- Reuters launches its first African news website [via Wanabehuman].
- The NY Times published two interesting reports, the first one on a different Sudan to the one we are used to hear about, one in which oil-wealth is transforming elite lifestyles in Khartoum, the second one about how the arrival of the Last King of Scotland in Kampala has stirred old painful memories and bursts of national pride.
- British-South African mining giant Anglo-American is returning $3bn to shareholders after reporting a 46% rise in annual profits in 2006, and certainly contributing to South Africa’s first budget surplus. This is the same company whose subsidiary Anglo-Gold Ashanti has been targeted by the CAFOD’s Unearth Justice campaign, accused of paying dire little attention to the social and environmental impact of its operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- But mining continues to be big business in Africa, and this week Mauritania got its first copper mine [via Sociolingo]
- Greg Houle on African Update writes an interesting commentary to an Economist article about the dichotomy that donor nations and organizations are facing in Ethiopia.
- And more on the usual China-Africa issue, but this time it’s about the success of inventive South African companies in China, and the reasons behind it [via Africa Unchained]
- The opening of the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai will mark the unveiling of the newly constructed eco-city of Dongtan. The first of four eco-cities to be built in China by Arup, Dongtan will be ecologically friendly, with zero greenhouse-emission transit and self-sufficient water and energy systems. Read more on carljames’ blog.
- Tree-Nation is a Barcelona-based project that wants to plant 8 million trees in Niger, in the shape of a giant heart. Their hope is that this re-forestation campaign will help the environment and the people of the country, as media continue reporting on the unstoppable march of the deserts, from Rwanda to Cameroon. What is particularly interesting for me is their incredibly innovative use of the Internet (especially the on-line map) to achieve this purpose [via Sociolingo].
- The EU Observer lashes out at those corporations – such as Exxon Mobil – that fund NGOs in Brussels to spread doubt about the human causes of climate change. Wanabehuman has a good overview of how the global media have dealt with the issue, and in particular with the IPCC report published last week.
Innovation & Information Technologies
- The BBC reports on a 2.3m euros European scheme which will develop robots able to learn from people and interact with them emotionally, something which futurist Ray Kurzweil [and Kevin Kelly before him] had already suggested a while back when explaining how the boundary between man and machine is bound to disappear.
- The Audio and Video edition of NGO-in-a-Box is a toolkit that lowers the entry level for NGOs, non-profits and media activists wanting to use audio and video for social change. It is a collection of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) tools, documentation and tutorials that introduce you to the world of FOSS and the low-cost technology that is transforming the balance of forces in the realm of media production [thanks to Kathleen].
- Always on FOSS, Spartakan reports on another European meeting to promote open software that will take place tomorrow and Sunday in Brussels.
- GlobalNomad reports on 3DLiveStats, an application that allows the visualisation of any data on a 3D globe.
- Wanabehuman reproduce an article by Stephen Coleman about New Media in a global era. Essential read for anyone interested in the political potentials of the Internet, although you should also look at this post by Richard Sambrooks on SacredFacts, pointing out that most news on the net ultimately come from two sources: AP and Reuters. He also links to a good article by the Washington Post on the Demise of the Foreign Correspondent.
The IAEA publishes its report (PDF) on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of Security Council Resolution 1737 (2006) in the Islamic Republic of Iran, basically stating it is towing the line, but not 100%, prompting declarations by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Iran will defend its nuclear programme to the bitter end.
- The European Commission shows its social side, after the publication of its vision for the single market of the 21st century, in which priorities appear to lie with the single market’s impact on citizens and consumers and – only in third place – businesses. It also mulls rewards for companies improving work safety. Is this a first sign that the reasons behind the constitutional debacle is beginning to be understood by the Eurocrats? Perhaps, but the Presidency holder and other unnamed Member States are hardly making any progress on the matter. Will the Adam Smith Institute do any better? I suppose we all know what its suggestions will come down to…
- The Commission has also been exploring ways to ‘talk with Central Asian dicators‘, a move considered premature and ‘strategically naive’ by Crisis Group, which has pointed out the failure by the EC to address the depth of Russian influence on the incumbent regimes.
- Remember the controversy between France and Turkey over the proposed law that was going to make it illegal to deny the Armenian genocide? Well, it’s now dead letter.
- Nanne reviews the prospects, nature and essential priorities of the Balkenende IV government in The Netherlands, probably the most comprehensive report on Dutch politics I have ever read (ok, the first one too…!)
- While Edward Lucas mulls over the relation between Sweden and its northern neighbours – especially scary Russia – from the pages of his blog (and the Economist).
- Lots of stuff happening in Italy, with Prodi’s government falling, then rising back to Palazzo Chigi (notice the identical picture used by the BBC, a clear Freudian slip over the nature of Italian politics). A few days earlier, the President Napolitano had become embroiled in an ugly argument with Croatia over the foibe massacres. A Fistful of Euros has an interesting entry on this subejct, as well as an excellent overview of Italy’s dire economic problems.
- Paul Currion talks to Sanjana Hattotuwa about ICT4Peace, OLPC and Technology for Social Change;
- Paul Harvey on the ODI weblog discusses the pros and cons of cash instead of food aid;
- And Chris Monasterski on PSD reviews a recent study by the Social Science Research Network on the economic lives of the poor.
- And finally, for those of you who enjoyed reading Siberian Light’s interview last week of La Russophobe, here’s his second take, this time with Sakhalin-based blogger Tim Newman, aka White Sun of the Desert.