On the fateful Tuesday evening that Professor Atta Mills passed on, I met with a Ghanaian friend who works in Nairobi to catch up. My friend received a phone call from Ghana, in which the caller announced that Mills was dead and then promptly hung up. We thought at first it was a prank since Mills had died many times before, courtesy of rumour mongers and distractors. However, after considering the finality of the caller’s tone we scampered for the internet, immediately checking Twitter and myjoyonline.com, a popular Ghanaian news site. The websites confirmed that Professor Atta Mills had indeed just passed on at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra.
Pakistan is increasingly discarding its role as an ally in the war on terror that it used to get arms and funds from the West and has now launched a campaign of defiance, even as the US finalized its plans to quit Afghanistan at the NATO Chicago Conference on 21 May. In a display of brinkmanship and responding to aid cut by the US Senate, it has even resorted to heaping insults, almost daily, on the US.
In the aftermath of the Great Depression and World War II, social democratic ideals including welfare, social rights and moves towards equality became the basis for the transformation of European and North American societies through governmental intervention in social and economic dynamics. Considering present US reticence to federal taxation and spending, it is hard to believe Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. In the present crisis, the state of emergency is thwarting democratic debate to the extent that realist urgency, emergency and necessity are fast becoming the only currency of political debate, the only valid principles.
On 27 June 2012, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner stood at a podium and ad-libbed a farewell speech to her country’s Olympic team as they made final preparations for their departure to the London 2012 Games. Kirchner reassured her nation that despite the recent increase in tensions over the Falkland Islands sovereignty dispute, and despite competing in the capital city of the country with whom the dispute exists, neither her government nor the Olympic team would do anything during the Games that does not have to do with sports. During the competition, said Kirchner, Argentina would compete, represent its flag, and not do anything outside of sport to draw attention to itself.
The Founding of a Republic, a Chinese state-sponsored film celebrating the founding of the People's Republic of China and the victory of communism over the Kuomintang, is a rather spectacular production. Jackie Chan as well as every nationally and internationally renowned Chinese actor and actress was recruited to raise its profile through minor cameos. Its greatest achievements, however, are firstly the beautifully texturised accuracy of the historical rendition, and most importantly how it avoids discussing the essence of communism.
Recent weeks have seen South Africa’s crime intelligence boss, Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli, suspended, reinstated, and suspended for a career third time by the Acting National Police Commissioner, Major General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, pending an ongoing court inquiry into the 1999 murder of Mdluli’s former lover’s husband, Oupa Ramogibe.
The election in March 2012 of Joachim Gauck as Germany’s President demonstrates a remarkable achievement of recent German history. For the first time since unification in October 1990, Germany has a Chancellor and President from the former East Germany. Widely admired both for the size of its export oriented economy, Europe’s largest, and for its more enlightened way of doing capitalism, Germany had the capability and the necessary goodwill before the start of the Eurozone crisis to take a positive leadership role during the downturn. Its voice within the EU is very strong, as it has been since the EU’s inception. Yet Germany has squandered these advantages.