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Is Buhari winning the fight against Boko Haram?

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A little under a year ago, Muhammadu Buhari’s election campaign rode on pledges to root out corruption in Nigeria and quash the armed group Boko Haram. Yet, Boko Haram remains active in many areas of the country, seemingly able to strike at will, writes Franklin Adesegha. The president insists he hasn’t failed in the fight against the terror group and believes the security of his country is best served by being part of the Saudi-led Islamic anti-terrorism coalition announced in December 2015.

Features | Franklin Adesegha | 4 May 2016 | Hits: 37

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Britain and India

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Britain needs India to run its steel business and grumbles that its industrial sector is on the wane but there is one major exception: the production of arms. Only America produces more armaments, including security equipment for export, than Britain. British Political arguments about maintaining the Trident deterrent provide regular grounds for argument that arms development should in reality be cut back and no other industry produces such economic returns. Arms and now what are described as security measures are a constant that can always be justified by governments.

Features | Guy Arnold | 4 May 2016 | Hits: 35

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Commonwealth pledges to deliver on Paris climate change agreement

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‘No more excuses on decisive and effective climate action!’ This was the message that rang loud and clear as Commonwealth governments and climate change experts and practitioners met today at a Commonwealth Dialogue on Climate Change. Hosted by Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, who took office on 1 April, the forum focused on the way forward after the historic Paris climate agreement at COP21 last December. Welcoming delegates, Secretary- General Scotland pledged that the Commonwealth will play a “central role” in addressing the existential threat of climate change.

Features | NorthSouth | 4 May 2016 | Hits: 30

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South Sudan’s opposition leader Machar returned to Juba

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by Denis Dumo South Sudan’s opposition leader Riek Machar returned last month to the capital Juba to form a transitional government with President Salva Kiir, more than two years after a feud between the two men erupted into war. Kiir sacked Machar as vice president in 2013, exacerbating a political dispute that erupted into fighting in December that year between soldiers loyal to both men, reopening ethnic rifts between Kiir’s Dinka group and Machar’s Nuer.

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 4 May 2016 | Hits: 30

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Dutch voters overwhelmingly reject Ukraine-EU treaty

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Dutch voters last month overwhelmingly rejected a Ukraine-European Union (EU) Treaty on closer political and economic ties, in a rebuke to their government and to the European Union establishment, writes Toby Sterling. The broad political, trade and defence treaty, which had already been signed by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government and approved by all other European Union nations as well as Ukraine, took effect provisionally in January. But that didn’t stop Dutch voters on Wednesday rejecting it by a 64-36 margin in a referendum that drew only 32 per cent of voters to the polls - barely enough for the result to be considered valid.

Features | NorthSouth | 4 May 2016 | Hits: 31

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Rouhani says Iran not threat and wants interaction with the world

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said last month that his country posed no threat to any other nation and that it wanted interaction with the rest of the world - remarks contrasting with the view of the country’s hardline supreme leader. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s ultimate authority, has ruled out further rapprochement with the United States since the consummation of a deal on Iran’s disputed nuclear activity that ended years of political and economic isolation. The deal, reached with six major powers in 2015, led to Iran curbing its nuclear programme in exchange for a lifting of sanctions in January.

Features | NorthSouth | 4 May 2016 | Hits: 33

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Pope calls for compassionate Church open to ‘imperfect’ Catholics

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by Philip Pullella Pope Francis last month called for a Church that was less strict and more compassionate towards “imperfect” Catholics, such as those who divorced and remarried, saying “no one can be condemned forever”. Francis said gays should be respected but firmly re-stated the Church’s position that there are “absolutely no grounds” to equate gay unions to heterosexual marriage. In a 260-page treatise called “Amoris Laetitia,” (The Joy of Love), one of the most eagerly awaited pronouncements of his pontificate, Francis quoted Martin Luther King, Argentine Poet Jorge Luis Borges

Features | NorthSouth | 4 May 2016 | Hits: 29

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Tracing Political Circles in Kyrgyzstan

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By Deirdre Tynan @DeirdreTynan As Kyrgyzstan prepares to mark the sixth anniversary of a bloody rebellion, there is a growing sense that the overthrow of two presidents has failed to revolutionise politics. Kyrgyzstan is Central Asia’s only parliamentary democracy, but the system remains remarkably unchanged despite elections and upheaval. Those who can leverage their connections enjoy impunity, while many ordinary people live in poverty and lack access to justice. The government’s failure to deliver adequate leadership, provide basic services to citizens and enforce the rule of law fuels religious radicalisation, ethnic tensions and lawlessness.

Features | NorthSouth | 4 May 2016 | Hits: 28

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Kenya: Risk of 2017 Election Violence

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By Abdullahi Abdille | @a_abdille & Rashid Abdi | @RAbdiCG Until a decade ago, few ventured beyond Isiolo without armed police escort. A dusty frontier garrison town in central Kenya, it was the gateway into the badlands of Kenya’s former Northern Frontier District. In the last two decades, as Kenya’s economy and politics have liberalised, Isiolo has transformed into a vibrant commercial hub owing much to its strategic location. It straddles the recently upgraded (paved) Pan- Africa highway that links the Horn (especially Ethiopia’s huge and relatively untapped markets) to central Kenya and beyond to Central and Southern Africa. Isiolo is also an important node of Kenya’s LAPSS ET (Lamu Port, South Sudan and Ethiopia) planned infrastructure project.

