More on the Africa and China debate
- William Gumede on the Washington Post strikes another point against China in Africa, outlining why its antics are condemning the continent to a further period of underdevelopment…
- … but receives a good response from Andrew Mwenda, who argues that the debate is misplaced, and calls for more trade to help the continent rise out of poverty. He makes an interesting point on the alleged ‘lack of conditionality’ debate: ‘arguments that Chinese aid is good or bad because it does not have conditionality is misplaced. Conditionality has consistently failed to work. A lot of studies on Africa have demonstrated this. What China is doing in Africa is not changing direction, but offering more of the same’. [both via Africa Unchained]
- And Paolo de Renzio from ODI jumps into the debate, asking a simple, yet powerful question: ‘Amidst all the noise, however, the most deafening roar is that of China’s silence. Its silence on the vision it has for a different world order. Should the international community engage with China in dialogue at this higher level, rather than focus narrowly on good governance in Africa?’
- Jonathan Power on WanabeHuman (probably the best discovery in the blogsphere of the month!) discusses the potential of an Islamist threat to army rule in Pakistan;
- Nanne on European Tribune offers a detailed summary of a summary of the Fourth IPCC Assessment Report, for those of you interested in where the climate change debate is going…
- John Vidal report on the Guardian on how Monsanto helped create one of the most contaminated sites in Britain [via Corporate Watch].
- And always Corporate Watch reports on cracks that are already appearing along the BTC pipeline, requiring urgent extra monitoring.
- In the style of the great journalistic coups of the past, Siberian Light interviews La Russophobe, the enfant terrible of the Russian blogsphere;
Innovation and Technology
- Jon explains the wonders of LED bulbs, which apparently last 40 times as long and use one-tenth the energy as incandescent bulbs.
- Flemming Funch has a brilliant entry on world monitoring sites, from emergencies and disasters going on right now on the world map to a site that allows you to see who’s blogging in the world right now!
The US in the Middle East
- Newsweek reports on Bush’s new enemy, the Quds Force – a paramilitary arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – and questions the intelligence that has led to recent accusations that they would be providing weapons used against US troops in Iraq;
- Laura Rozen quotes NPR: ‘The US is going to let 7,000 of the two million Iraqi refugees into the US. By contrast, Syria has taken in one million Iraqi refugees, but now says it can take no more. Forty thousand Iraqis are fleeing Iraq every month’.
Economy and International Development
- Much to the horror of debt-relief campaigners, the Guardian and the BBC report on a British High Court ruling, which allows British Virgin Islands-based Donegal International to sue Zambia for a $42m repayment for a debt that the African nation owed and which the company purchased at less than $4m (£2m). Oxfam urges campaigners to send an angry message to the company’s CEO.
- Edward Lucas lashes out not once, but twice from the Economist’s pages at Poland’s ‘pig-headed’ government led by the Kaczynski twins, depicted as ‘vengeful, paranoid, addicted to crises, divided and mostly incompetent‘. An unusually politically-savvy position for an Economist correspondent to take, given Poland has taken in a record $14.7 billion in foreign investment last year, and the economy is growing at almost 6% a year.
- Eurozone reviews Germany’s 2.9% GDP growth in 2006, which has allowed the German economy to outgrow the US one in per-capita terms.
- Clive Matthews/Nosemonkey reports on racial representation in the European Parliament (from a Guardian article stating that of 785 MEPs – representing 492 million people from 27 countries – just 9 are not white) and does an excellent round-up of the major European blogs, from debates on the future of the constitution to the French presidential elections.
- Mariann Fischer-Boel starts warming up to her new blog-toy, reporting from her recent US trip where she discussed farm subsidies and the future of the WTO Doha negotiations: ‘My discussions in Washington showed that the Farm Bill will be written very much with domestic concerns in mind. DOHA does not seem to be high on the agenda in farm bill discussions. This is a very different approach to ours, where we reform first and then look to lock these reforms into a WTO agreement‘. Is my euro-speak rusty, or is the pot calling the kettle black?
- And finally, for those of you who are wondering what happened to the oneseat campaign (which collected over 1m signatures to try and stop 200 million euros being spent every year to move the European Parliament between Brussels/Belgium and Strasbourg/France), read Nanne’s entry on trading seats and proposals to try and woo France’s bruised ego on the subject!