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May 23, 2013 Congo (Kinshasa): U.S.-Trained Battalion Implicated in Rapes
"A Congolese army battalion that received its formative training from the U.S. military went on to commit mass rapes and other atrocities last year, a U.N. investigation has found. Members of the 391st Commando Battalion, a unit created in 2010 with extensive support from the U.S. government, joined with other Congolese soldiers to rape 97 women and 33 girls as they fled a rebel advance in eastern Congo in November, according to the United Nations. U.S. Special Operations forces had spent eight months training the 750-member battalion in a bid to professionalize Congo's ragtag military, which has a long history of rights abuses, including raping and killing civilians." - Washington Post, May 13, 2013
May 13, 2013 Africa: Rise of the Global South
"Although most developing countries have done well, a large number of countries have done particularly well -- what can be called the 'rise of the South'. Some of the largest countries have made rapid advances, notably Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and Turkey. But there has also been substantial progress in smaller economies, such as Bangladesh, Chile, Ghana, Mauritius, Rwanda and Tunisia. ... For the first time in 150 years, the combined output of the developing world's three leading economies -- Brazil, China and India -- is about equal to the combined GDP of the longstanding industrial powers of the North -- Canada, France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom and the United States." - UNDP Human Development Report, 2013
May 8, 2013 USA/Africa: Immigration Reform Needs Fixing
"The recently released Senate immigration reform bill had a mix of carrot and stick approaches to providing the long-awaited path to citizenship for millions of undocumented people living under repressive conditions. While the bill has several good features, it weighs heavily toward very bad and very ugly provisions that will leave out millions of people and will continue the mass detentions and deportations that have become normalized in U.S. society." - Gerald Lenoir, Black Alliance for Just Immigration
Apr 26, 2013 Morocco: Violence against Migrants
"The renewed cooperation efforts between Morocco and Spain which, according to these countries, are focused on the fight against cross-border crime, illegal migration and drug trafficking. are having a serious impact on the physical and mental health of sub-Saharan migrants. Migration policies privilege internal security criteria over respect for fundamental human rights." - David Cantero, Head of Mission in Morocco for Doctors Without Borders (MSF).
Apr 19, 2013 Africa: Towards Structural Transformation?
At a gathering hosted by the Pan African Parliament in February this year, an impressive range of African thinkers, parliamentarians, and civil society organizations called for focusing development efforts on "structural transformation." This was needed, they noted, to overcome the limitations of the Millennium Development Goals and the damaging efforts of "structural adjustment" and more current "austerity" agendas. The points made seem to reflect an emerging consensus within Africa, but, as always, implementation in the face of inertia and vested interests will be a gigantic challenge.
Apr 11, 2013 Nigeria: #Offshoreleaks
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has begun publication of stories from a vast trove of documents revealing transactions in the "offshore world" of tax havens. The data, from an Australian investigation of offshore financial shelters and fraud, held more than 2.5 million records, which are being investigated by dozens of journalists. The total size of the files, measured in gigabytes, is more than 160 times larger than the leak of U.S. State Department documents by Wikileaks in 2010.