01.08.2013

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

The US National Security Agency has been operating a mass electronic surveillance data mining program, PRISM, as we now know courtesy of whistleblower Edward Snowden. For the media the focus has been on what national intelligence agencies should be permitted to do with personal digital information, and where the divide between national security and civil liberties should be drawn. But perhaps the more important question to ask is who is watching us in the first place? Corporations are allowed to build up extensive personal profiles on individuals, but this is not given a second thought.more >
19.04.2013

The SFO shows its teeth

David Green is unlikely to celebrate with a birthday cake. Exactly one year since being appointed as the head of the UK Serious Fraud Office Mr Green has seen the body’s reputation questioned by Parliament, attacked by the judiciary and trashed by the media.more >
15.03.2013

The Tide Turns in Malta

On Monday, Malta’s new Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat pledged his support for Malta’s place in Europe. This is perhaps a surprising stance from a former virulently Euro-sceptic journalist who campaigned against Malta’s EU accession. more >
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 >

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