “sins and crimes of priests” within, Bishop Philip Boyce of Raphoe has said. Dr Boyce, who has promised to publish a report into clerical abuse in his diocese soon, urged Catholics not to lose confidence in their faith and to act with hope and patience during the current difficult times for the church.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Africa Center for Strategic Studies - Media Review 24 Aug 11

Study shows good prospects for college’s graduates | Irish Examiner

Study shows good prospects for college’s graduates | Irish Examiner

ALMOST 85% of students who graduated from the University of Limerick last year are either working or pursuing further studies, according to a college study. As a total of 2,602 students graduate this week, UL president Professor Don Barry said the study showed a growth in demand for the university’s students among employers.

David McWilliams: Without debt forgiveness our economy can't grow - David McWilliams, Columnists -

David McWilliams: Without debt forgiveness our economy can't grow - David McWilliams, Columnists -
FOR some reason, the issue of debt forgiveness, which has been discussed for years, seems to be back on the table as if it is something new. It is not new. Debt forgiveness, debt write-offs, debt restructuring -- whatever term you want to use -- always happens after a credit-driven growth mirage. The reason is simple. In the boom, too much credit was given to people who had no prospect of paying the stuff back and now they can't pay it back. So, as the saying goes, "can't pay, won't pay"...

Setting our kids on right road!

Setting our kids on right road

ONE QUESTION was on the lips of many people watching the hordes of feral kids rampaging through Britain’s streets recently: where are their parents?
Sadly, in many cases their supposed guardians were either looting away alongside them or egging them on to pinch a new telly. It is apparent that many breeders don’t care that they have a responsibility to their children – and society at large – not to raise them to be little monsters...

Forgiving mortgage debt

Forgiving mortgage debt

THE PATH of destruction left in the wake of the property crash is long and wide. Mass unemployment has returned, businesses built up over lifetimes have been destroyed and almost every citizen of the State suffers the effects of austerity, in one way or another. Those unfortunate or unwise enough to have bought or invested in property close to the peak of the boom are enduring their own torment...

Asylum seekers’ needs ‘not met’ | Irish Examiner

Asylum seekers’ needs ‘not met’ Irish Examiner

TEAMS of specialists to provide psychological services to asylum seekers who suffer from complex mental health problems still have not been set up, as recommended by a 2008 report. Read more:

Horn of Africa priority for Bothar - National News, Frontpage -

Horn of Africa priority for Bothar - National News, Frontpage -
IRISH charity Bothar is turning its attention to the Horn of Africa with the hope of providing long-term assistance to starving families. New CEO David Moloney pinpointed the 12 million people suffering in the drought-hit region as a major priority. The organisation, which airlifts animals to struggling communities in the developing world, grew from a project taking cows to Africa 20 years ago...

Losing sleep over recession

Losing sleep over recession
WHILE the link between unemployment and increased risk of depression is long-established, lack of sleep and erratic sleep patterns, the medical community warn, are detrimental to remaining healthy, both mentally and physically. Being unemployed or doing shift work can commonly lead to sleep disruption, and doctors are seeing a significant increase in the number of these patients complaining of sleep issues.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Baby boom business

Baby boom business

Having babies proved the catalyst for these parents to set up their own businesses. And, while it can be very challenging, it gives them the flexibility that is so valuable to have with children, writes GRAINNE FALLER.
EVERY CHILD is different but there is one universal truth about babies – having one changes everything. All of a sudden, going out for a quick pint or even popping to the shop for a packet of biscuits becomes a lot more complicated than it used to be.

Legal system provides no guarantee of justice

Legal system provides no guarantee of justice
Our laws on abortion, white-collar crime, human rights, and consumer rights are inadequate in several respects; while bylaws on parking arrangements in towns and cities are a complete mess. The legal underpinning of the Joint Labour Council pay arrangements has recently been deemed unconstitutional. If more people could afford to challenge our laws in the courts, many of them would be found to be unconstitutional...

Monday, 22 August 2011

As double dip looms, market fears turn on feeble banks
Investors alarmed by the eurozone’s economic woes have lashed out at the banking industry amid fears that lenders may be struggling to secure the liquidity needed to run day-to-day operations, let alone boost the bloc’s faltering economies.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Liberia: How Sustainable Is the Recovery?

