Friday, April 30, 2010

Africa: Study finds African broadband market near tipping point

Africa: Study finds African broadband market near tipping point:
In report titled 'The Future of African Broadband: Economics, Business Models and the Rise of 3G ' Premium Pack' the search engine said: 'The African bandwidth revolution is nearly here, with all its implications for subscriber growth, social transformation business models and investment opportunities."

Western Mining Companies and Slave Labor in Eritrea

Western Mining Companies and Slave Labor in Eritrea
Among the many negative roles that these Western mining companies are already playing are the following three:

1. Slave labor: The totalitarian regime is known for using extensive slave labor in its “development projects” under that misleading policy of “self-reliance” that every totalitarian system invokes to control the economy and its people. And now, given that almost all of the local companies subcontracted to do various jobs in the mining projects are government owned, slave labor has become a pervasive problem in these areas.
2. Forced displacement: The forced displacement of indigenous populations from the mining areas and their surroundings has become an ongoing phenomenon, something that will even get worse if any armed sabotage is conducted in any one of these areas. The scorched earth approach that the regime has been using in the Kunama area is a case in point, where a whole ethnic group has been being targeted to pacify a corridor that it is considered too close to the Bisha mining project to be left “unmonitored”.
3. A lifeline to the regime: With monetary aid from outside and revenues from Diaspora Eritreans dwindling, the regime’s hard currency reserve has been totally depleted. If so, with the revenues from the mining projects starting to flow into the PFDJ coffers at a time when the regime is economically challenged, theirs will be the only lifeline that will keep this totalitarian regime afloat, thereby extending the misery of the Eritrean masses unnecessarily for years to come.

IRIN Africa | KENYA: "Merry-go-round" micro-finance keeps slum residents fed | East Africa | Kenya | Education Gender Issues Health & Nutrition Urban Risk | Feature

IRIN Africa | KENYA: "Merry-go-round" micro-finance keeps slum residents fed | East Africa | Kenya | Education Gender Issues Health & Nutrition Urban Risk | Feature:
Meeting weekly, the 23 Msingi Bora members each contribute 50 shillings (60 US cents), which is pooled for members to take loans from. At each meeting, the members also contribute 20 shillings (26 US cents) each - to be given to one member in what they term their 'merry-go-round' as they draw lots to determine the order of receiving the money.

FT Alphaville � Can Portugal cut it?

FT Alphaville � Can Portugal cut it?:
It’s all going a bit Greek.

Greek Crisis Threatens Whole Balkan Region :: BalkanInsight.com

Greek Crisis Threatens Whole Balkan Region :: BalkanInsight.com:

Cocaine smugglers use sophisticated methods in Europe, EU says | Earth Times News

Cocaine smugglers use sophisticated methods in Europe, EU says | Earth Times News:
Innovative techniques include incorporating cocaine base into materials such as beeswax, plastic or clothing, according to the EMCDDA, which is a European Union agency.

The drug is then extracted in special laboratories, about 40 of which were discovered in the EU in 2008.

Drug Barons Take Advantage Of Ghana's Loose Borders

Drug Barons Take Advantage Of Ghana's Loose Borders– :
The Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), Mr. Akrasi-Sarpong, says despite efforts by the board to control the drug menace that has bedeviled the country, security at the country's borders are not tight enough in curtailing the increasing rate of drug trafficking.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Italian town's plight underscores local impact of global economic crisis

Italian town's plight underscores local impact of global economic crisis

Local governments every - but in Italy in particular - are experiencing financial stress.

Mafia ran ’slave’ gangs in southern Italy, police say.

Mafia ran ’slave’ gangs in southern Italy, police say.:
African farm workers were treated as little better than slaves by their mafia handlers sparking widespread riots, a police investigation into the violence four months ago has found.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hunt of the Sea Wolves � Blog Archive � Admiral says ocean too big to patrol, ships need armed guards to fight pirates

Hunt of the Sea Wolves � Blog Archive � Admiral says ocean too big to patrol, ships need armed guards to fight pirates:
“The area is enormous and we just do not have enough assets to cover every place in the Indian Ocean,” said Fitzgerald, who commands U.S. Naval Forces in Europe and Africa.


