This morning Eastern Ukraine woke up to what is supposed to be the ceasefire that leads to peace. On Thursday night in Minsk, Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande managed to bring Putin and Poroshenko to a deal to end the violence; a deal that the rebels also signed up to. With the agreement being that the guns would fall silent at midnight Saturday, the artillery pounded away until the last minute. This morning though, the quiet seems to have held so far, with only sporadic shelling. So what does this second Minsk deal agree to? What chance does it have of succeeding? And what will happen if it doesn’t? Continue reading
This week North Korea released 310 new slogans that will be spread around the country to ‘inspire’ its people. They show a preoccupation with food and progress, two things the regime has failed to provide for its people. Just for something different, I’ve been looking through the slogans to find the funniest and most bizarre examples. The translated list of all 310 can be found at the BBC. Continue reading
Today the Nigerian electoral commission announced that the presidential election scheduled for next Saturday would be postponed for 6 weeks, due to the Boko Haram security crisis. President Goodluck Jonathan’s PDP party is pleased with the decision, but the opposition APC party is not. They believe the decision was taken to give the PDP more chance to win, and they have a point. The army apparently forced the commission into the decision by informing them that the military would not be able to provide security for the election at all, as they were busy fighting. However, six weeks is not going to solve a long running and hugely difficult conflict. To make matters worse, all signs point to the elections only bringing more violence.
This week it’s been a struggle to find a single news story that I can really get into on this blog. Events are either continuing that I’ve written plenty on, or are once off events that are hard to come up with much background for. So this Wednesday, here are some events or articles from across the world that I simply found interesting.
With last Sunday’s election of Syriza to power in Greece, the world is waiting for the face off between new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the rest of the Eurozone. Germany, France and now the Netherlands say that there will be no debt reduction. Tsprias says there will be. With both sides so determined, it’s hard to guess at the outcome of the upcoming talks.
The problem is that there are two sides to the story of Greece’s crisis. The first is a tale of epic economic mismanagement, fraud and tax evasion on the part of the Greek government and society. The second describes the misery that Greece has been plunged into since 2008, where austerity has destroyed the job market, the health care system, and the future. Both sides of the story are true. Continue reading
Yesterday the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, at peace for months now, was ripped back into the war. Separatist rebels launched rockets directly at the city, taking its residents by complete surprise and killing 30 people. The attacks follow a month of intensified fighting, with the ruins of Donetsk Airport finally falling to the rebels, and dozens of civilians dying due to artillery. So why is what happened in Mariupol so important, and what does this say about the separatists? Where to from here? And on a more personal note, why do I care so much about Donetsk? Continue reading
Way down the page on Western news sites like BBC, CNN or NOS you may have spotted something about the Houthis and Yemen. It doesn’t sound like a particularly interesting headline, but once you go deeper you realise that without the world’s media really noticing, a Middle Eastern capital has fallen to rebels. After months of a fragile ceasefire, the Houthi rebels have taken over the presidential palace and numerous other buildings in the capital Sana’a. All transport in and out of the country has been suspended. So who are the Houthi rebels? What exactly is going on now? And just how many parties are fighting for control of Yemen? Continue reading