The latest report from the International Crisis Group, warns that five factors are still critical to lasting peace: a more convincing fight against corruption; deeper commitment to transforming Liberia with a new breed of reform-minded political players; sustained international engagement in supporting this more ambitious transformation; economic development; and regional stability, particularly in its neighbour, Côte d’Ivoire.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Our 6,000 asylum seekers deserve more dignity | Irish Examiner

Our 6,000 asylum seekers deserve more dignity | Irish Examiner

EARLIER this week, a Nigerian woman who was about to be deported with her two young children, aged seven and five, was brought to the Rotunda hospital as she was bleeding and claiming she had suffered a miscarriage. Well-known campaigner, Rosanna Flynn, says she was with the woman, Olayinka Ijaware, and saw the bleeding, and a doctor at the hospital wrote that if the bleeding continued, the woman was not fit to travel. It then transpired that Ms Ijaware’s miscarriage occurred last month, not on the day of the deportation. ......

‘Scapegoating’ of fathers is unfair | Irish Examiner

‘Scapegoating’ of fathers is unfair | Irish Examiner

Court lists throughout the country are filled with thousands of cases concerning custody and access to children. Virtually every single case involves a father fighting against the odds to maintain a meaningful relationship with his children and a mother doing all she can to destroy or diminish his fatherhood.

Solved: mystery of missing Soviet plane which turned up in fancy dress parade - National News, Frontpage -

Solved: mystery of missing Soviet plane which turned up in fancy dress parade - National News, Frontpage -
IT IS the bizarre tale of how a vintage Soviet biplane came out of retirement to lead a secret double life. The 40-year-old Antonov An-2 aircraft had been winning prizes in fancy dress parades while its owners, who live in Australia, thought it was lying in a field awaiting renovation.

Loving fathers play key role in children's lives - Analysis, Opinion -

Loving fathers play key role in children's lives - Analysis, Opinion -
The Bishop of Elphin, Christopher Jones, did himself no favours when he described children from certain types of families as "born losers" in remarks to this paper the other day. It was a most unfortunate turn of phrase. But he was talking about children who grow up without love, and how, as a result of this deprivation, they are "denied a sense of self-esteem and self-worth".

A better life for children

A better life for children
CHILDHOOD IS a precious time. As a society, we must do everything possible to protect the welfare of young people and ensure they are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. Yet, successive reports over recent years have highlighted shocking evidence of neglect, abuse and mistreatment of children

Thousands may be unaware they have diabetes

Thousands may be unaware they have diabetes

AS MANY as 30,000 people in Ireland have diabetes without being aware of it, a study has found.

A screening programme involving more than 19,000 people has shown that in excess of 2,400 individuals have either diabetes or pre-diabetes.

When these findings are extrapolated to the estimated 1.38 million individuals in Ireland aged between 45 and 75, almost 30,000 people could have undetected type 2 diabetes and 146,000 undetected pre-diabetes.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Why Africa's Proudest Democracy Bailed Out Africa's Last Absolute Monarch,8599,2088966,00.html
January's warning of an imminent economic meltdown in the tiny, landlocked kingdom of Swaziland set off alarm bells in its giant neighbor, South Africa. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that the country of 1.5 million (the population of Phoenix) ruled by the continent's last absolute monarch, King Mswati III, was in "a fiscal crisis which threatens external stability and the soundness of the financial sector."

Millions May Die … or Not - How disaster hype became a big global business - By David Rieff | Foreign Policy

Millions May Die … Or Not. - By David Rieff Foreign Policy
Sadly, over the course of the past few decades, exaggeration seems to have become the rule in the world of humanitarian relief. The Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, which is generally believed to have killed almost a quarter of a million people in 14 countries, is a stark example. In the immediate aftermath, NGOs and U.N. agencies were predicting that without massive aid, the death toll would double because of hunger, lack of clean water, and the spread of infectious disease. Their appeals were extraordinarily successful, raising more than $14 billion from governments, corporations, and a remarkably large number of private donors. And yet, there was little basis for such anxiety:

Irish Economy - Our recovery plan can work - we must stick to it

Our recovery plan can work - we must stick to it

DESPITE RECENT market turmoil we are not at present heading towards a global double-dip recession. While growth is clearly slowing in the main developed economies, world trade will continue to expand. Irish exporters still have the capacity to thrive and grow market share even in this more challenging global context. The Irish economy remains on track to grow this year and next. The value of what we produce in Ireland will increase by about 3 per cent this year and over 4 per cent in 2012, and this augurs well for the plan to fix the public finances.