If true, then the Navy has ceded its monopoly on the legitimate use of force.

Drug Trafficking and the Political Transition in Guinea

Drug Trafficking and the Political Transition in Guinea

The crackdown on drug trafficking that seemed to be taking place under Dadis Camara now appears to be winding down.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Detained Guinea Bissau Army chief ‘tortured’

Detained Guinea Bissau Army chief ‘tortured’:
Following reports of his ill health, it has emerged that the detained head of Guinea Bissau ’s army, Zamora Induta, in fact underwent torture in the hands of his captors.
According to the Senegalese daily newspaper Le Quotidien (Monday 18th April, 2010) the Guinea Bissau Army Chief of Defense Staff is reported to be vomiting blood after being subjected to torture following his arrest and detention at the Mansoa military airbase on April 1st, 2010.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Foreign Investors Safeguarded From Obligations to Locals

Foreign Investors Safeguarded From Obligations to Locals:
The recent large-scale acquisition of land in Kenya and in Africa in general happens on murky terrain as governments negotiate behind closed doors. Some NGOs are trying to find and dispense information about the deals but only a small part of agreements becomes known.

FT.com / Columnists / Wolfgang Munchau - Greece’s bail-out only delays the inevitable

FT.com / Columnists / Wolfgang Munchau - Greece’s bail-out only delays the inevitable

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Reuters AlertNet - Mexico drug cartels migrate to Caribbean - leaders

Reuters AlertNet - Mexico drug cartels migrate to Caribbean - leaders

As readers of this blog well know, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic are seriously being affected by drug traffic.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Reports: Serbian cocaine kings earned and laundered billions | Earth Times News

Reports: Serbian cocaine kings earned and laundered billions | Earth Times News:
Belgrade - A Balkan crime group suspected of cocaine trade has laundered more than 1 billion euros (1.34 billion dollars) in Serbia alone, the Belgrade daily Blic reported Saturday, quoting police sources.

YouTube - Author Smith Says Optimism on Greece May Be `Overdone'

YouTube - Author Smith Says Optimism on Greece May Be `Overdone'

MediaGlobal: Aid organizations highlight 'quiet corruption' in Africa

MediaGlobal: Aid organizations highlight 'quiet corruption' in Africa:
“Quiet corruption” is a new concept, which has not yet been accurately identified by government or non-government organizations. The World Bank defines quiet corruption as a lack of services usually involving malpractice in health clinics and absentee teachers in the education sector. According to the World Bank, the familiar form of corruption is just the “tip of the iceberg,” while “quiet corruption” is below the surface and far more insidious. Consequences for ‘quiet corruption’ are far less severe or go completely unnoticed, however, the impact on the poor communities is widespread and far more damaging.

The Sahara's new cargo: drugs and radicalism - Unfree Media - Middle East & N Africa

The Sahara's new cargo: drugs and radicalism - Unfree Media - Middle East & N Africa:
A fusion of illicit money-making and radical politics is turning the big empty spaces of the western half of the Sahara into a profound security challenge, says Stephen Ellis.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

International companies in Mexico now target for cartel attacks | Homeland Security News Wire

International companies in Mexico now target for cartel attacks | Homeland Security News Wire:
Until recently, few criminals dared to touch the factories and offices of the hundreds of multinational corporations -- or maquilas -- in Reynosa, Maxico; amid a violent three-way war among two cartels and the military, the maquilas are no longer untouched; none of the 140 maquiladoras in Reynosa's eleven industrial parks have pulled out of the area, but many have developed exit strategies in case the violence does not abate.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Drug gang planned to kill top officials"

Drug gang planned to kill top officials":
Darko Šarić's drug gang was planning murders of some high-ranking state officials, says Justice Ministry State Secretary Slobodan Homen.

