Sunday, July 1, 2007

Weekend Roundup

Here are some interesting stories from this weekend. The first is from the Times (London):

ZIMBABWE’S leading cleric has called on Britan to invade the country and topple President Robert Mugabe. Pius Ncube, the Archbishop of Bulawayo, warned that millions were facing death from famine, unable to survive amid inflation believed to have soared to 15,000%.

Mugabe, 83, had proved intransigent despite the “massive risk to life”, said Ncube, the head of Zimbabwe’s 1m Catholics. “I think it is justified for Britain to raid Zimbabwe and remove Mugabe,” he said. “We should do it ourselves but there’s too much fear. I’m ready to lead the people, guns blazing, but the people are not ready.”

Some parts of Zimbabwe have seen 95% of crops fail, leaving families with only two or three weeks’ food supply to last a year. Prices in the shops are more than doubling every week and Christopher Dell, the American ambassador, predicts that by the end of the year inflation could hit 1.5m%.

Yes, that's when you know things are bad: when people actually want an invasion. The second article is a Guardian report on the sad situation of Alan Johnston, kidnapped by Jaish al-Islam in the Gaza Strip:
The arrest of two militants from the radical group holding BBC correspondent Alan Johnston hostage has put the journalist's life in great danger, according to sources in Gaza and within the group itself. Johnston, who was kidnapped on 12 March, today endures his 111th day in captivity. On Monday a video of him wearing what seemed to be an explosives vest was released by his captors.

Hamas security forces snatched two members of Jaish al-Islam on their way from dawn prayers on Tuesday and held them at the former Fatah military intelligence HQ. According to a Jaish member, one of the arrested men was given a mobile phone to call his comrades as a start of negotiations to swap them for Johnston, but instead the man told them not to bargain for their freedom.

Moderates in the Dogmosh family say that Jaish al-Islam, while always devoutly religious, has become more radicalised and closer to al-Qaeda in the past year with the arrival of veterans of wars in Chechnya and Iraq, and they fear their relative Mumtaz has fallen under the sway of al-Qaeda's brand of global jihad, rather than resisting Israeli operations and occupation. These new members have brought with them experience, both military and religious. It also explains demands for the release of Islamic militants not linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
You also know things are bad when there's a hostage situation and Hamas is your best hope. Third, check out this article from the Economist:
A NEW disease is abroad in eastern Germany: Frauenmangel, lack of women. In some towns there are only 75 young women for every 100 young men. In one or two there are as few as 40. The effects are worrying, not only because populations may shrink but also because of the existence of a growing underclass of young men who are partnerless, underqualified and jobless.

The few women who stay prefer single parenthood to hitching themselves to useless partners—benefits for single mothers are generous. It is women who are now masters of their destinies. The study, which combines reportage with figures, tells of frustrated gangs of youths drinking outside supermarkets and sleeping on their loading ramps.
Thank goodness I attend a small liberal arts college, where the girls outnumber the men! Finally, an article from the Los Angeles Times entitled "In Iowa, 6 GOP hopefuls, 1 party line":
One by one, half a dozen Republican presidential hopefuls auditioned Saturday before an Iowa audience of economic and social conservatives, pledging lower taxes, tougher border enforcement and a tighter-fisted approach to federal spending.

The candidates also echoed one another in reiterating their opposition to abortion and to legalizing same-sex marriage.

"One man. One woman. Lifetime relationship," said former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who joined former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in advocating a constitutional amendment spelling out that domestic arrangement.
Of course, they don't support an amendment that would spell out that domestic arrangement; last time I checked, the proposed amendment didn't outlaw divorce.

That's all for now. Stay tuned!

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