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After the Protests – NYTimes.com

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After the Protests – NYTimes.com.

“LAST Wednesday, more than 100,000 people showed up in Istanbul for a funeral that turned into a mass demonstration. No formal organization made the call…Protests like this one, fueled by social media and erupting into spectacular mass events, look like powerful statements of opposition against a regime. And whether these take place in Turkey, Egypt or Ukraine, pundits often speculate that the days of a ruling party or government, or at least its unpopular policies, must be numbered. Yet often these huge mobilizations of citizens inexplicably wither away without the impact on policy you might expect from their scale.
This muted effect is not because social media isn’t good at what it does, but, in a way, because it’s very good at what it does.”

Calculating Coups: Can Data Stop Disasters? | Think Africa Press

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Calculating Coups: Can Data Stop Disasters? | Think Africa Press.

In March 2012, junior officers stage a coup in Mali, throwing the country into disarray. A year later, rebels oust the government of the Central African Republic (CAR), paving the way for widespread violence that has made refugees out of a quarter of the country’s population. And at the end of the year in December, an internal political conflict in South Sudan’s governing party and army escalates into a full-scale civil war, killing ten thousand or more.

These conflicts differ widely in almost every aspect, apart from the sense of surprise and helplessness that they instilled in the international community. Mali was lauded as a democratic role model before some soldiers took power almost by accident. The French government, for decades the kingmaker of the Central African Republic, confessed to being taken blindsided by the speed and viciousness with which the conflict escalated. And in South Sudan, the regional organisation IGAD struggled to respond to the conflict, finding themselves unprepared and at odds over how exactly to proceed.

In all three cases the surprise greatly limited the influence of the international community, which if better prepared could not only have intervened earlier and more effectively but could perhaps even have taken pre-emptive measures. This unpreparedness was even more of a shame because in all three cases, the outbreak of conflict had been predicted by statistical models…

Rwanda rolls out free WiFi for all

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Rwanda rolls out free WiFi for all.

Kigali – It’s a scene any visitor would be surprised to see deep in central Africa: a tech-savvy consumer sitting in a restaurant and surfing a broadband connection with a smartphone, tablet and laptop.

But in a region long associated with war and genocide, Rwanda is busy trying to reinvent itself as a regional high tech hub by rolling out free citywide and eventually nationwide wireless connectivity…

How African innovation can take on the world – CNN.com

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How African innovation can take on the world – CNN.com

via How African innovation can take on the world – CNN.com.

In this period of gloomy economic forecasts, Africa’s rise has become a widely discussed international policy topic. The sweeping optimism about Africa’s economic prospects has been reinforced by 2013 projections that the continent will grow faster than the world average….

BBC News – UK Peace Index highlights rate of fall in violent crime

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BBC News – UK Peace Index highlights rate of fall in violent crime.

For its inaugural index, the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), which defined peace as “the absence of violence or fear of violence”, used Home Office data on crime, such as public disorder offences and weapons crime, and police officer numbers.

 

It found the violent crime rate was down by about one quarter – from 1,255 per 100,000 people in 2003, to 933 in 2012. This was a more rapid fall than the average decrease across western Europe for that period – although not more rapid than all other European countries, as was stated in earlier reports on the BBC News website.

 

These reductions came despite a 6% drop in the number of police officers per 100,000 people, it said…

Can the AU Deliver Pax Africana? | Think Africa Press

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Can the AU Deliver Pax Africana? | Think Africa Press.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia:

Last week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, African Union (AU) leaders celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) – the AU’s predecessor. They spoke of the OAU’s leadership in past liberation struggles and offered lofty visions for the future.

But, in his final speech as AU assembly chairperson, Benin’s President Yayi Boni took a more critical look at the present.

Referring to France’s recent military intervention in northern Mali, he asked: “How can we understand that when danger threatened its very basis, Africa, which has the means to organise its own defence, continued to wait?”

Boni’s frustration speaks more broadly of the AU’s continued difficulty in achieving Pax Africana: a peace kept in Africa, by Africa…

Guilty Pleasure: Slavery and Child Labour in the Production of Chocolate

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Guilty Pleasure: Slavery and Child Labour in the Production of Chocolate.

Posted on December 20, 2012 by

For many, Christmas is upon us once again. And like every other year chocolate will be sold in vast quantities. But unbeknownst to most consumers, some of the chocolate they buy will have partly been the product of slavery and child labour in West Africa.

A bittersweet product

West Africa was responsible for nearly three quarters of the 4.24 million tonnes cocoa beans produced worldwide last year – the Ivory Coast alone produced roughly 1.5 million tonnes, or one third of the world’s production, while Ghana produced over 1 million tonnes. According to some research, these two countries also rely on around 1.8 million child labourers

IPS – China Wants Peace in Africa | Inter Press Service

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IPS – China Wants Peace in Africa | Inter Press Service.

BISHOFTU, Ethiopia, Oct 13 2012 (IPS) – China could soon expand its involvement in peace and security issues in Africa, according to government officials, researchers and academics from both the Asian giant and resource-rich continent who met at the second China-Africa Think Tanks Forum in Ethiopia from Oct. 12 to 13.

Mulugeta Gebrehiwot, the director of the Institute of Peace and Security Studies in Ethiopia that organised the forum, told IPS that it should not come as a surprise that China is interested in peace and security on the African continent.

“There is nothing that is not touched by peace and security. Whether you’re (looking) for investment collaboration, economic operation or anything else. Peace and security has to be in place. Because that’s the central instrument that keeps the environment for any other interaction and collaboration together,” Gebrehiwot said.

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