Thursday, September 18, 2003
Here's a huge update about GM foods...yet another issue that should have been settled in Cancun, but wasn't. There's also this interesting comment:
[I]ncreasingly, it looks like other African nations [besides South Africa] are seeing the potential [of GM foods], too. Piore reports that Uganda will soon allow processed GM foods into the country and has opened a biotech lab, and that Kenya, Nigeria, and Malawi are considering doing so. The BBC adds Egypt and Zimbabwe to the list.

Maybe the tide is turning.

Check out these fantastic pictures.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Here's a couple more Africa-related blogs for your enjoyment. The first is AfricaBlog (which I'll call "the other" AfricaBlog, not to be confused with this one). The second is a Kenyan-oriented blog called Mental Acrobatics. (Sent in by a reader.)

Check 'em out!

It's nice to see an oil company getting some good press for a change:
Shell tells the film crew about the techniques it is using to try to minimise its impact - specially narrow forest roads, for instance, whose verges are seeded with a mulch of indigenous plant seeds and nutrients to encourage growth and prevent erosion.

Land clearance around the wellheads is kept to a minimum, and no permanent settlements are allowed in the forest.

Laura Jackson, of Shell Gabon, explains how technology has advanced: "Recent developments in drilling mean that we no longer have to limit ourselves to vertical holes through the reservoir.

"Now we are able to use our drilling tools to turn the corner and to drill 90 degrees through the reservoir.

"So that should reduce the number of wells we have to drill and also helps our production in the shorter term."


Speaking of bad economics, the Head Heeb notes the Mugabe-made disaster that is Zimbabwe.

The trade talks in Cancun ended with no new agreement. Here's the BBC's roundup. Instapundit, as usual, has some good Cancun-related links. I also liked this article about the WTO on NRO.

Of course it's disappointing that the Cancun meeting ended without any concensus on agriculture subsidies. But the failure of the WTO talks should prod the US into more actively seeking out bilateral trade agreements. Waiting on the WTO to reduce trade barriers is clearly not working.

Since we're into unilateralism these days, let's unilaterally phase out our agricultural export subsidies. We'd probably attract quite a few new trading partners. Unfortunately, I'm afraid that the Bush administration doesn't have the conviction to follow that sort of trade policy.

The UN lifted sanctions on Libya. Apparently this means that terrorist sponsoring countries don't actually have to stop supporting terrorism...they just have to pay enough money to the right people in order to regain international legitimacy. Another embarassing day for the UN.

I thought that this was interesting...oil in Mauritania now.

Charles Taylor, despite his "peaceful" exit from Liberia, is still up to his old tricks:
...Taylor has been in daily phone discussions with his former colleagues, several had traveled to visit him in Calabar.

Through these contacts, the diplomats said, Taylor had continued to orchestrate clashes rebel forces in the interior in violation of a peace agreement signed on 18 August.

"Taylor's parting promise to return to Liberia some day was not taken seriously at the time, but it is increasingly becoming clear that he has started to again play an active role in the war-ravaged country's politics," one senior western diplomat in Monrovia told IRIN.

A military source in the Liberian capital said: "Taylor used the weeks when his departure was being negotiated, to discuss an extensive Plan B with key officials who would remain in the country. Several officials in the current government were part of the plan."

He added: "They plan to maintain strong loyalty within the ranks of the government fighters and support the fighters with funds to buy food and weapons so that they can retain territory. Some food and weapons were ferried from Monrovia to a farm in Maliki for this purpose."

Well, Taylor is obviously violating the terms of his asylum and planning a return to power...which is really unacceptable. I'd love to see the Nigerians send Taylor straight to a prison cell in Freetown, but I'm not holding my breath.

Sunday, September 14, 2003
A military coup in Guinea-Bissau:
Army chief of staff General Verissimo Correia Seabra declared himself interim president after the apparently bloodless dawn putsch, the latest in a series of uprisings to hit President Kumba Yalla's administration.

"I am going to assume the presidency of the republic until there are elections," Correia told Portuguese state television.

Former colonial power Portugal and some African leaders have already issued the obligatory scoldings.

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