[ [--"Drug gang planned to kill top officials"

[Drug gang planned to kill top officials": "Darko Šarić's drug gang was planning murders of some high-ranking state officials, says Justice Ministry State Secretary Slobodan Homen."

Monday, April 12, 2010

BOPA | Drug trafficking rife in Africa report

BOPA | Drug trafficking rife in Africa report:
Like other African countries, Botswana is still struggling with the problem of the use of habit forming drugs. In an interview, the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Christopher Mbulawa said the police are experiencing an upsurge in drug trafficking and abuse.

Mr Mbulawa said in the previous years, Botswana was a transit area for drugs such as dagga, ecstasy, mandrax and cocaine but the situation has changed.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

AFP: G.Bissau's ousted army chief 'seriously ill'

AFP: G.Bissau's ousted army chief 'seriously ill':
"This is very definitely due to the poor conditions in which he is detained,"

'Piracy Today' Book Excerpt - WSJ.com

'Piracy Today' Book Excerpt - WSJ.com


Automation has made ship crews so small that equally small pirate crews can capture them.

Flare Network � Blog Archive � Italy seizes billion-dollar holdings from crime clan

Flare Network � Blog Archive � Italy seizes billion-dollar holdings from crime clan:
That represents just a fraction of the estimated 135 billion euros in revenues generated last year by Italy’s four main crime syndicates....

Friday, April 9, 2010

Greece And The Fatal Flaw In An IMF Rescue � The Baseline Scenario

Greece And The Fatal Flaw In An IMF Rescue � The Baseline Scenario


Another discussion of Greece's woes.

What nobody seems to recognize that the Balkans already were a mess with Greece serving actually as an anchor of stability.

A financial meltdown in Greece will not be good for the rest of the Balkans.

Africa’s Drug Problem - NYTimes.com

Africa’s Drug Problem - NYTimes.com:
Just as the efficient marketplaces of the world’s financial capitals serve as the nexus for global trade, so ungoverned or remote places offer an indispensable service for global criminals.

duels.pdf (application/pdf Object)

Dueling apparently was once an econmically rational means to demonstrate one's creditworthiness.

Perhaps Goldman Sach's executives should validate themselves this way?

Krugman - Learning From Greece - NYTimes.com

Krugman - Learning From Greece - NYTimes.com:
The debt crisis in Greece is approaching the point of no return.

Drug trafficking threatens Dominican Republic polls, top Electoral judge warns - DominicanToday.com

Drug trafficking threatens Dominican Republic polls, top Electoral judge warns - DominicanToday.com:
Julio Cesar Casta�os said the next elections will test the ability of politics to fend off potential financing from drug traffickers. “These next elections are important because our political system is being tested by the threats of drug trafficking, which always tries to finance politicians to try to obtain adhesion with popular elected officials and obtain certain facilities and concealment of its criminal activities.”

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

Seeking Mr. Coke - The Globe and Mail

Seeking Mr. Coke - The Globe and Mail:
However, the stalling over the August, 2009 request to extradite Christopher 'Dudus' Coke has caused a rift in the relationship with Washington. The incident threatens to expose political corruption in the government of Prime Minister Bruce Golding, underscoring the reality that criminal gangs and politics are still linked in Jamaica, as the two main political parties rely on 'garrison dons' or heads of urban communities to produce votes during elections.

Greek deputy PM says Portugal may be next victim: report | Reuters

Greek deputy PM says Portugal may be next victim: report | Reuters:
The sort of debt problems seen in Greece are likely to spread further in the euro zone and Portugal could be the next victim, Greek Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos was on Monday quoted as saying.

African landrush

African landrush:
India’s farmland is now international. In Africa, South America and South East Asia, companies that are Indian or Indian-owned have bought or leased hundreds of thousands of hectares to grow foodgrain, pulses and edible oil. Their acquisitions and activities are seen as backed by the central government in a tacit furthering of India’s food security mission.

