North Korea

North Korea
The always bombastic and unpredictable North Koreans go hysterical again. This time the country is prepared to "go to war" with South Korea because that country is playing loudspeakers directed at North Korean territory. A headline from a UK paper reads, "More than 50 North Korea submarines 'leave their bases' as war talks with South continue "

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Time to catch our breath ...

A quiet few days around the world, if you can overlook significant ethnic and political unrest in Kyrgyzstan between Uzbeks and ethnic Kyrgyz. So let's start by saluting the African nation of Ghana. A small country of West Africa that has seen its soccer team beat Serbia in the World Cup to become the first African soccer team to win a match on the Africa continent, which is the first time the World Cup has been held in Africa ... Ghanians can be proud of their country's direction, it is admirably stable - since 1981 anyway. It has an exuberance that extends through sports and beyond (Ghana even had an entry in the Vancouver BC 2010 Winter Olympics) with relatively effective governance (Ghana has lifted itself to its highest ranking ever on the table of African countries with good governance. The ranking, issued by the World Bank in its annual report on governance entitled, Good Governance 2007). So good for you Ghana!

Some quick updates:
The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continues, now nearly 6 times the amount of oil has spilled than the Exxon Valdez and has moved to 4th largest spill ever. (Still just one or two very large tankers worth ...) BP, the company owning the oil and being held responsible for the costs of cleanup and damage claims, is under more serious pressure by the US Government and the Coast Guard to take stronger measures. Over the course of 55 days, several deficiencies in management have surfaced, such as not having enough tankers on hand to methodically collect the volume being collected, and growing instances of slow claim payments, if not reluctance. The US media, on the other hand, seems to have run out of steam in reporting, now reduced to breathlessly reporting when tar balls end up on Alabama, then Florida, and we'll get another spike in coverage if oil makes it around to the East Coast. What else really can a crackerjack reporter report? BP is working through its plan, oil is killing birds and wildlife, President Obama has already shown solidarity with the people and anger at the company several times over. Now its becoming grim, with complete containment unlikely until August when relief wells can cap the bore hole.

The North Korea/South Korea standoff is just that, some discussion is taking place at the UN Security Council.

The Israeli flotilla incident continues to wind towards a re-figuring of how to make a sea blockade of Gaza more sustainable, less confrontive in practice. But larger hostilities still lurk behind the immediate incidents.

Remember the horrendous Haitian earthquake from January? The media coverage has long moved on, but the rebuilding and cleanup efforts continue. Likewise the tropical storm damage in Guatemala is in its cleanup and rebuilding phase. These are the long term processes that see little coverage, but where positive stories abound.

Other issues loom, but it seems for now, as we head towards the summer solstice on June 21, that the World Cup tournament will be a happy respite from existing issues. Go Ghana, and compliments to South Africa for a successful beginning to the games!

Test: Find Ghana and Kyrgystan on the map

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