Archive for the ‘In the news’ Category
From the Associated Press:
BANGUI, Central African Republic — The embattled president of Central African Republic on Tuesday accused the rebels who have seized the northern half of the country of being backed by “foreign terrorists” and said he is heading to this week’s peace talks to defend democracy.
President Francois Bozize, who himself took power in 2003 following a rebellion, has offered to form a coalition government with the rebels. Some fighters, though, insist they will not join the government unless he steps down.
While Bozize’s government has faced previous challenges from rebel groups, this latest joint offensive launched one month ago has posed the gravest threat to his rule during his nearly 10 years in power.
The political change that has been so prominent in the Middle East and North Africa over the past two years has been largely absent throughout sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The key socioeconomic and political factors that have driven citizens of MENA into the streets — high unemployment, corruption and authoritarianism — are in some cases even worse in SSA. In Zimbabwe, Namibia, Senegal, Kenya, Swaziland and South Africa the unemployment rates range from 25 to 95 percent. Last year Transparency International ranked many countries in SSA among the worst in the world in terms of corruption. Few sub-Saharan leaders came to power through elections deemed free and fair by international observers, and six of the region’s leaders have ruled for more than a quarter century.
So why have sub-Saharan Africans not followed their MENA counterparts and launched an “African Spring”? We identify five primary reasons…
Read the rest of the article here.
From the Washington Post –
BANGUI, Central African Republic — Two land-locked, desperately poor African countries are gripped by rebellions in the north that have left huge chunks of both nations outside of government control. Neighboring countries are rushing troops into Central African Republic only a few weeks after rebels started taking towns but Mali’s government is still awaiting foreign military help nearly one year after the situation there began unraveling. Here’s a look at why there’s been quick action in one country, and not in the other.
Read complete story here.
Over the summer, I visited CAR and Niger (Mali’s neighbor). My impression is that this article well summarizes the distinctions between the struggles in CAR and Mali. Ultimately, what “intervention” is necessary in these regions is economic development. If the western world were more aware of global issues, perhaps movement could be made in that direction.
By Bill Briggs, NBC News contributor
More soldiers took their own lives than died in combat during 2012, new Department of Defense figures show. The Army’s suicide rate has climbed by 9 percent since the military branch launched its suicide-prevention campaign in 2009.
Through November, 177 active-duty soldiers had committed suicide compared to 165 during all of 2011 and 156 in 2010. In all of 2012, 176 soldiers were killed in action — all while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom, according to DOD.
Army suicides have increased by at least 54 percent since 2007 when there were 115 — a number the Washington Post then called “an all-time record.” An Army spokesman said Wednesday it is uncertain if 177 marks a new annual high (with December numbers still to come), or if suicides have ever outpaced combat deaths in a single year, because the Army has not always tracked suicides.
Read the story here — The enemy within: Soldier suicides outpaced combat deaths in 2012
Two suggestions: 1) end the war in Afghanistan; 2) provide better mental-health support for soldiers.
Reports NBC News:
Welcome to the new frontier in pregnancy oversharing: the ultrasound party. Good luck selecting the right gift.
Thanks to improved ultrasound technology, parents-to-be can now invite friends and family to share in an intimate viewing of baby in utero.
“It’s our opportunity to see those little fingers and toes again,” said Kimberly Enderle, a 29-year-old Rogers, Ark., mom due in February who decided to host an ultrasound party just for fun. — link
One wonders how such parties will affect people’s attitudes about abortion. Will seeing a live baby in the womb via ultrasound alter people’s views? How will language be affected? Will people see a bio-mass or a child?
The situation in Central African Republic continues to deteriorate: Residents of Central African Republic’s capital nervously await attack by rebels from north.
BANGUI, Central African Republic — Kpademona Marcel and other residents of the capital of Central African Republic have watched in fear as rebels from the country’s north seized control of more than half the country in less than a month. On Tuesday, all he could do was pray that a solution to the crisis could be found without the violence reaching Bangui.
“We are afraid for our nation and for our fellow citizens in the countryside,” Marcel said, standing on the steps of the Notre Dame cathedral before a New Year’s Day Mass. “The rebels are imposing themselves on the population and stealing things. We are here praying for peace.”
As a new year began, the fate of the capital with 700,000 people, remained unclear. Government forces backed by a regional multinational force held a line in Damara, just 75 kilometers (45 miles) from Bangui. The rebels hold the city of Sibut, about 185 kilometers (115 miles) from Bangui.
I had the pleasure of visiting CAR in June, 2012, and met many wonderful people. I pray for peace in this African nation.
CNN story here: U.S. diplomats leave Central African Republic amid unrest