When Joe Mason’s 10-year-old daughter saw electricity for the first time in her life, she danced. The years of war, 1989 to 2003, ruined the public power supply in this capital. Liberians with means relied on generators; those without money, however, lived in the dark. Given her father earns $90 a month as a hotel clerk, Mason’s daughter could not have known what electricity was until President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf turned it on in July 2006, illuminating the lamps on Monrovia’s major streets. “A new day,” Mason said. But more than six months later, the electricity that powers those lights [...]
Despite flat oil exports and a struggling economy, Iraq has embarked on a comprehensive program to re-arm its embattled security forces. The country is buying American patrol planes, Italian naval vessels, Russian helicopters and armored vehicles co-produced by American and British firms. The new equipment is utilitarian stuff — optimized for patrols in and over Iraq’s teeming cities and on its smuggler-infested waters rather than for attacks on external foes — and reflects the complete inward focus of Iraq’s military. But the purchases do little to solve the forces’ nearly complete lack of logistics capability. In early January, working through [...]
African leaders made plain their disappointment and concern over Sudan’s handling of the conflict in its western Darfur region by rejecting the central African country’s bid to lead the African Union during an annual summit this week that also saw a first effort at African mediation by new U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Prosperous and stable Ghana instead assumed the mantle of the 53-member pan-African grouping at the meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, amid warnings from Sudanese rebels that they would attack an under-equipped AU peacekeeping force operating in Darfur should Sudan be tapped to succeed the Congo [...]
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