Monday, 30 April 2007

Bolivia braced for more unrest over gas field "Miguel Angel Guzm├ín, president of Tarija’s electoral court, said on Thursday that...the Margarita field clearly fell within the bounds of O’Connor province...This disagreement turned violent earlier in the week, when thousands of demonstrators overpowered troops at a pumping station in Yacuiba.." Internal discohesion, We expect to see more and varied examples of this theme during the 21st century, as wealth differentials within nations continue to increase.
Police chief promises change in Nablus "Abdul Sattar Qassem is a professor at Nablus University. He hopes but doubts that the gunmen can be beaten. "They are everywhere," he said in exasperation. "You go to the grocer's, they're there. At the university, they're there, with their guns. They're all over the marketplace." Internal disintegration An underdeveloped economy, no monopoly of legitimate force.
Iraq reconstruction 'not working' "Blaming ongoing unrest and spiralling corruption they said most were falling apart within as little as six months. Faulty plumbing and wiring and looting have reportedly worsened the situation. Corruption amongst Iraqi officials is cited as one of the main causes for the chaos. " Internal disorganisation To be fair, only four years have passed since the invasion. Still, it is hard to imagine that the US' efforts at reconstruction will be as succesful as they were in West Germany and Japan after WW II.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Poland missile plan to raise tensions, Fate of Soviet statue sparks Tallinn riots International discohesion Russia may appear dangerous to those living in its neighbourhood. Yet, compared to, say, the early 1960s when Poland and Estonia were firmly under Moscow's control, the situation has altered considerably. Meanwhile, one could argue that the United States' influence is at an all time high: It has established a firm albeit costly foothold in the Middle East and Central Asia and it is preparing to set up missiles in Eastern Europe, something which would have been unthinkable during the Cold War.
Organised crime wave grips Guatemala "The most visible source of the killings is the rival youth gangs, known as maras, which also operate in Honduras, El Salvador and some parts of Mexico... Even the more conservative government figures of between 20,000 and 50,000 suggest that there are significantly more maras than policemen." Internal disintegration It appears that in many places in Latin America, the illegal economy is almost as if not more powerful than the official economy. Increasingly, the effects of this are being felt in the (southern parts of the) United States and Europe (Spain), where a high demand for drugs persists.
U.S. drug czar's letter: Cocaine prices drop "The drug czar, John Walters, wrote that retail cocaine prices fell by 11 percent from February 2005 to October 2006, to about $135 per gram of pure cocaine -- hovering near the same levels since the early 1990s." International disintegration The "war on terror" is not the only struggle the US seems to be losing.
Independence not just a Scots issue " The idea of independence is a step too far for most here, but many believe that Shetland should have more power. While the young accept that they are both Scottish and Shetlanders, many of the older generation find the very suggestion offensive." Internal discohesion While this particular example may trigger some chuckles, it may also illustrate the trend of growing distrust among the members of larger social entities.
Bomb kills 22 at Pakistani rally "Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao had finished giving a speech at the meeting in Charsadda when the blast occurred, a police official said...The province lies on Pakistan's troubled border with Afghanistan." Internal disintegration
Dip in global pirate ship attacks "Indonesia's decision to bolster the number of sea patrols in its notoriously risky waters resulted in the number of attacks halving since the first quarter of 2006. But the IMB said it was worried by the increasing number of attacks off the coast of Africa." International integration (with regards to East Asia, but not as concerns the coasts off Somalia.)

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Fearful rich keep poor at bay with gated homes and razor wire "The flight into gated communities has also been a feature of post-apartheid South Africa, with the middle classes seeking refuge from crime in what critics dub the "architecture of fear". Internal disintegtion Gated communities and a booming security sector are signs that political authority is fragmenting. The state's ability to provide law and order over its territory as a whole is in decline.
Tamil Tigers in deadly air attack, Fighting rages in north Sri Lanka Internal disintegration
China tops US over Japanese trade "China has overtaken the US as Japan's biggest trading partner for the first time since World War II, the Japanese finance ministry has revealed." Intern(ation)al organisation The United States' advantage is increasingly confined to the military sector.
Shells hit hospital in Mogadishu "Relatives and medical staff ran from the SOS hospital after at least four missiles hit. Casualties are unclear...An estimated 340,000 people have left Mogadishu since February, the UN says." African dark age