Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Force of Our Example

Whew. Big day folks.

Norman's International is over and done with. The day, however, marks a significant change we must acknowledge. This being a foreign-policy-focused blog, one line needs to be noted from the new president's inauguration speech today:

". . .our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint."

Lets hope this moral pragmatism guides our foreign policy in the future. Eat it, neocons.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

This is the End

Friends and neighbors;

We regret to inform you that due to the downturn in global finance, Norman's International has been forced to lay off a majority of its staff and is now folding. It's been a fun ride, and to the two or three people that read this and the one that subscribes to it -- probably a blood relative -- thank you. It's been real.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hell Hole

One day after Ethiopean troops pulled out of the Somali capital of Mogadishu, Somali rebels have attacked the presidential palace. The group, seeking to establish in Somalia a Muslim state, say they will now turn to the thousands of AU peacekeepers in the country as targets, reports the LA Times.

Failed State

The death toll from Zimbabwe's cholera outbreak hit 2,201 today, and there is no sign it is under control. Meanwhile, 1,550 new cases are being reported daily, with the grand total of infected people standing at 41,986.

The Washington Post says that the disease is due to the country's crumbling health care system and economy -- many doctors can no longer afford to work.

In related news, the country has also rolled out a new $100 trillion bank note -- worth about $30 US -- to fight back the dollarisation process underway. Yes, you read that right; 100 trillion, with a T.

White Smoke

The UN is accusing Israel of illegal use of phosphorous munitions, saying such bombs hit their facility today. In the facility were thousands of tons of food and medicine aid.

Human Rights Watch says it has witnessed "dozens and dozens" of such bombs used in heavily civilian-populated areas.

The Israeli army says it uses all weapons legally.

The BBC put it guardedly, saying "there is no way independently to explain the contradiction between both sides' reports, as Israel has prevented international journalists from entering Gaza since its offensive began."

Something to Think About

The CFR asks if peaceful elections in Ghana are an anomaly or a signal of a wider trend to follow throughout Africa.

What do you think?


Irish bank the Anglo Irish Bank Corp became publicly owned today as the government took over the corruption-plagued firm in the midst of a loan scandal.

Read more about it here.