Bored people more hostile to outsiders

Bored people more hostile to outsiders

WERE RECENT rioters just bored and looking to belong? A study from the University of Limerick shows that when people are bored they feel stronger connections with their social groups and more hostility towards groups in which they do not belong. The study shows that boredom can trigger negative attitudes and aggressive behaviour in those suffering from it, lead researcher Dr Eric Igou said yesterday.

Contractors Are Accused in Large-Scale Theft of Food Aid in Somalia
As it scales up its operations in Somalia, the United Nations World Food Program is investigating allegations that thousands of sacks of grain and other supplies intended for famine victims have been stolen by unscrupulous businessmen and then sold on the open market for a profit.

Islamist Threat With Qaeda Link Grows in Nigeria
Just two years ago, the Islamist group stalking police officers in this bustling city seemed on the verge of extinction. In a heavy-handed assault, Nigerian soldiers shelled its headquarters and killed its leader, leaving a grisly tableau of charred ruins, hundreds dead and outmatched members of the group, known as Boko Haram, struggling to fight back, sometimes with little more than bows and arrows.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

CGD Development Update - 17 August 2011
Independent research & practical ideas for global prosperity

Statement of President Barack Obama Recognition of the Republic of South Sudan
After so much struggle by the people of South Sudan, the United States of America welcomes the birth of a new nation.  Today is a reminder that after the darkness of war, the light of a new dawn is possible. A proud flag flies over Juba and the map of the world has been redrawn. These symbols speak to the blood that has been spilled, the tears that have been shed, the ballots that have been cast, and the hopes that have been realized by so many millions of people. The eyes of the world are on the Republic of South Sudan. And we know that southern Sudanese have claimed their sovereignty, and shown that neither their dignity nor their dream of self-determination can be denied. 

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Obama pledges job growth on Midwest bus tour
On the first day of a three-day tour of the US Midwest Monday, President Barack Obama said he will be putting forward a new economic plan to promote jobs growth, manage America’s spiralling debt, and boost the economy.

Google to buy Motorola Mobility in surprise hardware move
Google shook up the mobile phone industry Monday, announcing that it had agreed to buy US handset maker Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in a move designed to bolster its Android software in the key market for smartphones.

Pressure on govts to deliver after ECB spending spree

Investors will be looking for signs of longer-term solutions to the eurozone debt crisis during talks between French and German leaders on Tuesday, a day after the European Central Bank (ECB) said it spent a record €22 billion on government bonds.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Dangerous Liaison? Evaluating Relations Between Al-Shabab and Al-Qaeda,4888caa0-b3db-1461-98b9-e20e7b9c13d4
The detention of Ahmed Warsame in the US has renewed the discussion about possible cooperation between the powerful Somali Islamist insurgent movement Al-Shabab and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
By Christopher Anzalone for openDemocracy

Helping Africa Grow Its Own Food: A Declining Effort
Famines like Somalia's might be a thing of the past if farmers in the Horn of Africa could grow enough crops to protect against hunger. Making that possible would require a number of things, including international development aid to small farmers, but that's been in decline over the past 25 years. Guest host John Ydstie talks to author and Harvard Professor Robert Paarlberg about U.S. investment in farm development in Africa.

Think Again: War - By Joshua S. Goldstein | Foreign Policy

Think Again: War - By Joshua S. Goldstein Foreign Policy
The early 21st century seems awash in wars: the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, street battles in Somalia, Islamist insurgencies in Pakistan, massacres in the Congo, genocidal campaigns in Sudan. All in all, regular fighting is taking place in 18 wars around the globe today. Public opinion reflects this sense of an ever more dangerous world: One survey a few years ago found that 60 percent of Americans considered a third world war likely. Expectations for the new century were bleak even before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and their bloody aftermath: Political scientist James G. Blight and former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara suggested earlier that year that we could look forward to an average of 3 million war deaths per year worldwide in the 21st century.

