The Central African Republic, already one of the poorest nations in the world, is descending into chaos. In the capital city of Bangui alone, hundreds have died and nearly 200,000 people have been driven from their homes as a result of continual clashes between government forces, civilian militias, African peacekeepers, and the French military.
It was a dinner conversation that got me thinking about elephants. I was speaking with Rachel Dwyer, a professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and she was telling me about her research. She studies elephants in Bollywood movies. “The definitive film for elephants in Indian cinema has to be ‘Haathi Mere Saathi,’ made in 1971” she says. “It was the biggest [Bollywood] hit up to that point.”
On November 8 Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) struck the central Philippines with devastating effect. The U.S. offered immediate assistance in disaster relief and the next day U.S. Marines began deploying to the Philippines. At a press conference on November 25, Philippines Secretary for Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario stated that the U.S. response demonstrated the need for the early conclusion of a new agreement covering the U.S. military presence in the Philippines.
When discussing democracy in Israel, some people seek to distinguish between what happens within the Green Line and what happens beyond it – an undemocratic regime of occupation. They believe the occupation doesn’t weigh on Israel’s democratic character, both because it’s a temporary situation and because it has the distinction of taking place outside the state’s borders.
In the aftermath of the interim deal between the Iranian regime and the P5 + 1, the dissonance between the smiles on the faces of Iranian and Western negotiators and the frowns of concern of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and senior Israeli cabinet ministers reflect the magnitude of Israel’s challenge over the next six months.
Port-au-Prince is experiencing a building boom in luxury hotels. There is the Royal Oasis, which bills itself as Haiti’s first five-star hotel. The general manager, Jean-Marc Rousseau, shows me a suite with two rooms, two TVs, and a dramatic view of the mountains. I notice a gleaming white building below. “It is The Rancho,” he says. “Our new competitor.”
As Sweden’s foreign minister, Carl Bildt, noted in the wake of the interim deal on Iran’s nuclear program reached in Geneva on Saturday, the effort by Tehran’s negotiating team to explain and justify the country’s push for atomic energy behind closed doors was accompanied by a public diplomacy campaign conducted online.
This evening, 21st November, 2013, Europe met Asia on the lush and verdant lawns of the Spanish Ambassador’s residence in New Delhi. Two of the greatest performers of Flamenco guitar music, with a singer and accompanist and a powerfully expressive female Flamenco dancer performed before a select audience of about 200, the Indian capital’s glitterati. They were joined on the stage by a group of seven Langa musicians and singers from the land of Marwar in Rajasthan.