Features | NorthSouth | 4 May 2016 | Hits: 26

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Political Conflict, Extremism and Criminal Justice in Bangladesh

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As the Awami League (AL) government’s political rivalry with the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) reaches new heights, so has its repression. At the same time, a deeply politicised, dysfunctional criminal justice system is undermining rather than buttressing the rule of law. Heavy-handed measures are denting the government’s legitimacy and, by provoking violent counterresponses, benefitting violent party wings and extremist groups alike. The government needs to recognise that it is in its interest to change course, lest it fail to either contain violent extremism or counter political threats.

Features | Crisis Group | 3 May 2016 | Hits: 38

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Chinese steel and the global glut

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Examining the state of China’s economy has become an international pastime and signs that its rates of growth are improving are met with relief everywhere. During the first three months of the year China’s GDP grew by 6.7 per cent and industrial output rose by 6.8 per cent. Sheng Laiung speaking for the National Statistics Bureau warned against being excessively optimistic but added that the economy was stable. He said the economy was moving away from reliance upon state investment and towards domestic consumption.

Features | Guy Arnold | 3 May 2016 | Hits: 36

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Yemen’s future depends on political will from all sides

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The fourth attempt in a year at a durable ceasefire and a political process in Yemen should get strong support from President Barack Obama, the international community and the Saudi led coalition. However, The UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed is seeking to persuade Yemen’s Houthi group to send representatives to peace talks in Kuwait as a shaky truce declared last month teetered near collapse. Houthi negotiators have stayed put in the capital Sanaa, demanding a ceasefire begun on 10 April be fully observed before traveling for the talks with envoys from Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 3 May 2016 | Hits: 36

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How MENA can benefit from low oil prices

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The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is a region of extremes. It has the highest unemployment rate in the developing world, with the rate for women and young people double the average. Its economies are among the least diversified, with the Herfindahl index—a measure of the concentration of exports in a few commodities— ranging between 0.6 and 1 for most countries. The region had the highest number of electricity cuts per month.

Features | Shanta Devarajan | 3 May 2016 | Hits: 38

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Are the Taliban winning the war in Afghanistan?

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A Taliban suicide bomb and gun assault on a government security building last month during the rush hour in central Kabul killed at least 28 people and wounded more than 320, in the most deadly attack since 2011. President Ashraf Ghani condemned the assault “in the strongest possible terms” in a statement from the presidential palace, located only a few hundred meters away from the scene of the blast. The insurgency led by the Afghan Taliban has gained strength since the withdrawal of most international combat troops at the end of 2014,

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 3 May 2016 | Hits: 35

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How Europe can solve a global refugee crisis

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two simple truths are often overlooked in debates about today’s global refugee crisis: the principal driver of the exodus is, above all, the recent rise in the spread of deadly conflict in the Middle East; and what opened the way to this disorder is the breakdown of an international system we had built over the past 70 years. Because of our failure to end wars in syria, Afghanistan, and somalia, we are collectively responsible for more than half of the estimated 20 million refugees.

Features | Crisis Group | 3 May 2016 | Hits: 34

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Leaked US memos reveal plans for foreign intervention in Libya

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Along with revealing that the United Kingdom’s (UK) SAS troops have been on the ground in Libya for months, leaked official US memos also divulge plans for future intervention in the country that included embedding Jordanian troops with the SAS to train Libyans in a new ‘Green Zone’ in Tripoli. Predictably, the revelation met with criticism from many in the UK. British MPs demand that their government explains the plans to send 1,000 troops to Libya. Sources say an international deployment ‘appeared to be getting closer’ but the London-government deny any decision has been made.

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 3 May 2016 | Hits: 37

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Britain’s agonising decision to stay or exit the EU

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The British public are fairly evenly split, on whether or not to leave the European Union, according to the latest opinion polls ahead of a referendum on 23 June, Franklin Adesegha writes. The UK Independence Party, which won the last European elections, and received nearly four million votes,

Cover Stories | Franklin Adesegha | 3 May 2016 | Hits: 40

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Britain and Europe

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At the end of WWII, when he was at the height of his influence and prestige, Winston Churchill delivered a famous speech in Zurich in which he called upon France and Germany to forgive and forget the past and work to create a united Europe. The speech was widely welcomed in a battered Europe whose people looked to Britain for a lead. In 1947 Churchill was the guest of honour of the pro-united Europe movement in London and

Cover Stories | Guy Arnold | 3 May 2016 | Hits: 36

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How catastrophic Brexit could be for the European economy?

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Brexit is the nickname given to Britain’s potential exit from the European Union and is now one of the most controversial and contentious issues in the history of the United Kingdom (UK), with arguments from both ‘In’ and ‘Out’ camps dominating the news in recent weeks. The debate so far has understandably focused on how Brexit will affect people within the country, but the impact of Britain leaving the EU would spread wider, and American bank Morgan Stanley wants to shed some light on what those consequences could be.

Cover Stories | NorthSouth | 3 May 2016 | Hits: 36

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How much does EU membership cost the UK?

The leave the EU campaign says that Britain’s membership fee costs £252 ($378) a year for each person but Channel4.com TV network conducted its own fact-check and came up with the following figures: UK paid £18.8 billion ($28bn) in 2014 to the EU coffers but it gets a lot back. There is a rebate of £14.4 billion ($21.6bn) every year. Then there is £9.8 billion ($14.7bn) given for farming; £5.7 billion ($8.5bn) given in grants to universities and businesses. This brings the cost down from £252 to £89 ($133) a year. Leave the EU campaign says this is about control. Stay-in campaign says this is money well spent as it generates trade, jobs and growth.

Cover Stories | NorthSouth | 3 May 2016 | Hits: 32

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