Periscope – World in Focus

October, 2013

  • 8 October

    A New Burst of Energy in Africa’s Industrial Activity

    Carlos Lopes, the executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), often talks about Toblerone, the famous chocolate bar manufactured in Switzerland by Kraft Foods, an $18 billion company. Cocoa for Toblerone bars is imported, probably from Africa, where 70% of the world’s cocoa is harvested. Mr. Lopes once pointed this out to Côte d’Ivoire’s president, Alassane …

  • 6 October

    Democratic Republic of Congo at a Crossroads

    GDP growth is soaring, inflation is low, and the resource potential is huge. Can the Democratic Republic of Congo achieve its potential or will vested interests trip it up? On the 53rd anniversary of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) independence from Belgium on 30 June, President Joseph Kabila said the country has “all of the advantages necessary to join …

  • 6 October

    Why Deadlock in US-Afghan Security Pact Talks?

    Negotiations between Afghanistan and the United States over a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) have reached a crucial stage as the two sides are wrangling over key terms of the pact that would allow presence of US forces in Afghanistan beyond 2014. American officials have renewed warnings that the delay in reaching a timely agreement on the future status of the …

  • 3 October

    Gazans say Egypt is Now Turning The Screw

    GAZA: The shift of power in Egypt over the past few months has led not just to border closures for those wanting to cross into the country from Gaza, but also to a sharp reduction in the transport of basic goods, as well as fishing rights, further isolating residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). The Egyptian Army says that since …

  • 3 October

    No Clear Trends Ahead of Afghan Presidential Elections

    No other topic is of interest for Kabul’s chattering classes these days than the upcoming presidential election. The making and breaking of political and electoral alliances, the likely candidates and the expected winner are discussed threadbare as the Afghans prepare for their third presidential election since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. This would be the first election …

  • 2 October

    Maldives Election Fiasco: ‘Betrayal of Democracy’

      An Indian Ocean archipelago of more than 1,992 coral islands scattered across the Equator, the Maldives is known for its emerald green waters and pristine beaches. Visiting tourists usually view it as a tranquil paradise. Maldivian politics, though, have rarely been peaceful. A British protectorate until 1965, the Maldives has been under authoritarian rule for most of its post-Independence …

September, 2013

  • 28 September

    What’s With The Skullcaps?

      Nepal has two months to go for polls, India’s general elections are six months away, and bizarre things are happening as campaigning picks up. But even by subcontinental standards, nothing can quite surpass the spectacle of India’s Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) bringing to its rallies people sporting skullcaps and burqas and shepherding them into a reserved enclosure as happened …

  • 28 September

    Iran to Unveil New Submarine, UAVs, Fighter Jets

      Over the last few days Iranian defense and military leaders have announced that they will soon unveil a slew of new domestically built weapon systems, including submarines, advanced torpedoes, surveillance and possibly combat UAVs, fighter jets and various kinds of missiles. Shortly after taking over the Defense Ministry, for instance, Hossein Dehqan announced that Iran would be unveiling a …

  • 27 September

    US and Chinese Interests Align in Pakistan

      Although Barack Obama and Xi Jinping sported wide grins and open collars at a June summit in California, the forced collegial atmosphere didn’t pass the smell test. “There is enormous scope for future cooperation between China and the U.S.” President Xi told skeptical reporters at a press conference following the bilateral meeting. The cordial rhetoric proved unconvincing to the assembled press corps, …

  • 26 September

    Uncertain Future of Myanmar’s Democratic Reforms

      John Blaxland recently acknowledged that return to military rule in Myanmar is becoming an increasingly marginal (but not impossible) prospect. The expected international and domestic retaliatory actions to a return to military rule in Myanmar are a major deterrent, as they could potentially derail Myanmar’s political stability, economic development and threaten important cease-fires. This, combined with an entrenched position in the …