Sunday, May 08, 2005

Outside the US, The Herald notes the bombing in Kabul, The Economist notes Uganda's child-killers and stagflation

From Scotland's The Herald, we'll note Stephen Graham's "UN engineer killed in bombing of Kabul internet cafe:"

A UN engineer was among three people killed when a suicide attacker blew himself up in an internet cafe in Kabul, the first fatal attack on a UN staffer in the capital since the Taliban fell in 2001.
The weekend bombing followed a series of kidnap attempts on foreigners and the killing of a British development worker, deepening a sense of insecurity as a Taliban-led uprising revives in the south.
The country's top law-enforcer said police were erecting extra checkpoints.
"There are criminal elements who have a lot to gain by destabilising Afghanistan and halting and reversing the progress the country has made," said Ali Ahmad Jalali, the interior minister. "We will never allow that to happen.

From The Economist, Billy e-mails "Hunting Uganda's child-killers:"

NO ONE doubts that terrible crimes have been committed in northern Uganda. The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group led by Joseph Kony, a man who thinks himself semi-divine, has spent the past 18 years slaughtering peasants, enslaving children and slicing off the lips and noses of conscripts it suspects of disloyalty. But does this mean that the newly established International Criminal Court (ICC) should be going after Mr Kony and his lieutenants? Several community leaders in northern Uganda think not.
As the ICC prepares to issue its first arrest warrants against the LRA's leaders, Rwot Acana II, the paramount chief of the northern Acholi people, who have borne the brunt of the rebels' atrocities, predicts that it will be "the last nail in the coffin" of a fragile peace process. The threat of prosecution, he argues, will deter the rebels from accepting a government-offered amnesty, and therefore prolong the war. He and other Acholi leaders have been furiously lobbying the ICC to back off. They argue that it would be better to apply traditional Acholi justice. If the rebels confess their guilt and undergo cleansing rituals, they will be accepted back into their communities, say the ICC's critics.

Also from The Economist, we'll note "Stagflation, the remix:"

LIKE the disco era it dominated, stagflation has a distinctive beat: slow growth, rising inflation, high oil prices and weak labour markets. In the 1970s this nasty combination haunted the global economy. Could it be making a comeback?
Today's world economy does seem to be playing some similar tunes. In the statement accompanying its latest interest-rate hike on May 3rd, America's Federal Reserve fretted about both price pressure and a slowdown in spending. On May 4th, the European Central Bank kept interest rates unchanged, but worried aloud about oil prices and slowing growth.
The evidence is mounting that global growth has slowed. In America, output grew by an annualised 3.1% in the first three months of 2005, the slowest pace for two years. More recent figures, from weak retail sales to soggy consumer confidence, suggest this "soft patch" may be getting softer by the day. In Britain, the latest numbers--in retail sales and manufacturing--point to weaker growth. And in the euro zone, sluggish economies are looking ever more lethargic.

Yet even as growth is slowing, price pressures are looming. In America, consumer prices rose 3.1% in the year to March, up from 1.7% a year ago. In Britain, inflation jumped unexpectedly in March. And in the euro zone, consumer prices are still rising faster than the 2% goal that the European Central Bank targets. With output slowing and inflation stubborn, it is small wonder that the concerns about stagflation are back in fashion.

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