July 4, 2007 by  
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It’s been a long time since I blogged any international events, but this one was enough to shock me out of my reverie.

Some African Union (AU) member states want to unite the entire continent – a United States of Africa, if you will.


Many Africans regard this as an unrealistic, if noble, dream. Sceptics point to decades of wars, coups and massacres that often sprang from ethnic and religious fault lines on a continent artificially carved up by former colonial rulers.

You could also argue uniting the continent would remove those artificial lines created by arbitrary colonial division, and reduce the chance for ethnic and religious conflict. But only if the united ‘states’ of Africa are not the states as we know them now.

If the same states remained the resulting union would only be as peaceful as the other continental union if it followed their same pattern – radical integration deterring conflict. In the case of the European Union, economic integration has worked. In Africa there’s not a lot of economy to share around and prosper in, so they might have to go with what the EU has shied away from, political integration.

Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi is one of the main proponents of the idea.

Kosovo non-independence

February 4, 2007 by  
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For years now Kosovo has been essentially an independent nation, but administered by the United Nations to ensure they don’t actually try to claim independence. Their status as either a Serbian province or nation in their own right has been in limbo while the international community has tried to avoid giving either Serbia or Kosovar Albanians what they want.

The UN finally delivered their recommendations on Kosovo’s future status a few days ago.

While the UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari has said Kosovo should split from Serbia, it’s independence in theory, but not reality. While Kosovo will legally have national symbols separate from Serbia, and be allowed to apply for membership to organisations like the UN, they will still not be able to claim outright independence.

NATO and EU forces would remain, and it pretty much looks like things would stay as they are now. I’m not really sure how this resolves Kosovo’s status.

Kosovo’s decisive step to statehood
Serbia rejects Kosovo breakaway

Holler for Hillary

January 22, 2007 by  
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As expected, Hillary Clinton has also thrown her hat into the Democratic candidate’s ring for the presidency.

It looks like things could get ugly though, with rumours that Clinton’s camp is going to try and discredit Obama in a really nasty way.

Here is Hillary’s announcement video. She’s all about having a conversation with you.

Barracking for Barack

January 19, 2007 by  
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Barack Obama has virtually decided to run for president of the United States. I say virtually because until February 10th, when he will make an official announcement of intent, he’s formed an ‘exploratory committee’. Presumably it’s to see if he wants to run a campaign, but the chances of that happening are fairly high.

The fun bit is that if a Democrat is elected president, they are almost certain to be either America’s first black or female president, since Hilary Clinton is the only other likely contender.

Obama’s big strategy seems to be a little too, how shall we say, optimistic?

Today our leader’s in Washington seem incapable of working together in a practical, common-sense way. Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can’t tackle the big problems that demand solutions. That’s what we have to change first, we have to change our politics.

Good luck. I thought ‘bitter’ and ‘partisan’ was what politics was about, not to mention money and influence. Of course rival politicians aren’t going to work together for the common good. It’s a sign of weakness to agree with your opposition’s positive measure, as it’s often claimed to be an obvious lack of policies or initiative of your own. Nobody’s brave enough to say, “I think you should all listen intently to this brilliant idea my rival has”.

Fix politics. I’ll have to remember that for the second edition of my book, Standing by the Wishing Well. The best-selling first edition featured that wish popularly know as ‘the beauty pageant’: world peace. It’s available at all good book stores and self-help centers.

If you want to watch it, this is the video of Barack Obama’s announcement.


December 31, 2006 by  
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Goodbye, 2006.

I entered the year with a 14-day-old marriage, and exit having experienced the joys and trials that come with those most important first 12 months of wedlock.

Some other things happened during the year, including university, the FIFA World Cup, and others, but they were all pretty much woven into those joys and trials already mentioned.

Speaking of trials, Saddam Hussein managed to steal the headlines to memorably finish off 2006 – his face plastered across New Year’s Eve newspapers the world over.

So farewell, 2006.

Dream Poncho

December 19, 2006 by  
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Apparently Pedro Ruiz and his Technicolour Dream Poncho got away this time, but authorities in Mexico have arrested Alfonso Barajas, a.k.a. Ugly Poncho.

Bombs in Bali?

October 1, 2005 by  
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I put a question mark there because, as AP (via CNN) is reporting, the police spokesman says they just don’t know. That said, simultaneous explosions in tourist resort areas would be a strong indicator of planned bombs. Terrorist attacks.

  • LOCATION: Bali, Indonesia
    • Jimbaran Beach – at least three explosions, one reportedly close the Four Seasons cheap viagra without rx Hotel
    • Kuta – 18km from Jimbaran, one explosion reported in shopping centre.
  • WHAT:
    • Reports 2 dead, many more injured at this point.
    • Rajas restaurant in Kuta was filled with diners, both storeys badly damaged

This is just going to get bigger, and I won’t be able to keep up with it. Hope it’s not so bad… over and out.

Bali explosions

October 1, 2005 by  
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None of the TV news has shown anything yet, but reported 10 minutes ago about simultaneous explosions in Bali.

UPDATE: CNN link updated with comment by Indonesian police spokesman. BBC also with brief story although both are taken from AP

UPDATE: BBC’s behind the game. CNN has already updated this AP story four times in the last 20 minutes, including quotes from police and witnesses.

UPDATE: Well, BBC has added a map and not much else, except a form at the bottom asking for ‘citizen journalists’ (my words, not theirs) to submit, well, let me quote:

Did you witness the explosions? Send us your eywitness accounts. If you have images please send them to

CNN, meanwhile, is running with it.

April 30, 2004 by  
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I liked this article . Probably only of interest to the journalists. It’s about the lack of media reporting on humanitarian disasters, but particularly ‘genocide’.

The international media don’t send reporters to cover genocides, it seems. They cover genocide anniversaries.

I was making brief, passing mention to this in another post. That had more to do with media pushing for intervention in Bosnia (white genocide) while largely ignoring Rwanda (black genocide).

Do we have to change the gatekeepers (editors who decide what prints) if these events are to make it past the cutting floor? If that’s what has to be done, how can we change the gatekeepers? If we can’t change the gatekeepers, then what? How do we get the story out, let the world know what’s going on?

Serious questions. It really does bother me.