on assignment, Sana'a

on assignment, Sana'a

Collective Intelligence

Alaco's writing on a range of subjects

23.01.2013

Old problems, new fault lines: Kenya’s forthcoming elections

What happens in Kenya affects the whole of east Africa and confidence in African markets more broadly. Kenya is the economic motor for around half the output of the region’s five countries. It is the regional transport, energy and investment hub. So, when Kenya has elections, there is a lot at stake. The next poll – on 4th March – is the first since the country went into near-meltdown of 2007-8. Anyone who cares about Kenya will get increasingly nervous as March approaches.more >
07.01.2013

South Africa: a Zuma-Ramaphosa ‘pre-nup’?

​No one should be surprised that Jacob Zuma saw off the challenge from Kgalema Motlanthe for the ANC leadership at the party conference in Bloemfontein (Mangaung) in December. Zuma’s deficiencies in political leadership have long been balanced by natural skill at the dirty game of insider politics, stretching back to his time as an ANC intelligence operative during apartheid.more >
27.11.2012

Qatar’s green credentials

​Ironies abound in the choice of the diminutive Gulf state of Qatar as host of the latest round of UN climate talks which began this week in the Qatari capital Doha. Those who view Qatar as an incongruous destination for such an event have a long list of embarrassing facts to point to.more >
23.11.2012

Fantasy Island

​An island long believed to be in the middle of the Coral Sea, about 1,200 kilometres due east of Queensland, does not exist, Australian scientists have just discovered. more >
21.11.2012

Resentments continue to rise in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Violent protests took place across Jordan last week following Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour’s announcement of a package of austerity measures, including the cancellation of state fuel subsidies. Protesters in Amman clashed with security forces and demonstrators in other parts of the country called for a full-scale revolution.more >
16.11.2012

All change and no change: China’s leadership transition

​In the run-up to China’s 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), it was business as usual with taxi drivers in Beijing ordered to remove the winding handles from the rear windows in their vehicles to stop passengers handing out leaflets with “adverse information”. more >
16.11.2012

Ukrainian Elections

On 28th October 2012 Ukraine held its much-anticipated parliamentary election – significant change was hoped for if the opposition came to power. The Central Election Commission of Ukraine finalised the count on 12th November 2012 with 440 deputies elected: the ruling Party of Regions boasted 185 deputies, while the main opposition party Batkivschyna came in with only 101. Among the more unusual results was the single-mandate constituency won by Ukrainian entrepreneur and billionaire Kostyantyn Zhevago. The elections for five single-mandate constituencies where results could not be established are to be repeated.more >
12.11.2012

Islamist Politics and the Arab Spring

Although future historians might have little difficulty in dating the beginning of the ‘Arab Spring’ to the first outbreak of unrest in Sidi Bouzid in December 2010, almost two years in we are now no closer to understanding what they might make of its legacy. While in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia popular movements have successfully completed the removal of entrenched governments, a number of others continue to undergo major civil unrest, with the likely outcome unclear.more >
12.06.2012

Lost in translation

Every journalist will tell you that the integrity of sources is paramount, whatever and wherever the story. Recently, I’ve witnessed how they need to be treated with extra care when news is translated or reported second-hand.more >

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