YouTube - Misha Glenny A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld

YouTube - Misha Glenny A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Guinea-Bissau: more instability in cocaine hotspot

Guinea-Bissau: more instability in cocaine hotspot

In another power play, after arresting the prime minister and army chief, deputy army chief General Antonio Indjai proclaimed himself the new army head and threatened to kill the prime minister.

For Moncrieff, the events were predictable. Induta “has never had solid control over the army, it was obvious from the beginning”, he said. “General Antonio Indjai was becoming more and more powerful.” An increasing overlap between soldiers and politicians was creating an alliance that could “cause Bissau’s political balance to explode”, he added.

One surprising development was that Indjai appeared alongside ex-navy chief Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchute, a controversial figure who fled the country in 2008 after having been accused of staging a coup attempt. Tchute has also been suspected of involvement in cocaine trafficking.

Guinea-Bissau PM resumes post after brief detention

Guinea-Bissau PM resumes post after brief detention:
Reports also said the former chief of defense staff, General Jose Zamora Induta, was still confined to the air base near the capital Bissau.

Induta and 40 other officers were also arrested in Thursday's mutiny, in which deputy army chief Antonio Indjai replaced him.

The East African�- Kenya’s underground economy emerges into the open

The East African�- Kenya’s underground economy emerges into the open:
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) says cash circulating in the informal sector has dropped by over 50 per cent, from Ksh9 billion ($120 million) in 2008 to Ksh4.9 billion ($65 million) this March.

CBK governor Njuguna Ndung’u told The EastAfrican that the drop resulted from increased penetration of banks in rural and low income areas as well as the ongoing reforms in the sector, which have enhanced competition.

Microfinance banks aggressive lenders even in hard times

Microfinance banks aggressive lenders even in hard times:
Bankers say that the large informal economy of Pakistan has turned out to be an untapped market of hundreds of thousands of individuals, who do not qualify for any loans from conventional commercial banks.

The 10p cocaine byproduct turning Argentina’s slum children into the living dead : ArgentinaReporter.com

The 10p cocaine byproduct turning Argentina’s slum children into the living dead : ArgentinaReporter.com:
Essentially a chemical waste product, paco is what remains from the narco-kitchens producing cocaine bound for US and European markets. Since its appearance on the streets of Buenos Aires in the late 1990s, the drug has taken a deadly grip in slums such as Itat�. �Levels of addiction rose by more than 200% in the first part of the decade and more than 400,000 doses are now being consumed daily.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Guinea-Bissau's PM released from house arrest - Boston.com

Guinea-Bissau's PM released from house arrest - Boston.com:
A government spokesman says Guinea-Bissau's prime minister has been released from house arrest after an apparent coup attempt.

Renegade soldiers threatened to kill the leader Thursday and detained the head of the armed forces.

Mamodou Djau says that soldiers have left Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Jr.'s home, but police remain there to maintain order. He says that the prime minister will meet with the president Friday to discuss the coup attempt.

Guinea Bissau President says no coup, PM under house arrest

President says no coup, PM under house arrest:
The President of Guinea-Bissau, Malam Bacai Sanha, says there has not been a coup d’etat, dismissing Thursday’s detention of the Prime Minister and Army Chief of Staff as military infighting. Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior remains under police surveillance and the Army Chief of Staff is still in military custody.

Pirates extending range of terror on the high seas - The Irish Times - Fri, Apr 02, 2010

Pirates extending range of terror on the high seas - The Irish Times - Fri, Apr 02, 2010:
“My greatest fear is they will attack shipping lanes towards the Persian gulf south of Colombo, where China and Japan get 80 per cent of their oil,” says Burnett. “If that’s the case, it will have a serious impact on the global economy.

Multinational base in Rio de Janeiro will monitor drug trafficking � LatAmMil

Multinational base in Rio de Janeiro will monitor drug trafficking � LatAmMil:
Its objective is to monitor drug trafficking in the region and will be linked with existing bases in Key West, Florida in the United States and Lisboa, capital of Portugal.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Soldiers seize head of Guinea-Bissau's army, briefly detain PM in West African nation | San Francisco Examiner

Soldiers seize head of Guinea-Bissau's army, briefly detain PM in West African nation | San Francisco Examiner


This was apparently a coup attempt.