Dozens killed as Syrian navy 'shells port city'
At least 26 people were killed Sunday when President Bashar al-Assad's forces launched a land and sea assault on the Mediterranean port city of Latakia, activists said. Four more civilians were reported killed elsewhere in the country.

Tribal Rifts Threaten to Undermine Libya Uprising
TRIPOLI, Libya — Saddled with infighting and undermined by the occasionally ruthless and undisciplined behavior of its fighters, the six-month-old rebel uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi is showing signs of sliding from a struggle to overthrow an autocrat into a murkier contest between factions and tribes.

Stop Coddling the Super-Rich
OUR leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.
While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.

Drones Alone Are Not the Answer
OVER the past two years, America has narrowed its goals in Afghanistan and Pakistan to a single-minded focus on eliminating Al Qaeda. Public support for a counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan has waned. American officials dealing with Pakistan now spend most of their time haggling over our military and intelligence activities, when they should instead be pursuing the sort of comprehensive social, diplomatic and economic reforms that Pakistan desperately needs and that would advance America’s long-term interests.

Smuggling in North Sinai Surges as the Police Vanish
The police have all but disappeared from the northern Sinai since the Egyptian revolution, and the smuggling business has grown so exponentially that Hamas, the militant group controlling Gaza, recently decided to limit the car imports to 30 a week for fear of pollution and traffic congestion in the narrow Mediterranean enclave, smugglers say.

Libya Rebels in Zawiyah Threaten Supply Line to Tripoli
BENGHAZI, Libya — After a period of political turmoil, fighters opposing Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi advanced on several fronts on Sunday, seizing ground in the strategic city of Zawiyah that placed them on Tripoli’s doorstep and threatening to cut off an important supply line for the colonel’s loyalists.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Can liberals unite ‘For the love of Egypt’?
Friday’s gathering in Tahrir Square was intended to show both Islamists and the military that Egypt’s liberal camp had no intention of forfeiting “its” revolution. But there has been little evidence of unity in the liberal ranks.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

BlackBerry silent amid calls to suspend messaging
Blackberry’s encrypted messaging system is hugely popular with British teenagers; it is also popular with the rioters who laid waste to areas of London over the weekend. But calls for the service to be suspended are likely to fall on deaf ears.

Asian markets mixed on fears of Europe's debt crisis
Asian markets recovered slightly after reporting early losses on Thursday amid mounting concern over the health of French banks as Europe's sovereign debt crisis threatened to claim more victims in the eurozone

Concern over French banks sends global markets lower
French banks led European markets lower on Wednesday, with Societe Generale ending down 14.7 percent. The losses were echoed on Wall Street, where the S&P 500 fell 4 percent and the Dow Jones industrial average 4.6 percent by close.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

London riots: 'A generation who don't respect their parents or police'
Monday evening's riots were shocking because of their speed and unpredictability, but also because of their geographical and socioeconomic scope.

London riots - Heed lessons of a society’s breakdown | Irish Examiner

London riots - Heed lessons of a society’s breakdown Irish Examiner

This week’s rioting has been the worst in Britain since those in Brixton and Toxteth 30 years ago. Following a public inquiry into the Brixton riots of 1981, Lord Scarman concluded that the under-representation of minority communities in the police service was a significant part of the problem. Much progress has undoubtedly been made in that area, but it too early to determine whether it was sufficient.

Riots in the UK reflect a broken society
THE EXPLOSIVE manner in which the tensions of London’s youth underclass turned into a sustained campaign of violence and looting is a salutary reminder of how easy it is to take normal social order for granted – there or elsewhere. Many parts of the city, one of the world’s richest and host to next year’s Olympic Games, have been transformed in a few days by arson and theft, with the police left struggling to assert control.

