Africa

CNN reported yesterday that China may be on the verge of  banning human consumption of dogs and cats and imposing fines of as much as 500,000 renminbi (about $73,000) on shops and restaurants that serve the meat and up to 15 days in jail for their customers. The ostensible reason is cruelty: the animals are treated horribly and confined in tiny cages in deplorable conditions. But this can’t be the real reason. Plenty of other animals are treated as badly, or worse. The life of a pig prior to slaughter is no picnic either. The real reason seems to be that given by a certain Professor Chang Jiwen of the Chinese Academy of the Social Sciences, who is one of the law’s top campaigners. “Cats and dogs are loyal friends to humans,” he said. “A ban on eating them would show China has reached a new level of civilization.” [click to continue…]

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South African President Jacob Zuma, currently on a three-day state visit to Britain, has come in for a rough time in the British press, which has castigated him for his polygamous habits.  Stephen Robinson, writing in The Daily Mail, calls him a “sex-obsessed bigot with four wives and 35 children” and wonders why Britain is “fawning over this “vile buffoon.” [click to continue…]

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My friend Lumumba Stanislaus-Kaw Di-Aping made a splash at the recent Copenhagen Climate Conference, likening its final communiqué, which committed signatories (non-bindingly) to a 2.0-degree Celsius maximum rise in average global temperatures over preindustrial levels, to the Holocaust.   Lumumba, Sudan’s Ambassador to the United Nations and the spokesman for the G-77 group of developing countries, said that a two-degree rise in average global temperatures would mean a three-degree-plus rise for Africa and that nothing short of a maximum increase of 1.5 degrees and a 60% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 could be accepted. He also called the U.S. commitment to try to increase spending on climate change mitigation to $100 billion annually by 2020 a “negotiating ploy” and said that $400 billion to $500 billion a year, starting now, was a more appropriate figure. [click to continue…]

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A Senegalese Follower of American Politics

A Senegalese Follower of American Politics

President Obama’s poll ratings may be suffering in the United States, but he remains wildly popular in Africa. The porter who showed me to my room in the Lagon 2 Hotel in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, on learning that I am American told me, “Monsieur Obama is not just the President of America, he is President of all the Africans.” At a meeting later in the week in the offices of a firm of engineering consultants, one staff member sported a baseball cap with “Barack Obama” in big letters. Taxi drivers all over town have a pine-tree-shaped stars and stripes air freshener hanging from the rear-view mirror. Obama is much more popular than Senegal’s octogenarian President Abdoulaye Wade, who comes in for daily, and increasingly vituperative, criticism in the country’s independent press. [click to continue…]

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I subscribe to the “Stock Gumshoe” blog, which specializes in ferreting out the truth behind those teaser ads for scores of investment newsletters and tipsheets that promise you 1,400% returns in six months, but only if you take advantage of this limited time subscription offer, a $1,000 value for only $695. In addition to debunking these extravagant claims, the blog’s publisher and author, Travis Johnson, analyzes various investment opportunities he finds interesting, some of them off the beaten track, and he doesn’t charge you hundreds of dollars to reveal the names and details. Recently he posted a lengthy article on Africa, with a particular focus on Lonrho, a U.K.-based company with a long history in Africa and a newly revitalized Afro-centric investment strategy. Here is my comment, posted on Travis’s blog: [click to continue…]

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