Sierra Leone takes steps to combat drug trafficking and corruption – UN official

Sierra Leone takes steps to combat drug trafficking and corruption – UN official
22 March 2010 – Sierra Leone has made considerable progress in its efforts to combat the problems of illicit drug trafficking and corruption, but little has been done to implement programmes to create employment for the youth in the West African country, a senior United Nations official said today.

The establishment by the Sierra Leonean Government of the Joint Drug Interdiction Taskforce with support from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and other partners was a significant achievement, Michael von der Schulenburg, the Secretary-General’s Executive Representative to Sierra Leone told a Security Council meeting in New York. The taskforce will now be upgraded to a transitional crime unit, he added.

Mr. Schulenburg also noted the “bold steps” taken by Sierra Leone in the fight against corruption, citing a string of recent arrests and convictions of both low-ranking and senior officials on charges related to corruption.

Efforts to create employment opportunities for the youth have, however, not been as successful, said Mr. Schulenburg, who is also the head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL).

“Over the last two years, there have been many plans and assessments but they have resulted in relatively few tangible programmes that would significantly impact the lives of a sizeable number of the youth,” Mr. Schulenburg said when introducing the Secretary-General’s fourth report on UNIPSIL to the Council. “I believe the responsibility for this must be equally shared by the Government and its international development partners,” he added.

Commenting on Sierra Leone’s presidential, parliamentary and local elections scheduled for 2012, Mr. Schulenburg said the polls will pose significant challenges for the country, not least because of the increasingly ethnic-based politics that have created north-south divisions based on ethno-politico loyalties.

He expressed concern that UNIPSIL was having difficulties raising the US$200 million it has requested to implement its peacebuilding strategy in Sierra Leone.

“This poses fundamental credibility issues for us; ultimately, the lack of funding could even jeopardize our approach to peacebuilding,” he said.

UNIPSIL was established by the Security Council in 2008 to continue UN efforts to augment peace in Sierra Leone following the end of the country’s civil war in 2002. It has the mandate of providing political advice to foster peace and political consolidation, offering support and training to the national police and security forces and strengthening democratic institutions.

Challenges remain for Sierra Leone, despite acknowledgement on corruption – Ban

Challenges remain for Sierra Leone, despite acknowledgement on corruption – Ban
18 March 2010 – Welcoming the recognition by Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma that corruption poses a serious threat to the West African country, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says that while he is encouraged by some improvements in its political climate, challenges to fostering political tolerance and promoting non-violence remain.

“There is an urgent need to build trust and mutual confidence between major political parties,” the Secretary-General states in his latest report on the work of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL), designed to keep the country from slipping back into the violence that marked the long-running civil war that ended in 2002.

Noting recent clashes between the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) and the major opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Mr. Ban calls on both political parties to abide by the code of conduct in the joint communiqué of 2 April 2009.

The clashes “do not augur well for the peace and stability of the country,” nor for the presidential elections scheduled for 2012, he writes.

Looking at development within the country, the Secretary-General appeals to the international community to fill an anticipated shortfall in donor funding for the implementation of the Government’s so-called Agenda for Change, the national poverty reduction plan which focuses on ensuring a reliable power supply; increasing productivity in agriculture and fisheries; improving the national transportation network; and boosting social services.

“The attainment of these goals will in turn help to improve the difficult socio-economic indicators which have all contributed to making Sierra Leone a fragile State, notwithstanding progress thus far achieved,” Mr. Ban says.

He also calls on international development partners to provide additional support to the National Human Rights Commission and the Government’s Special Trust Fund for War Victims. In addition, he requests Member States to donate vehicles and boats for Sierra Leone’s security sector agencies to improve their ability to fight organized crime.