Wednesday, October 29, 2008

She wants him

Moussa Clarke - She wants him (Blake Jarrell remix)

Click the link to youtube. Black Jarrell will be mixing alongside Armin Van Buuren this Friday at the Roseland Ballroom (for Halloween). Should be a crazy gig...enjoy.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Africa's Free Trade Zone

The Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC) and the the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) have united to create an even larger Free Trade Zone across Africa!

Read more about the zone here. The photo map is from the same BBC article.

-- updated: 11.44pm --

I had a conversation about the zone with two friends, and we decided there were two things at play here: (1) Foreign business, ie: business done with territories outside Africa, is likely to decline because of cheaper inter-African trade; (2) At the same time, African countries become less dependent on financial support from foreign governments and institutions.

What is needed is a balance between successfully reducing inter-African trade restrictions and a healthy injection of investment capital from abroad.

Let's see how this plays out. I'm hoping Tanzania keeps it up when working with the EAC.

bgc3: Bill Gates' new project

So Bill Gates is starting something new up... read here (thanks, Neechi). And here's the website.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Flow's Back

So Grimes wanted me to DJ for one of his concerts back at Lafayette. Along with the plan came 3 other artists, 2 of whom are also Lafayette alums. Should be a great time! November 1...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

More on Pirates...

This article sites that there are still nearly a dozen ships off the coast of Somalia that are under the control of pirates. This includes the MV Faina, a Ukranian ship with tanks and other arms on board.

The United States, Russia and NATO have become increasingly involved in the MV Faina hijacking, and it seems (at least to me) that piracy in Somalia has been gaining much attention over the last couple of weeks.

Since code of international law is murkier on water than on land, it seems these pirates have found an effective source of income. There's a couple of things to think about here.

1) What incentive do the pirates have in hijacking ships and demanding random? Can anything be done to assist their households in gaining self-sufficiency through legitimate work or education?

2) Who do the pirates work for? If they are working for themselves, then point number 1 is appropriate. If they work for conglemorates, what is being done about the source, ie: the leaders, of these piracy groups?

3) Why does Somalia need the surveillance and counter-terrorist abilities of three, very powerful groups, ie: the US, Russia and NATO?

4) If Somalia is being seen as a concentrated area for this kind of activity, can policy makers establish secure boundaries (both literally and figuratively in terms of law) around Somalia's coast?

These are just food for thought that have driven me to follow the issue through these past few weeks. It may well be that some of these pointers have been addressed over years before today, and agreements just haven't been reached (which sucks, because then you get Ukranian ships hijacked with an $8 million price tag).

Having said this, the policy-shaping realm seems to be changing forevermore. Yes the US economy is heavily involved, but so are other factors, such as an increasingly restless generation that is always settling in different places in the world, or the ease with which people can communicate cross-culture/boundary/background.

Just my Sunday thoughts.
ak

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Last Debate

Democratic Senator Barrack Obama and Republican Senator John McCain had their last debate last night... a fairly accurate summary can be found here.

Man, I hope Obama wins.

Friday, October 10, 2008

(Last few) Sunny days

Life in my world hasn't been too harsh, but the world outside my life's been changing fast. I guess this is a good time to be thankful.

It's been sunny lately, and a lot warmer. It's good to have a three day weekend ahead of you.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Failed?

"Pirates from the failed African state of Somalia have attacked at least 61 ships in and around the Gulf of Aden this year, 17 of them in the first two weeks of September alone, according to the International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Center in Malaysia."

So reads a sentence in a report posted on http://www.mareeg.com/ (read the full report here).

"Failed African State"... and since when has there been a Book of Rules Defining a Successful State and a Failed State? Since when do we have standards by which every country must prosper? Since when do we define "failed" as being in a situation of flux, or political or economic instability? Since when does having borders, a capital and a functioning government still mean that you may be a "failed state"?

Since when? I'm serious. I'd like to know, because apparently, I missed that boat.

If you claim to be a journalist on the internet, or if you claim to be a journalist anywhere for that matter, the least you can do is provide an objective perspective in your articles. I don't care about your thoughts, or the thoughts of people you work with. At the end of the day, your news gets out to other people who may not be able to tell between apples and oranges, let alone "successful" states from "failed" ones.

Bottom line: Don't write about what you don't know. And if you do, make an effort to represent the 9.5 million or more people that live in Somalia justly by learning about the country before making a fool out of yourself.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

About this $700 billion "bail out" ...

So, the US Senate approved a revised version of the financial "bail out" plan, involving some $700 billion. Simply put, that is a lot of money. I find it puzzling how the United States government can pledge that much to a private sector financial crisis. There are controversies surrounding why the crisis originally came about, but let's put these moral issues aside.

Let's instead try to assume that this is truly a life-threatening crisis (and in some ways, it might be), and that the Fed is doing what it can to protect its civilians. National security, is what they are calling it.

$700 billions dollars... Just to put things in context: The richest country in Africa by Gross National Product (using Purchasing Power Parity) is South Africa, and their GDP in 2006 was just under $600 billion. Compare this to Tanzania, which had just under $30 billion as their GDP in 2006 (click to view source).

Word. So the Fed is pledging a "rescue" with a cost that adds up to being higher than any African country's GDP. I don't think I have to get into how else $700 can be used, especially in terms of sustainable economic development ventures, or even immediate humanitarian aid.

And you know what struck me as amusingly infuriating this morning? The fact that the world will never see so much money (again, $700 billion... that's NINE zeros) flow into sustainable development ventures in one go. But when there is a military crisis, such as the "pirates" in Somalia (and ask me someday how I think this is really a stand-off between Russia and the US to project their physical power), there is always money pumped into supposedly preemptive measures... again, in the name of National Security.

That is all. I mean, seriously.

"End Of Ze World"

Was shown this in freshman year (4 years ago) and have been frantically searching for it since. Thanks Hannah for reminding me!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZMwKPmsbWE

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Somalia/Pirates update

Now the Somali Gov't is asking Russian ships to intervene with the pirates if necessary.

And the US Navy apparently has a USS Howard set up (amongst other vessels) to "monitor" the situation. Hmm...

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/10/01/Russia.Somalipirates/?iref=mpstoryview

Pirates, Coast Guards, et al.

"[A spokeman, Ali Sugule, for the "pirates" that have seized a Ukrainian ship off of Somalia] said that so far the pirates had been misunderstood by the world. "We don't consider ourselves sea bandits," he said. "We consider sea bandits those who illegally fish in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas. We are simply patrolling our seas. Think of us like a coast guard." "

There's more here: http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/09/30/africa/pirates.php