Free schools outperform fee-paying schools
PRIVATE FEE-PAYING schools in Ireland are performing no better than their counterparts in the “free” State sector, according to an international study.  It concludes that parents who spend more than €5,000 a year on fees in private schools are receiving no additional premium for this investment. 
The report by two Israeli academics compared the performance of students from State-run and fee-paying schools in the OECD/Pisa survey of 15-year-olds in maths. It found public schools actually delivered better results when all factors, including the selective enrolment policies of some fee-paying schools, were taken into account.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Africa Center for Strategic Studies - Media Review for August 9, 2011

The Next Big Mess: The Conflict Between the Sudans,8599,2087309,00.html
One month in, Sudan's version 2.0 is not showing much improvement over the original. So far, the July division of Africa's largest country into a newly free South Sudan and a shrunken Sudan shows few signs of ending the parent's bloody habits. The decades-long Arab-North-vs.-African-South feud continues, now through economic and proxy warfare.
Read more:,8599,2087309,00.html#ixzz1UZNDIc7q

Libyan rebels reshuffle leadership - Africa - Al Jazeera English

Libyan rebels reshuffle leadership - Africa - Al Jazeera English
Libya's opposition National Transitional Council (NTC) has dissolved its executive board and asked Mahmoud Jibril, its chairman, to elect a new one. Al Jazeera's Tony Birtley, reporting from the opposition stronghold city of Benghazi, said the news on Monday came unexpectedly.

"This came completely out of the blue. There's a lot of speculation now that there is some sort of inner fallout following the murder of Abdel Fattah Younes, the commander of the opposition forces, more than a week ago." Birtley said there had been complaints over the handling of Younes' death by the NTC and the disbanding of the executive board could be related.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Recession fears grip market in worst week since 2008

The US stock exchange closed up 0.54 percent on Friday in a tumultuous day marked by wild swings in share prices as markets were gripped by fears on the handling of the euro zone debt crisis and double-dip recession concerns.

Friday, 5 August 2011

American evangelicals were always big believers in democracy -- until it reached the Arab world
Most American evangelicals view democracy much like Yankees fans view their beloved Bronx Bombers: as a human institution that has its flaws, but one that God clearly prefers to the alternatives and has destined for world domination. No less an authority than Billy Graham called free elections a "blessing from God."

Genocide courts attacked for failure to heal Rwanda's scars

Rwanda's widely praised community genocide courts, due to wind up later this year, have done nothing to "heal ethnic divisions" and have been used to "bolster government authority", according to a new report by one of the country's leading donors.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Who Will Help the Syrians?
As many as 1,600 courageous Syrians have been slaughtered since pro-democracy demonstrations began in March. On Wednesday, after three days of shelling, President Bashar al-Assad ordered his military to storm Hama, the city where his father killed up to 20,000 people three decades ago.

Monday, 1 August 2011

International Crisis Group : Five Things to Know About the Horn of Africa Food Crisis

International Crisis Group : Five Things to Know About the Horn of Africa Food Crisis
Famine has returned to the Horn of Africa, and Somalia is the worst hit. For the first time since the early 90s, the United Nations has declared a famine in parts of southern Somalia, meaning that more than 30 percent of the population is malnourished. All told, 3.7 million Somalis are in need of immediate food aid, part of some 11.5 million in need across the Horn of Africa. Each month, huge streams of refugees cross the border into Ethiopia and Kenya–nearly 170,000 since January–spreading the humanitarian crisis with them. Tens of thousands have already died.

International Crisis Group : A Critical Period for Ensuring Stability in Côte d’Ivoire

International Crisis Group : A Critical Period for Ensuring Stability in Côte d’Ivoire
The coming to power of the elected President Ouattara should not mask reality. Côte d’Ivoire remains fragile and unstable. The atrocities after the second round of the presidential elections on 28 November 2010 and Laurent Gbagbo’s attempt to retain power by all means despite losing exacerbated already acute tensions. The next months are crucial. The new government must not underestimate the threats that will long jeopardise peace and must avoid the narcotic of power that has caused so many disastrous decisions over recent decades.

Our Unbalanced Democracy
However it ends, the debt crisis has already shown how dysfunctional the relationship between Congress and the president has become — and why constitutional balance must be restored.